Time: 4 hours plus a day to let cake rest
While this is a super delicious, tasty cake, it does take time and patience to make. If it had not been for my son, asking me to make it for his 20th birthday, I am not sure that I would have, but he is a great guy and deserved the effort – he and the cake are worth all the effort!
Music Selection: Taylor Swift – Willow
1 ½ cups honey, divided
¼ cup water
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
14 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces
6 large eggs
2 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of cardamom
3 ¾ cups flour
1 ¼ cups dulce de leche
4 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trace circles of a 9 inch cake pan onto parchment paper 12 times. Set aside.
Using a large pot, make a water bath with 1 inch water. Set over low-medium heat.
Place ¾ cup of honey in a saucepan and set over high heat. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium. After a few minutes, the honey will foam. Stir with wooden spoon and watch it carefully. Once it starts to “smoke” and the honey starts to darken, remove from heat and carefully add the water, mixing well. Whisk to combine and then pour into a measuring cup with a spout.
In a bowl (that can withstand heat, like pyrex or a metal bowl), add ¼ cup of the darkened honey, ¾ cup of honey, sugar and butter. Put over the water bath and whisk until smooth.
In a separate bowl, crack the eggs and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the baking soda, ¾ tsp salt, cinnamon and cardamom.
When the butter has melted, and the honey is warm (not hot), take a little out (1/4 cup) and whisk into the eggs. Then slowly, while whisking, stream the eggs into the warm honey. The batter will foam. Remove from heat and let cool.
In 3 -4 batches, sift flour (about a cup at a time) into the warm honey batter, mixing well each time. Put the batter back into the water bath as it will be easier to spread while warm.
Place the traced parchment paper on baking sheets and spoon about ¼ – 1/3 cup batter into a circle and spread out to edges of traced circle. It will be a very thin layer. Bake 2 or 3 cake layers at a time for 4 – 6 minutes. You may need to shuffle their order in the oven at 3 minutes. They should have a golden colour. Set aside to cool, but gently lift then from the parchment paper when they have cooled for 5 minutes. Bake remaining cake layers.
If you have remaining batter, after making the 12 layers, spread it on remaining parchment and back for 6 minutes, then lower heat to 250 degrees and bake another 5 minutes. Let cool. When it is cool, use a food processor to grind this last piece into crumbs. Set aside.
Warm the remaining darkened honey (there should be about ½ cup), and add the dulce de leche and ½ tsp salt. Mix well. Slowly mix in ¾ cup of the whipping cream. Put in fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.
In large bowl (will need a bowl that holds 10 cups), pour the 4 cups of whipping cream. Beat until soft peaks. Slowly, stream in the honey mixture and beat until medium-stiff peaks.
Assemble the cake by putting a layer down, then about ¼ cup of whipping cream and spread from center to about ½ inch from the edges. Keep adding layers until all 12 are added to the cake pile. Use remaining cream to coat the top and sides of the cake.
Using your hands, take the finely ground cake crumbs and press along the sides. Place the cake in the fridge and let rest for 24 hours.
To decorate, add swirls or candy bees on top! This cake is delicious with a cup of tea or coffee.