Honey Tea Cake

by Jen on July 20, 2012

When I was young and living in the Philippines, I remember going to a bakery called Hizon’s at J. Bocobo Street in Manila. The smell of butter, sugar, and eggs that greeted me every time I sailed through their double glass doors sent fireworks and sparkles to my world. I loved the way the sweet aroma wafting from their kitchen made me feel like rainbows and sunshine inside. Hizon’s is a dreamy classic!

All – I say, all! – of my birthday cakes throughout the years were bought from Hizon’s because it was supposed to be the best in Manila! I remember how the rich, smooth Euro-style buttercream of their classic birthday cake swaddled a lovely two-layer vanilla sponge. It made me go weak in the knees. It was a taste of heaven!

But we didn’t just go there for birthday cakes. We would launch monthly trips to Hizon’s for local sweets, too, like yemas, pastillas de leche, macapuno macaroons, pili tarts, silvanas, to name just a few. Going home with a prized white box of goodies from Hizon’s is a particularly wonderful memory for me – my happy place, indeed. How I miss glazing through shelf after shelf of their sweet treats.

Then I came to Canada – land of doughnuts, bagels, and double-double coffee (double cream, double sugar). My first job here was a stint as a barista at The Second Cup, sort of a Starbucks copycat in Canada. From barista, I became a franchisee-operator of my own Second Cup, along with my parents.

At that time, I worked long hours, murdered my social life, and went home reeking of old coffee! My hair smelled like coffee; my clothes smelled like coffee; even my nails smelled like coffee. In fact, I don’t know what part of me didn’t smell like coffee!

So, I got out of the business! But let me tell you, the corporate office didn’t make it easy for me to unshackle from the old ball-and-chain! In the end, we lost the franchise after years of negotiation and fighting a losing battle with the “head office”. We parted with nothing but a $3,000 espresso machine (but that’s another story, perhaps, for another post).

However, what I enjoyed most about working / owning a coffee house was all the delicious baked goods that came my way! Back when I was rocking the counters and making lattes in less than 60 seconds (ha!), I was not exactly very fond of sweets. Perhaps, because if one is around them all the time, one tends to get sick of it. Really quickly.

But now that I no longer am in the coffee service business, I kind of miss that environment (oh OK, not really! I’m glad I’m not doing that anymore). I do remember that we used to have these really nice cake loaves at the store that one of our suppliers would send us regularly. I was thinking at that time that I really should learn how to make simple, delicious-tasting loaves like those ones (and not have to pay $2.50, or something ridiculous, for a slice)!

And what do you know? I bake these things like crazy nowadays! A simple honey tea cake like this one is perfect for any beginner! It’s a pound-like cake with a more pronounced egg-y richness. I know, I know…it calls for a lot of egg yolks in the recipe, but rest assured, they make the cake dense and rich!

It’s really hard to go wrong with a classic loaf like this. Of all the recipes I’ve tried, the one from Miette (the cookbook from the famed San Francisco bakery) is the most sophisticated and luxurious one around!

I love cake!

5.0 from 7 reviews
Honey Tea Cake
Recipe Type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 mini loaves or 2 standard loaves
Based on a recipe from the cookbook, Miette by Meg Ray. Published in 2011 by Chronicle Books LLC, San Francisco, USA.
  • 12 oz (2¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 8 oz (1 cup) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 11 oz (1½ cups) sugar
  • 11 oz (1 cup + 6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup honey, warmed and diluted with 2 tablespoons water to make syrup
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Liberally butter four 5 x 3-inch or two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans and dust with flour. Tap out excess.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F ( C).
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl. In another small bowl, stir together the egg yolks, whole eggs, cream, and vanilla.
  4. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a handheld whisk, combine dry ingredients and the sugar. Mix on medium speed for 30 seconds.
  5. Reduce the speed to low, add the butter and half of the egg mixture, and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Raise speed to medium-high and beat for 2 minutes to add air.
  6. Return speed to low, add the remaining egg mixture, and beat just until incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  7. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until the tops are golden brown and tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes for the small loaves and 35 to 40 minutes for the larger loaves.
  8. Transfer the pans to the wire racks and immediately brush or drizzle tops with honey syrup. Run an offset spatula around the edges to release the cake. Let cool in pans for another 20 minutes before inverting onto the racks.
  9. Serve right away or wrap the cakes tightly in plastic and store at room temperature until ready to serve. Can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 2 months.


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Choc Chip Uru July 20, 2012 at 5:11 am

This cake looks utterly beautiful my friend :D
Lovely flavour and photos!

Choc Chip Uru


Mom-Friday July 20, 2012 at 5:47 am

Lovely, lovely cake indeed!!! Oh I know that back story on the coffee shop ;)
Mama makes a dense and buttery butter loaf too!


Andi July 20, 2012 at 9:41 am

These photos are so insanely gorgeous!!!!!!!!


Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic July 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

I remember Hizon’s! My mom is partial to it too, especially for their ensaymada :)


Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 20, 2012 at 11:15 am

What a pretty cake, I love baking with honey!


Angela @ My Golden Pear July 20, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Such pretty photos and the cake sounds wonderful.


Riley July 20, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Mmm honey! This looks really great!


Magic of Spice July 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm

We had a full service bakery at the restaurant and even roasted our own coffee…miss those smells (not in my hair though). This cake looks delicate and delicious!
Hope you are having a lovely Friday :)


Amy (Savory Moments) July 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

What a lovely cake and such gorgeous photos! It looks so pretty.


Nami | Just One Cookbook July 21, 2012 at 4:51 am

Did you say perfect for any beginner? Okay!! Whether I’m not health conscious or not (I think I am though), I don’t get bothered by the egg yolk amount. Maybe because I don’t bake at all, once in a while I don’t mind putting lots of butters and eggs IF it’s necessary to create something extraordinary good! This sounds delicious and oh boy… beautiful photos and I don’t know which one to pin!
p.s. thank you for the answer about the Japanese bowls. I said “copy’ meaning those mass-produced cheap plates and bowls that I buy for inexpensive price from a Japanese $1 store… LOL. Design seems unique so that’s why I knew it wasn’t one of those cheapy kind… I need to shop more when I go back. :-) Thank you for letting me know!


Jean | Lemons and Anchovies July 21, 2012 at 2:45 pm

This cake is absolutely gorgeous, Jen. In fact, I love the mood your pictures evoke. Can I just jump into one of them and get lost in the pink flowers? I’m serious. The best part is that I’d be able to enjoy your honey tea cake, too.

Have a great weekend!


Lisa (AuthenticSuburbanGourmet) July 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm

This cake looks and sounds AMAZING! A must try. Loving all of the pink is your photos – so pretty!!! Have a fab weekend!!


Robin July 21, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Looks BEAUTIFUL! I am definitely going to make this. To hell with fat and cholesterol. I will serve 20 people with this cake so no one can complain.


MizzJ July 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Mmmm this looks amazing! Few things beat a delicious loaf cake and Earl Grey on a peaceful afternoon.


Sandra's Easy Cooking July 21, 2012 at 9:12 pm

:D I worked for several years in a coffee house as well as coffee place where they have huge machines to make ground coffee. My first job at my uncle’s coffee place was to refill the coffee bags, than I moved up to making coffee:)) i totally can relate because i think that coffee was coming out of my ears…I would get in the bus and people were like sniffing me LOL!
anyhow..that cake look great! Love the how simple yet tasty look and sound! Great presentation and photos as always!


Christine July 22, 2012 at 1:27 am

In complete awe of your photos. What a work of art!


Tina Ong (@PhenomenalMama) July 22, 2012 at 6:56 am

I love the palette of blues and the pinks! The pink blossoms make me want to turn into a bee!:) Do you buy those or are they from your own garden?

Hizon’s is still around, and is still one of the favorite bakeries to get birthday cakes from. If you say this is simple, then the recipe is worth a try.


Cristina, from BA to Paris July 22, 2012 at 11:12 am

So brautiful, so feminime, so tasty !! Qué rico!


Raymund July 22, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I am always amazed by your presentation


Suzanne July 22, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I love cake and honey they go so good together, your photos are beautiful.


Cass @foodmyfriend July 23, 2012 at 2:49 am

So much colour! Very beautiful :) I love little honey cakes. They are so light and fluffy :)


Cakewhiz July 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm

My aunt just got me a big jar of fresh honey coz she knows how much i love it..hehe. I would love to use it in making this cake …it looks so soft moist!


Chrissy Caballero July 25, 2012 at 6:34 am

Such a lovely lovely post! :) Everything is oh so dainty! :)


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella July 27, 2012 at 6:19 am

Gorgeous styling Jen! I love all the bring pink flowers-sure to put a smile on anyone’s face :)


Rowena @ Apron and Sneakers July 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I like simple cakes like this and the way you present it makes it more delicious than those elaborate ones at the windows. Seriously. It looks so delicious and the recipe says it is.


marla August 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Such a beautiful cake, must try soon! Love your pretty styling :)


Patricia October 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Yum! And these photos are simply beautiful.


Wendi Bendzinski April 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I loved this recipe. I made it today and already looking forward to making it again. If you’re using the mini loaf pans, I recommend using five of them, not four as stated, so that they come out as pretty and symmetrical as the original pinner’s. Lovely presentation. Can’t wait to share as gifts!


Amy @ItsAMindfulLife March 26, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Hello! This looks amazing and lovely!!! Your pictures are amazing and styling for the pictures fantastic. I am really excited to have found your blog. I will be back!


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