This is one of my favorite cakes from childhood! Named after its honeycomb-like patterns, it has two distinct layers – the top is light and tender while the bottom has a texture similar to a sponge cake. The flavor is reminiscent of warm, delicious butterscotch and is surprisingly not too sweet – we absolutely love it!
Lightly adapted from the Honeycomb Cake recipe by Guai Shu Shu
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
13 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick and 5 tablespoons) plus more to butter pan, room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
8 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
*Before beginning, remove butter and eggs from the fridge and set on the counter to bring to room temperature.
*1/15/22 update: Originally, I used a 10” square pan (3” deep) and baked the cake for about an hour but I have since preferred to use 9” cake pan (3” deep and I use a round pan because that’s what I have) to obtain a taller cake, which I find provides more of the beehive pattern.
Make the sugar syrup: Place sugar in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Leave undisturbed until sugar begins to melt and darken. Begin stirring to distribute the sugar and to keep the melted sugar from burning (lower heat if necessary). When all the sugar has melted and caramelized, add water (mixture will splatter a little and caramel will harden), turn heat up to medium-high, and continue to stir until mixture becomes a syrup and caramelized sugar has dissolved completely. Set syrup aside and let cool to room temperature, about 1/2 to 1 hour.
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9” round cake pan (3” deep), line with parchment paper, and butter the parchment; set aside until needed. With an electric mixer, beat the butter with the paddle attachment until smooth (I use the second speed, the one above the stir speed), scraping down the side as necessary. Then, add the condensed milk and continue to beat until mixture is creamy, scraping down the side a few times. Next, lower the speed, add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture (1/2 to 3/4 cup at a time), cooled sugar syrup, and finally, the baking soda. Once all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 1 hour 25 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove cake pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Then, remove cake from pan and slice into bite-size pieces and serve. Keep leftovers in an airtight container.