Rustic French Honey Cake Recipe on Food52 (2024)

Serves a Crowd

by: thirschfeld



5 Ratings

  • Makes 9 pieces

Jump to Recipe

Author Notes

Note: This cake is only slightly sweet. It is a cake that answers the age old question, “is it ok to put a slab of butter on my cake?” with a definitive yes. I find it great in the afternoon with an espresso and if it is a Saturday I might even attempt an armagnac, cognac or a sweet walnut liquor. If you just can’t help yourself you could add another 1/8 cup of honey.
The cake is good wrapped in plastic wrap for a couple of days. It was eaten over the course of 3 days here and, for me, only got better.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cuprye flour
  • 1 cupunbleached cake flour
  • 2 teaspoonsbaking soda
  • 1 teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoonkosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoonground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoonground cloves
  • 1/2 cuphoney
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cupunsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cupwhole milk
  • 1 cupprunes, chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 350? F. Grease an 8 X 8 inch square cake pan. A parchment square in the bottom might be a good idea if you think the cake will stick to your pan. Grease the parchment too.
  2. Sift the flours into a mixing bowl. Any large pieces of bran left in the strainer can be discarded. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves.
  3. Add the eggs, honey, milk, and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Add the prunes and stir to distribute them.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester poked into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Remove it from the oven and let it cool. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Serve.


  • Cake
  • Clove
  • Honey
  • Milk/Cream
  • Nutmeg
  • Prune
  • Serves a Crowd
  • Breakfast

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • JLark88

  • Mayra

  • Stephanie B.

  • CHeeb

  • Darilyn Schlie

Popular on Food52

28 Reviews

JLark88 November 7, 2021

Made this last night with some leftover pumpernickel flour. I soaked the prunes in warm water before chopping. This cake was excellent, a truly delicious snacking cake, not too sweet and perfectly tender for rye. The cake flour helps. Mine baked for 30 minutes. Would definitely bake this again! Probably not ideal for anyone who likes their cakes very sweet, but you can always drizzle with more honey or enjoy with some soft honey butter. I thought it was just perfect as is!

Mayra May 9, 2020

Delicious cake! Mildly sweet, just the way I like it! The 8x8 pan was a bit small, though, the cake was too high and didn't cook thoroughly in the middle. I'll use a wider pan next time. I've read some comments about soaking the prunes, and, since the ones I had weren't very sweet, I've soaked them in plum wine/umeshu. Win!

Stephanie B. March 2, 2019

Finally tried this after it spent some time languishing in my recipe collections. This cake is simple delight, I loved it.

I used dates because that's what I had, and they worked well in here. I also took a risk and used my Mockmill to get fresh einkorn and rye flours. I was happy to find my cake had a light texture, and was not gummy or dry at all.

I'll definitely be making this cake again, and I'd love to try others suggestions of using coffee or liquor soaked fruit, and I think apricots would go nicely here too. Great recipe as is, and lots of room to play!

CHeeb August 22, 2018

Helen,this Gilds an already golden lily,but I sometimes soak my prunes in tea or coffee depending on mood. It totally changes a delicate honey cake,but is a nice change of pace. Make sure to drain off any tea or coffee before adding them to your batter.

Helen L. August 22, 2018

I did find this cake a bit dry. Baked in a 350F convection oven for 30'. I used very moist prunes but not soaked. I will though give it another go...

Stephanie B. September 28, 2018

Maybe try baking at 325 if you're using convection.

Darilyn S. January 29, 2018

Has anyone tried this with dates?

Stephanie B. March 2, 2019

Yes: it's good.

pelinulger January 15, 2018

Hi there... As far as I know, heating honey is not very healthy. They say that when heated over 113F, it produces dangerous and unhealthy substances. I used to use honey in my cake baters as well, but after reading this on several different articles, I replaced honey with maple or molasses... Just FYI.

Sílvia F. February 24, 2016

Hey pixels, I've tried a cake recipe based on this in my own blog!! It's yummy!! Thanks for sharing your awesome recipes. If you want to see mine, click here, please:

Love, thp

Lisa November 29, 2015

This is such an unexpectly delicious and exquisite cake. I never like spices in the cake. But this one is an exception. The spices subtled down with the combination of honey and plum. It has a sophisticated yet complex taste to it. I am not a cake maker. Yet I made this many time. I found Trader Joe's pumpkin spice to be very close to the spices used in this recipe, just adds more cinnamon. Thank you!

CHeeb November 29, 2015

Dear Tom, I adore cakes with prunes and often soften them in warm coffee before blending them into batter. Can't wait to try this on your honey cake recipe. No one can guess there is either coffee or prunes once gently mixed in.

Lisa September 11, 2015

Dud any one tried to skip cake flour and using AP flour instead?

rachelg October 1, 2014

I followed the recipe exactly (except I used pastry flour instead of cake - maybe that was the problem?) and it was super dry. Is there any way I can easily make it more moist? Should I add more honey? or switch the butter for olive oil? Or add more milk? Thanks!

Renee M. June 5, 2014

This looks delictios! I'm going to the store tomorrow and will stock up on needed ingredients. I am sure that this cake made as directed will be perfect. Obviously, subbing many ingredients doesn't work….I don't understand when people sub ingredients and then complain? You didn't follow the recipe and then want to gripe about the outcome… puzzled.

misslofox February 12, 2012

I made this cake for a brunch this morning and it was beyond delicious. I was a little worried about the comments that it would be dry, but I found it to be very moist. I didn't chop my prunes very small - maybe that helped? In any case, this recipe is definitely a keeper!

beijinggirl February 5, 2012

Just made this - used whole wheat flour, omitted the prunes and baked in flower cake molds. Beautiful!

Susan November 24, 2011

Exquisite! I subbed wheat flour for rye, and soaked the prunes in apple juice like Lillasyster suggested. It was so good I decided to forego the brownies I'd planned to make for a potluck and share this cake instead. Anything that can stand in for chocolate is of superior quality.

bklyncook October 5, 2011

mmm..added applesauce because i feared the "dry" factor....yum easy...

drbabs September 28, 2011

Loved. I made the cake with whole wheat instead of rye flour--I didn't have any rye--and used the extra honey because I'm a wimp. It was very slightly dry, but that may have been my oven's fault--sometimes it runs hot, sometimes cold, and it was running a little hot today. We had it with cappuccino for dessert and loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

Lillasyster September 28, 2011

A very nice cake. I used plain AP flour instead of rye, the extra blob of honey and soaked the prunes in apple juice. Results were plenty moist and not too sweet; thanks for the excellent recipe!

Regine September 22, 2011

More like a honey bread than cake since it just has a hint of sweetness even with the additional 2 tbsp of honey. Definitely good with butter or even cheese. I could see it cut in slices next to a plate with a nice selection of cheeses. I did not have rye flour nor do I like it, so I replaced the rye with the same quantity of all purpose flour. I also added about 1 tsp vanilla extract. Would I make it again? Yes. You could even up the honey from 1/2 cup to 3/4.

Rustic French Honey Cake Recipe on Food52 (2024)


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