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Baking with honey is an easy and healthful way to reduce the amount of processed sugar in recipes. We recently tried a “cakeover” – a makeover of a favorite cake recipe using Minnesota Honey Company Meadow Wildflower honey in place of some of the processed sugar.

We replaced half of the sugar with honey, so our version had equal amounts of honey and sugar. To prevent overbrowning, we reduced the cooking temperature by 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but to compensate for the extra moisture content from the honey, we added ¼ cup of flour to the recipe and gave it about 20 minutes more baking time. The results were both delicious and interesting!

Dark Chocolate Cakeover: honey-sweetened version
on left; original recipe on right

The honey-sweetened cake:

  • was definitely more moist – the original recipe developed a crusty exterior along the top edges, but the honey cake remained moist all across the top.
  • rose higher than the original, creating a lighter crumb and airier texture than its denser counterpart. Perhaps the honey was more reactive with the baking powder, but since a taller cake equals more cake, we decided to just enjoy the cake and not overanalyze the chemistry.
  • was a little less sweet/a little more rich. While the difference in flavor is hard to describe, it was noticeable in a side-by-side comparison of the cakes. Both were chocolaty and sweet, but for bakers desiring a richness and a little less blatant sweet flavor, the honey was a great modification. And for bakers who merely want to reduce the amount of processed sugar and/or use more natural sweeteners in a recipe, they won’t sacrifice flavor by using honey.
  • tasted even better when drizzled with a Minnesota Honey Company infused honey!

Honey-sweetened Olive Oil Dark Chocolate Cake

Recipe adapted from Diane’s Food Blog
Authored by Diane Fluin for Minnesota Honey Company

½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (1¼ oz)
5-6 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour (4½ oz), plus enough for dusting the pan
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
2/3 cups quality olive oil (extra virgin preferred), plus 1-2 T or so for the coating the pan
2/3 cups MN Honey Company wildflower honey
2/3 cups sugar
¼ cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar for dusting (optional)
One 8” x 2” round cake pan; parchment paper for lining the pan

Preheat oven to 300°F and place oven rack in the middle position. Generously oil/spray the pan with olive oil and line the bottom of the pan with parchment or waxed paper. Oil the paper and dust it lightly with flour.

In medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
In another medium bowl, sift the cocoa powder through strainer or colander. Add 5 tablespoons of the boiling water to the cocoa and stir until the mixture is smooth and glossy (if it clumps, add up to 1 tablespoon more boiling water, but only enough to smooth it out – don’t let it get too wet). Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts, then set the mixture aside to cool slightly. 

In a large bowl, using a mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs, egg yolk, olive oil, honey and sugar until thick and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the warm (not hot) cocoa mixture until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Keeping the mixer on low, gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just combined – do not over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for 60-80 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly dry, with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan on a cooling rack and carefully run a butter knife around the inside edge to loosen the cake from the sides. Let cool for 10 minutes. 

Place a second rack over the cake pan and, holding the racks and pan together carefully, flip the pan over. Carefully lift the pan off the cake and gently peel off and discard the paper liner. Using the first rack, gently sandwich the cake again and flip it over, right-side up, and let cool completely on the rack. Once cooled, slice, serve and enjoy!

Try an optional topping:
Dust lightly with sifted powdered sugar

Drizzle with additional Minnesota Honey Company Meadow Wildflower honey, or try any of their infused honeys to really step up the flavors!