Dark Honey Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream

Dark Honey Cake BoulderLocavore.com
For anyone tethered to the school year calendar you will have experienced the time acceleration phenomenon between Spring Break and the school year end, as well as the missile fire of events targeting one’s calendar.  December holds similar properties but this spans a bit over 2 months leaving a frenetic tone in every day.
Honey BoulderLocavore.com
After returning from my spontaneous road trip through the Panhandle-Plains region of West Texas and New Mexico, I hit the ground running facing tax preparation and participation in a third grade Science Fair project about the duration of gum holding its flavor.  When I agreed to be a ‘Chewer’, it did not cross my mind as a non gum chewer that I’d be pitted against 16 of the most vile flavored gums I’d ever hope NOT to experience with the job of chewing till no flavor existed.  After exerting admirable control over my gag reflex, I learned many of said gums last a loooooong time (of course with dessert gum flavors being the most valiant).  I’d wave the white flag after 45 minutes finding my jaw popping with a TMJ refusal to chew anymore.  I have successfully completed my role and walk away satisfied to have moved science along a bit for those under the height of 4 feet, noting a lasting personal impact with a newfound Pavlovian response to the gum aisle in the super market.  Let’s just say I don’t see it as a ‘reward’.
Dark Honey Cake BoulderLocavore.com
A day promising ‘freezing rain’ prompted baking, something that seems a world away in the last month.  I pulled out a vintage recipe box I purchased on eBay some time ago.  It’s plain brown wood with sticker letters declaring ‘RECIPES’ on the top.  I purchased it due to one of the photos showing a handwritten recipe for Vinegar Pie.  Intrigue got the best of me.  I’ve enjoyed gingerly poring through it, finding many newspaper cut out recipes so fragile they almost disintegrate in my hands.  The 1930’s is prevalent in many places dating the heyday of box’s originator.  I suspect her to be from the heartlands of our country as well. 
Though I have found a number of wonderful seasonal recipes I cannot wait to try, this simple Dark Honey Cake caught my eye.  It felt to be straightforward with no pomp and circumstance.  The cake is very unpretentious.  It tastes of honey but not as densely as you’d expect from the amount in the recipe.  While making it I got a spontaneous craving for a salty contrast to the sweetness of the cake and whipped up some Salted Caramel Sauce to drizzle on the top with some whipped cream.  Yum.
Dark Honey Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce BoulderLocavore.com
This recipe was handwritten and credited to the ‘Honey Cookery Section of the Missouri State Fair in 1980’.  There was no pan size specified in the recipe though the volume fit perfectly in a 9 x 13 inch pan.  I’m sure it could also make 2 8-9” round cake pans or cupcakes (fill to 2/3’s).
·         1 ¾ cups honey
·         2/3 cups shortening
·         2 eggs
·         2 ½ cups flour (gluten free or gluten filled)
·         2 teaspoons baking soda
·         1 teaspoon salt
·         5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
·         ¼ cup water
·         1 teaspoon vanilla
·         1 ¼ cup ice water
Dark Honey Cake BoulderLocavore.com
1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch rectangular pan.
2.      In the bowl of a standing mixer (or with a handheld mixer) cream together the honey and shortening.
3.      Add eggs and mix well to fully combine.
4.      In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
5.      In a small bowl place unsweetened cocoa and the ¼ cup of water.  Whisk to combine.  Add to the honey-shortening-egg mixture and mix to fully combine.
6.      Add flour alternating with ice water to the honey mixture until fully combined.  Note: I felt the batter seemed more liquid than traditional cake batter though it baked perfectly to a light cake.
7.      Pour into prepared cake pan and bake 35-40 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (Note: original recipe specified 45 minutes but my cake was done between 35-40 minutes).
Dark Honey Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce BoulderLocavore.com
To assemble:  Drizzle a bit of Salted Caramel Sauce over a slice of the Dark Honey Cake and top with a dollop of Whipped Cream.  For a lighter cake, skip the sauce and enjoy the cake solo with a bit of whipped cream.

Dark Honey Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce BoulderLocavore.com



  1. says

    I think I'm coming over for coffee and cake, extra salted caramel please!
    Hope you're recuperated from your road trip, all in all in sounds like it was a lot of fun!

    • says

      I would LOVE for you to come over for coffee and cake. Sadly the plane flight puts a damper on the whole thing doesn't it?! It was a great trip. I will, however, most likely never chew gum again.

  2. Mary says

    This cake looks amazing and that caramel sauce sounds heavenly. What a great vintage find! You've inspired me to try a new/old recipe again soon. Have a blessed day!

    • says

      Oh Mary; I'm so glad! I do feel an obligation to give these recipes a current platform. That sounds like a 'self appointed recipe saver' but I love these recipes. From scratch, whole ingredients and perfect in their simplicity. So many delicious treasures to be rediscovered!

  3. Julia says

    Gorgeous, every.single.thing about this is just gorgeous! It is so unpretentious, yet completely divine looking!

  4. says

    Oh, gosh, your photos are so gorgeous! And these cake slices with the dollops of cream and dripping caramel are most enticing!!! Beautifully done!

    • says

      You absolutely must! I have my Grandmother's recipe box which is filled with recipes and notes from my Great Grandmother as well. I love making the recipes knowing they were served at their tables as well. I've found some real treasures in all of this and love giving them another life!

  5. says

    Every time you mention these old books and recipe cards, I feel a touch of envy. Of course, today I can overcome that by thinking of you chewing gum for 45 minutes and I feel much better. Not a gum fan either.

    Does the cocoa powder give the cake any chocolate flavor? I was palling on making it right away until I saw that. I'm just not up for even a little chocolate at the moment. I do have to say that the whipped cream intermingled with the caramel in the last photo made me want to grab the plate and lick it.

    • says

      The cocoa does NOT give it a chocolate flavor. I too wondered how all of that would come together flavor wise. What I think the cocoa does is deepen the color (it's almost a gingerbread color) and I think it might mute the honey flavor some, in a good way. When I saw the amount of honey I was dubious but it has a discrete taste of honey not an 'in your face' flavor of it. I think it's very versatile in that way.

      The gum…..the project board went to school today and even glancing at the title turned my stomach. Please no law suits gum companies but while on the road trip I started with Orange Creme Pop that lasted 45 minutes followed by Strawberry Shortcake that lasted 25 minutes. That was my limit for that given day. (shudder)

  6. says

    Oooh! This looks decadent and darkly delicious!! Having done my share of participation in school projects, I chuckled at you chewing tale of woe–seems like you did get your just rewards in the end!

  7. says

    You had me at salted caramel. Oh, and dark honey cake? You've outdone yourself, Toni. This looks fabulous. Also, it's been a bit since I've stopped by your blog and I must say, it's nice to be back. I love your voice, your photos, your recipes, etc. I've just been too busy to stop by my favorite blogs as of late! I hope you're well.

  8. Sarah says

    I am so excited to find this, I was looking for a perfect desert to take to a holiday party and I think this is it. Can’t wait to make it.


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