One of my closest friends, who also happens to be Dad’s former boss, has taken a liking to bee keeping. It was surprising enough that we became friends … she and her husband showed us sides of Detroit we hadn’t seen before, she introduced me to writing events, we have the best times at dinners, and she thinks of me often with little emails and texts. It was even more surprising when I learned she likes to keep bees.
She’s still learning and has a master beekeeper help her now and again. The hives have a difficult time making it through winter, but she is always improving her skills and has yielded honey the past two years. Though I didn’t get to experience any of the 2018 harvest, she gave me a jar for the past Christmas.
I couldn’t wait to taste and then bake with it. Sure, I’ve used local honey, fancy honey, all kinds of honey in baking, but never honey from hives of a friend. What an honor! I might never have this opportunity again, so I treasured all of it. And I still have some honey left for another baking adventure or two.
It’s very light in color and flavor, more sweet than anything else. I’m not sure if this if because of the flowers the bees collect from or because they are quite immature, but it’s beautiful and tasty, and it is so the star of this paleo baklava sheet cake.
I feel like I bake with honey all the time, but when I wanted a recipe to feature honey in particular I drew a blank. Baklava came to mind, but I’ve already made that so I wanted something a little different. This cake is just that. It has those classic baklava flavors and textures … honey, nuts, but in cake form.
The honey really shines in the finished cake, which is just what I wanted. And since it’s in the topping, cake, and syrup, it should. The contrast of the crunchy nuts and the tender cake is also a winner.
I’m so thankful for this gift of honey from my friend. I hope you make this cake no matter what kind of honey you have on hand.Print
1 cup toasted nuts (I used almonds and walnuts, but pecans, pistachios, or hazelnuts would work too)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup honey
1 ¾ cup paleo flour blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup honey
3 large eggs
½ cup olive oil
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
Zest of I orange
¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
½ cup honey
¼ cup water
2 strips lemon zest
2 strips orange zest
2 cinnamon sticks
Sea salt for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang for easy removal later.
Make the topping. In a medium saucepan, melt the coconut oil over medium heat. Stir in the honey until dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted nuts. Spread into an even layer in the prepared pan.
Make the cake batter. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and powder, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, honey, eggs, oil, orange juice and zest, and vanilla. Alternately add the flour mixture and almond milk to the sugar mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir until fully combined. Pour over the nut mixture and bake 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
While the cake bakes, make the syrup. In a medium saucepan (use the one to make the topping – just rinse it), stir together the honey, water, lemon and orange zest, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and boil, stirring frequently for 5 minutes, until thickened slightly. Set aside.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before carefully inverting onto a serving platter. Spoon syrup over hot cake, using it all. Sprinkle with salt and allow to cool completely before serving. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag, for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature about an hour or in the microwave about 1 minute.
Recipe adapted from Stoneyfield
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 40
Keywords: cake, paleo, gluten free, honey