Charleston Honey Cake with Peanut Buttercream

This jar of honey has been sitting on my kitchen counter all week. I brought it home from Charleston, South Carolina. This morning I decided to make a honey cake. I wanted a simple little cake to enjoy with afternoon tea (or coffee). In my experience, honey cake can be a bit plain. How could I dress up an ordinary honey cake and give it a little Southern flair? With a peanut butter frosting, that’s how. So here is my homage to beautiful Charleston: A cake made with honey from Low Country wildflowers and a frosting full of the flavor of peanuts. It’s still a bit of a “plain Jane” cake, but it tastes great.

Honey and Spice Cake

Preheat the oven to 325F.  Butter a deep 9-inch cake pan or springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.  Spray the pan with baking spray with flour (Baker’s Joy)
1/2 cup honey (use your favorite, I love the Savannah Bee Company brand)
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg at room temperature
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (7 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup milk at room temperature

Cream the butter with the sugar.  Add the egg and beat well until very light.  Beat in the honey ( a little non-stick spray in the measuring cup helps the honey slip right out).  Sift the flour with the other dry ingredients.  Add the flour to the honey mixture alternately with the milk, starting and ending with flour.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.  Wrap with a cake strip if you prefer a flat-topped cake.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean from the center of the cake.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a cake rack to cool completely before frosting.
(Recipe adapted from “Traditional Ukrainian Cookery” by Savella Stechishin )

Peanut Buttercream ( from “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes” by Rose Levy Beranbaum)

1/2 cup peanut butter at room temperature
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons sour cream
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (1.7 ounces) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the buttercream is smooth and uniform in color.

Place the cake on a cardboard round or a serving plate  and frost the top and sides with swirls of buttercream.  Wrap and store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Here are a few images from my amazing South Carolina weekend; a food photography workshop with Clare Barboza and Helene Dujardin.
Photo shoot assignment:  anitpasto

The Charleston Farmers’ Market

Another photo shoot assignment:  Picnic on the Beach


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