Rosh Hashanah

Brown Butter, Tea & Honey Cake

September 30, 2019
3 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Makes 1 cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown or Demerara sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup runny honey
  • 250 grams (about 2 sticks plus 1 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole, skimmed, or oat milk
  • 3 English breakfast teabags
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 340°F/170°C.
  2. Pour the milk into a small pot and bring it to a boil. Transfer it to a bowl and add the 3 tea bags. Let it infuse the milk and cool down.
  3. Wipe out the pot and place it back on a medium heat. Brown the butter. Allow it to melt and then slowly become dark golden in color. It should become very foamy and the milk solids should be light brown. As soon as you reach this colour, transfer to another bowl (as it will burn quickly) and mix in the honey. Allow this mixture to cool down.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder, and baking soda through a sieve and add the salt, sugar, ginger, and cinnamon. Mix well to combine. Once the brown butter and milk have cooled, squeeze the residual milk from the teabags into the milk and discard them. Add the milk to the brown butter and honey mixture and mix well.
  5. Mix the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, reserving a little bit in case the batter gets too thin. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and mix again until smooth.
  6. Grease a 9x5-inch rectangular bread tin with a little bit of butter or oil. Pour in the batter. If the batter is more than an inch below the top of the bread tin, pour a little bit out to prevent it overflowing.
  7. Bake for 1 hour and 10 to 20 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when pierced. Let the cake cool in the tin before removing it. It should rise in the oven and deflate slightly once cooled.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • FrugalCat
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
  • Laura
  • penmoon

8 Reviews

Laura September 29, 2020
As you can probably guess, this cake had a rich, deep flavor, which was perfect for the beginning of Fall. Thanks to the other reviews, I decreased the amount of baking powder and baking soda to 1 teaspoon each. The cake had a decent rise and looked like it was going to boil over in the oven but never did. If I were to make the cake again, I would repeat using 1 teaspoon of baking powder and baking soda each. While the cake was a success, and while I enjoy playing around with different flavors and textures, I'm not sure that this recipe has convinced me that brown butter needs to replace oil in honey cake.
penmoon April 25, 2020
There's something amiss with this recipe. I've made it twice and it just doesn't work. The batter is super-runny and literally boils in the pan and over the sides. There is way too much leavening in this recipe--perhaps it's a misprint?
LG October 10, 2019
Made this cake for Yom Kippur break fast dinner. It not only was a huge hit but I thought the cake was really delicious and came together very easily. My one complaint (and maybe this was my doing) was that I think it had too much leavening agent in it and it really sunk in the middle because of that. That being said, once it's cut into slices its a lot less noticeable and didn't impact taste.
FrugalCat October 10, 2019
I made this and put it in silicone muffin molds- like honey cake cupcakes. I put sliced blanched almonds on top, because that's what the bakery of my youth put on its honey cakes. They were delicious, but I noted that they didn't disappear immediately, as usually happens with baked goods in my house. Upon asking my husband about this, he replied "Honey cake? I thought they were bran muffins so I didn't touch them!"
cindymstec October 5, 2019
did anyone try this and end up with a very runny batter which boiled over in the oven? I withheld a cup of the liquid, and still came out like a baked pudding/pancake. I think if the flour were increased to 3 cups it might be better.
Katie H. September 30, 2019
Oven temp is wrong. 170C is about 340F, not 240F. I set the oven to 240F and got honey cake soup.
Eric K. October 1, 2019
Hi Katie, I'm so sorry for the error. Correct, it should say 340°F, not 240°F; thank you for catching the typo.
Katie H. October 1, 2019
I put it in for 40 minutes more at 340F and it turned it right around! Its delicious.