honey cake

Maybe I should have made some New Year resolutions…….if nothing else, they would have guilted me into keeping up with them, even if for a short while.  This year was supposed to be about me being more diligent about posting recipes on the blog and yet here I am, well into February and finally with a post.  Truth be told, it would have been even longer had it not been for the excitement of sharing a recipe from an absolutely stunning cookbook!

I had been waiting with eager anticipation for this debut book by my friend and uber-talented blogger, Asha from Food, Fashion Party.  Having followed her blog for many years and always in awe of her creativity at pairing cuisines and flavors, I knew this book was going to be special.  And it lived up to all my expectations!  Flipping through the pages, I could not but drool over all the recipes and stunning photography by Alanna of The Bojon Gourmet.  And be overcome by nostalgia by the beautifully evocative stories strewn throughout the book, like little gems, giving context to the recipe and making them even more special.

This is a true labor of love with recipes tested many times over a couple of years and covering everything from appetizers to drinks to mains to desserts.  I have bookmarked so many of them and can’t wait to cook my way through the book…….like the Jaggery Crepes with Cashews and Coconut, Peppery Cumin Buns, Fried Banana Bread, Chutney Sandwiches with Whipped Goat Cheese Spread, Sweet Potato and Paneer Galette and Tomato-Dal Soup.  Written in an uncomplicated way, each recipe feels very doable.  The book also has sections for meat and fish dishes and some substitutions can easily make them vegetarian-friendly.  Like swapping chicken with tofu in the Chicken Soup with Vegetable-Stuffed Wontons.

The Honey Cake caught my eye almost immediately.  Because no matter how many fancy pastry shops I have visited, the cakes from India bakeries hold a very special place in my heart; simple, unpretentious places that make the most delicous cakes and biscuits and bread.

And one bite of the honey-soaked cake topped with powdered coconut, a speciality of the iconic Iyengar Bakeries in India immedediately took me back in time.  Tasting exactly like the one sold in India, I could not believe the recipe could be so perfect.  A sponge that bakes to a glowing, golden brown, over which is poured a topping of coconut cooked in a honey syrup  that is flavored with cardamom and fresh orange juice.  And I felt not the least bit apologetic for having cut out a slice before photographing, leaving a gaping hole in the pan 🙂

The recipe asks for the coarsely powdered shredded coconut that is unsweetened but my packet had disappeared in the black hole of my pantry, so I used the shredded one instead.  I would recommend using the powder though, simply because it would help the cake cut into neater slices and helps the syrup soak through much better.  In a pinch, you can also powder some coarse shreds in the blender….an idea that came to me only later.

I know this book will be coming into the kitchen with me very often, the pages will be well-worn and splattered while cooking, the stories will transport me back to my childhood and the food will warm the heart and belly.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I bought my copy and this post is not a sponsored one :).  Asha has generously offered a copy of the book and I am doing a giveaway that will run on the blog and Instagram.  All you have to do leave a comment telling me which is the food/foods that brings back special childhood memories.  You can comment here and/or on Instagram and if you do both, they will counted as two entries :).  The winner will be randomly selected and contacted via the email address given, and will have 24 hours to respond to claim their prize.  This giveaway is open to residents of the USA, Canada and India (because of shipping logistics), and will close on Febuary 12 at 10 pm EST.  Winners will be announced on Feb 14, 2018.

You can find Masala & Meatballs on Amazon.   And also in major bookstores like Barnes and Noble .  Find Asha at her blog, Food Fashion PartyInstagram and Facebook.

Recipe Source:  Masala and Meatballs by Asha Shivakumar 

Reprinted with permission from Masala & Meatballs: Incredible Indian Dishes with an American Twist by Asha Shivakumar (Page Street Publishing, 2017).

Honey Cake

Print Recipe
Serves: makes one 8


  • Syrup:
  • 1 1/2 cups( 355 ml) water
  • 1 cup ( 320g) orange blossom honey *
  • 1 cup (100g) coconut powder
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Drop of red food coloring (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
  • Cake:
  • 1 cup (22 g) butter
  • 1 cup (200 g) sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp (8 g) baking powder



Prehea tthe oven to 325 degrees F(170 degeees C or gas mark 3). Grease an 8-inch cake pan.


To make the syrup, combine all the ingresients except for the cardamom in a pan over medium heat, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cardamom and let it cool.


To make the cake, in a mixing bowl, whip the butter until it is light and fluff. Add the sugar, 1/4 cup (50g) at a time, and beat well after each addition. Add the eggs, one at a tim, along with vanilla and milk; beat well.


In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold it into the butter mixture, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-50 minute, until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes.


Randomly pierce the cake with a wooden toothpick, give the syrup a good stir because the coconut tends to float. Pour the syrup over the cake. Let this sit for at least 2 hours before serving.


* You can use any honey you have available.

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  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Most of your featured foods here remind me of my childhood….looking at the Badam Puri reminded of those Gift boxes we received at Diwali…

    • Reply
      February 7, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you, Apurva 🙂 Yes…I used to first go for those yellow cellophane packets with the gold sticker holding it together 🙂 Next was the dried apricots!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    This looks amazing!!! I love the honey sponge cake from Iyengar Bakery.

    I think the best part about this cake is the light and simple coconut syrup topping, as I prefer my cakes without bucket loads of frosting on it Totally trying this recipe…

    Good going:)

    • Reply
      February 7, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Thanks so much, Roopa and I am sure you’ll love this recipe. It is so delicious 🙂

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Beautiful honey cake ❤️.
    Here are a few of my other childhood favorites…pav bhaji, poornam boorelu, bandar halwa and jalebi

    • Reply
      February 7, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      All delicious!! Havent heard of Bandar Halwa but Bandar laddoo….Omg!! Its so good 🙂

  • Reply
    Priyanka Kantak
    February 7, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    Lovely cake Bina! 💕
    Actually there are a couple of foods that bring pleasant memories but the one that stands out is Kaju Katli. Considered very premium in those days (even now), each bite was savored with such relish and happiness. Everyone’s favorite! 😄

    • Reply
      February 8, 2018 at 12:21 am

      Oh yes!! Kaju Katli was saved for special occassions 🙂

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 10:52 pm

    My first time here, and loving all the wonderful food pictures !

    Some favorites that bring back school memories – flavored shaved ice sold in plastic packets called as pepsicola in Bombay, fruits flavors would cost 25 paise and doodh wala (added milk) flavor was for 50 paise 🙂 , streetside dabeli, Monginis paneer finger roll, sliced cake sold at all small grocery stores – don’t remember the brand but it would be a pleasure to unwrap 🙂

    Looking forward to trying out the honey cake !

    • Reply
      February 8, 2018 at 12:22 am

      Thanks so much and all the foods you mentioned are making me go down memory lane. Especially the ice thingys in plastic 🙂

  • Reply
    Saraswathi Iyer
    February 8, 2018 at 1:40 am

    My mom and aunts homemade akki roti since I am from joint family. Eating homemade food by them together makes happy and find. Hope to win the book.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 12:36 am

      Oh I love Akki Roti! What lovely memories, Saraswathi!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Too many childhood memories especially growing up in Bombay but my fav has got to be the sandwich wala in Santacruz – it was our weekly treat for being good 😉

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 12:33 am

      Ah yes….the sandwichwala!! Can never make my sandwiches taste like that….our frequent place was outside the gates of Sophia College 🙂

  • Reply
    Shamsa Nour
    February 8, 2018 at 3:33 am

    You truly have an art to your food, your recipes are not only mouthwatering but they take me always to a land of authenticity of our rich Indian Culture. Love from Canada darling 💓 Keep inspiring.

    My childhood memory of food has to be home made Khicdi with papar ans sautéed beef. A real nostalgic food memory takes me back to the streets of Delhi.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 12:32 am

      Thanks so much, Shamsa! Some dishes have magical powers to take us back in time 🙂

  • Reply
    Pari Vasisht
    February 8, 2018 at 4:33 am

    Hi Bina. Such a beautiful post, shows your unconditional love for Asha, her blog and her book! The cake looks wonderful and like you said, such cakes are always close to your heart than the so many fancy cakes available these days as they connect you straight to your childhood. Another favourite of mine is the Dilkhush bun from the Iyengar bakery which takes me straight to my childhood.

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 12:30 am

      Thanks Pari 🙂 I see Dilkhush in bakeries in Hyd too, although I I have my eyes on the plum cake by then 🙂

  • Reply
    February 8, 2018 at 10:16 pm

    Absolutley stunning delivery and pictures of you own! The cake jumps right off the page.

    My favorite childhood favorite is “Senai Kizhangu Varuval” in tamil or “Arbi roast” which would be a literal translation. Very labor intensive dish where you first pressure cook the arbi till you get the skin off. Then cut it and boil it in tamarind water and salt. Then coat it with masalas and deep-fry. Way too complicated – and likely unhealthy – although my grandmom swore it never “drank” any oil as she would say it. Given how crisp it was I cant say I’d agree but then the decadance makes the memory even fonder… Tok my Mom years to perfect my GMom’s recipe. I havent attempted it but might do so one day…

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 12:29 am

      Thanks so much and the Arbi sounds so delicious, especially with rice! Preventing it from getting mushy after boiling and frying it crisp is a true skill! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    February 11, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Any time I have pancake it brings me back to childhood and Sunday afternoon brunch at my grandparents house. Amazing how food can transport you back to a moment in time.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      So true! Sometimes just the thought of it is enough to take one back 🙂

  • Reply
    February 12, 2018 at 4:57 am

    Absolutely love your blog and mouthwatering pictures. Your gajar gobhi Achaar is my fav, as it reminds me of my mom’s pickle which she would make every winter for us❤️

    • Reply
      February 13, 2018 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks so much, Molly! Thats my favorite pickle too 🙂

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