Inside: Recipe for Greek honey cake – a classic Greek dessert idea
A couple of years ago we were lucky enough to be able to take a trip to Greece for a long weekend and we fell in love with Greek food – espcially their desserts! I am quite fussy when it comes to food but I always try to embrace the food of a country we are visiting to get a true feel for the area.
One of the things we discovered while we were away was Greek Honey Cake. It was so delicious that I knew I had to try and recreate it once we came home!
The history of Greek Honey Cake
Honey cake has been around for a long time, well before the times of the Greeks in fact. Honey is a natural sweetener and so was used by many to sweeten their cakes.
Paintings in the tomb of Pharoah Ramesses II show what is believed to be a folded honey cake. He ruled from 1304 to 1237 BCE so that just shows how long honey has been used around the world.
One of the first printed forms of a recipe appears in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophistae from 180BCE and is described as a flat cake made from honey, flour and eggs.
It is believed that honey cake was offered up to the Greek gods in thanks and was a staple during the Noumenia offerings for the celebration of the new moon and many still enjoy honey cake as part of the tradition today.
What honey is used for the recipe?
You can use any honey for this recipe but traditionally Greek Thyme Honey was used due to its fragrant aroma. It is pretty difficult to get hold of though so don’t worry too much. I have used both Thyme Honey and regular types of honey for this recipe over the years and all are just as delicious.
One of my favourites is Orange Blossom Honey actually and is widely available in stores.
Greek Honey Cake Recipe
In essence, this is a normal cake recipe but it has a few extra ingredients that make it more delicious. Honestly it is my favourite cake recipe, it is so easy to make and is something that we enjoy regularly.
This recipe serves approx. 8 people
125 g all-purpose flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
170 g butter, room temp (1 cup)
150 g caster Sugar (3/4 cup)
3 medium eggs
60 ml milk (1/4 cup)
200 g caster Sugar, for the syrup (1 cup)
350 g honey (1 cup)
175 ml water (3/4 cup)
1 tsp lemon juice
For the cake:
Start off by preheating the oven to 180ºC, then grease an 8-inch tin with some butter or margarine.
First of all you are going to mix together some of the dry ingredients. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl and then put to the side for later.
In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the first lot of sugar (150g) until the mixture is light and fluffy. We actually use Vitalite, so this is a dairy free recipe in actual fact.
Next, beat in the eggs, one at a time until you have a smooth mixture.
Bring the other bowl over again and fold in part of the flour mixture to create the beginnings of a smooth batter. Then, add in some of the milk, alternating the flour mix and milk until it is all in the bowl.
Pour the batter mixture into the greased tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
Your cake is ready, all you need to do now is add the honey element which totally transforms the cake into a delicious dessert.
For the Honey Syrup:
In a saucepan, combine the honey with the second lot of sugar (200g) and water. Bring it to a simmer and keep it on the heat for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice, bringing it to the boil and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Once both the cake and the syrup are cool, you want to use a skewer to spike holes into the cake. The more holes you have, the more spaces for the syrup to seap into.
Drizzle half of the honey syrup mixture over the cake slowly. And when I say slowly, I mean slowwwwwly. You don’t want to overwhelm the cake and lose the syrup over the sides.
Allow the syrup to soak into the cake and then serve with a splash of syrup from the remaining mixture and perhaps some ice cream. Yum!
Let me know if you make it and what you think!
Greek Honey Cake
For the cake
- 125 g All purpose flour (1 cup)
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 170 g Butter (1 cup)
- 150 g Caster sugar (3/4 cup)
- 3 medium Eggs
- 60 ml Milk (1/4 cup)
For the syrup
- 200 g Caster Sugar (1 cup)
- 350 g Thyme Honey (1 cup)
- 175 ml Water (3/4 cup)
To make the cake
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease the tin.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 150g sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Fold in the flour, alternately with the milk, mixing until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 mins.
To make the syrup
- In a saucepan, combine the honey, 200g sugar and water. Bring to a simmer and leave simmering for 5 minutes.
Soaking the cake
- Spike holes into the cooled cake and slowly drizzle the honey syrup over the top – slowly let it absorb into the sponge.
I don’t like honey, will I like this cake?
Not a fan of honey? Me neither! But once combined with other ingredients in the syrup it is so tasty and totally makes the recipe.
How to store greek honey cake
Keep the cake in a tin as you would any other cake. It will last a few days but honestly I doubt there will be much left after you taste it!
Why is Greek Honey considered the best?
Greece is a country with the richest flora in the Mediterranean with more than 7,500 different species of herbs, plants, wild flowers and trees. The honey is made by bees that feed upon the aromatic Greek flora which appear nowhere else in the world.