Sunday, 27 January 2013

Honey and Lemon Beehive cakes

Mini honey and lemon beehive cake

I’ve been inspired by GBBO this week and was debating between three things for weekend baking – the honey and lemon cake made by Martha Kearney, the red velvet cakes made by Claudia Winkleman and the chocolate éclairs from the Technical Challenge. I really fancy a go at making éclairs but decided against in the end – I think they’re better eaten fresh and seeing as it is only me and the EHH around this weekend, we’d get very fat! I also wouldn’t want to take them into work as they are typically filled with fresh cream and should therefore be kept in the fridge.

I loved the look and the idea of the honey and lemon cake – but decided to make mini ones instead – this was a mistake!  I didn’t use Martha’s recipe used on the show – I found this one on the Good Food website, which was really well rated and so decided to do that, with the addition of the zest from two lemons. I also swapped the dark brown sugar for light brown – I find that dark brown can be a little overpowering. I also decided to leave off the drizzle topping and decorate with a buttercream. Rather than making it as one large cake, I divided the mixture between 12 cupcake cases.

Once baked, I allowed to the cakes to cool, then sliced off their tops to create a flat base and turned them out of the cupcake cases.  As they are fairly sticky cakes, they didn’t turn out that well – if I were to do them again, it would be better to use silicon baking cases, or bake in the tin without the cases – just lots of cake-release spray. I then turned the cakes upside down and trimmed a little from the top corner – to create a more domed top. 

Icing them was very tricky and took a little bit of practise – the first few I did looked awful! My new turntable definitely helped. I used a small round icing nozzle and carefully turned the turntable as I iced.  I tried starting the icing from the top and from the bottom, but it didn’t seem to make much difference – slightly easier from the top, I think!

In the end, the cakes taste fantastic but I wasn’t thrilled with their appearance – they are a little untidy for my liking, and will also be tricky to eat! I’ll definitely do this recipe again – but either as a large cake or as normal cupcakes with just a beehive iced on top!

Honey and Lemon Beehive cakes
Mini honey and lemon beehive cakes


  1. 250g clear honey
  2. 225g unsalted butter
  3. 100g light brown muscovado sugar
  4. 3 large eggs , beaten
  5. 300g self-raising flour
  6. Grated zest of two lemons

Buttercream icing:

  1. 110g butter, at room temperature
  2. 500g icing sugar, sifted
  3. 3 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  4. 1 tblsp honey


  1. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar.
  2. Melt slowly over a low heat.
  3. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute.
  4. Tip mixture into a clean glass bowl and place in a larger bowl of cool water – this will help it to cool more quickly.
  5. Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
  6. Preheat the oven to 140C.
  7. Place 12 silicon cupcake cases into a baking tin.
  8. Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
  9. Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture and the lemon zest, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
  10. Pour the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cakes are well-risen, golden brown and spring back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
  11. Whilst the cakes are cooking, make the buttercream.
  12. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, juice, honey and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
  13. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
  14. Once the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack.
  15. Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing the tops off the cakes to create a flat base.
  16. Turn out of the cupcake cases.
  17. Turn upside down and trim the top edges to create a domed top.
  18. Place icing in a piping bag with a small round nozzle.
  19. Pipe around the cake in a spiral to create a beehive look.
  20. Decorate with bees made from fondant icing.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Thank you so much for this. I also saw the beehive on the GBBO and wanted to make the cake for my daughter's first birthday. I will follow your advice!