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Twice Baked Honey Cakes

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A white towel with four honey cakes on top

These twice baked honey cakes are simple and flavorful cakes for any special occasion.
LOTR Recipe - Honey Cakes

 

These twice baked honey cakes are slightly crispy on the outside, but dense and moist on the inside, plus full of amazing honey flavor. This Hobbit inspired cake recipe is a perfect treat for breakfast, dessert, or an afternoon snack!

 

Have you ever read a book or watched a movie and been so intrigued by the description of the food within that you can’t stop thinking about it? Happens to me ALL the time! Sometimes the descriptions of the food, which is totally supposed to be supporting background information, can really heighten the experience of the story. The descriptions of how the food looks, smells and sometimes even tastes, can be so enticing, especially when its a “new food” you aren’t familiar with, but can totally guess what it would taste like. I love it when the authors take the time to really build up the world the characters live in, don’t you?

 

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A white towel with four honey cakes on top, one honey cake is split in half

 

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These delightful honey cakes are best known from The Hobbit (although they are also mentioned in Game of Thrones as being a favorite of Catelyn Stark! In my mind they are totally the same thing). Remember Beorn, the lonely guy in the woods who shape shifts into a bear? These honey cakes are one of his creations, and he gives a stack of them to the dwarves, Gandalf, and Bilbo on their journey to the Lonely Mountain. These twice baked cakes are supposed to keep a “good long time”, soaked in honey, and apparently made you very thirsty. In the book Fellowship of the Ring, Gimli the dwarf compares the honey cakes to the elvish Lembas bread, stating that the Beornings are some of the best bakers that he knows of. So, these little cakes are supposed to be good travel food, contain lots of honey, and taste great! Beorn’s honey cake recipe is actually a secret (says so in the book), so of course what they actually were like is hotly contested. Uh.. can fictional based food be hotly contested? I suppose in the right circles… Let’s just assume I am right, though, yeah?

 

Books, keys, coins, flowers, a white towel, and honey cakes arranged on a wooden table

 

This honey cake recipe is super easy to make, and one of those lovely treats that works great for dessert, breakfast, or as a triumphant treat when you realize that both your kids are at school at you have the house to yourself. The twice baking gives the cakes a little bit of a crispy crust, while keeping the insides perfectly moist and dense. There is a full cup of honey in this recipe, so they are perfectly sweet and (as long as you use a great tasting honey), really flavorful. I left a full dozen on my counter to cool and came back to find 3 sets of sticky fingers and crumby faces in my kitchen, and significantly less honey cakes. While they might last “a good long while”, you will find that these Hobbit inspired honey cakes will quickly disappear from your kitchen.

 

An open book and four honey cakes on top of a white towel

 

Tricks to Make this Recipe Awesome:

  • Use a high quality local honey that is full of flavor for the best flavor in the cakes.
  • Use fresh ground nutmeg!
  • Make sure you really grease the muffin wells really, really well. Use super soft (but not melted) butter and a silicone pastry brush to kind of “paint” the inside of each muffin well. Don’t use cooking spray, don’t use muffin liners – you won’t get the same effect here. Use real butter, and lots of it!
  • Place the muffins on a sit-pat lined baking sheet for their second baking.
  • Heat the last 1/4 cup of honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds before drizzling on the tops of the cakes before their second baking.

 

A white towel with a skeleton key, an open book, and four honey cakes on top

 

 

LOTR Recipe - Honey Cakes

Twice Baked Honey Cakes

These twice baked honey cakes are simple and flavorful cakes for any special occasion.
4.61 from 155 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cuisine: English
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 Cakes
Calories: 180kcal
Author: Jenni

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cup flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature (plus about 3 TBSP for greasing muffin pans)
  • zest 1 lemon
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup high quality honey + 1/4 cup honey for drizzling on top
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  •  

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Using a silicone pastry brush and really, really soft butter, "paint" the inside of the muffin wells to grease them. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest.
  • Using a fork, or very clean fingers, mix in the room temperature butter to the flour mixture until it looks like a sandy/gravely mixture. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, and vanilla.
  • Pour the liquids over the dry mixture and combine until just combined - do not over-mix.
  • Spoon the batter into 12 muffin wells - it will be between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup of batter each.
  • Bake for 16 minutes, or until mostly done but not quite golden enough.
  • Remove from the muffin pan (Be super careful, its hot! This is why you want to grease the pan really well!) and place the muffins on a silpat lined rimmed baking sheet.
  • Warm the remaining 1/4 cup honey in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
  • Using a silicone pastry brush, coat the tops of the cakes with the honey (its ok for it to drip down the sides). Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to let the honey soak into the cakes.
  • Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the cakes are golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 180kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 183mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g

 

Looking for other fun Book Based Recipes? Check out these Harry Potter and Game of Thrones inspired recipes:

Harry Potter’s Cauldron Cakes

Harry Potter Cauldron Cakes

Game of Throne’s Lemon Cakes for Sansa Stark 

Sansa Stark Lemon Cakes

 

 

54 Comments

  1. Yum! I love the hobbit and LOTR! These are right up my alley!

  2. Debi at Life Currents says:

    These look super yummy, and I love how they are based on a book. I would love to make them for a nice brunch.

  3. These sound sooo good!!! I love a bite one these little cakes!!!

  4. Oh, those honey cakes look like they’d lust melt in your mouth. Love the story too.

  5. Jeni @ Biscuits & Booze says:

    I am also a huge reader and spend way too much time pondering the foods I find between the pages. I love that you made honey cakes! And also those Lemon Cakes for Sansa are calling to me 🙂

  6. Denise Wright says:

    I am not much of a baker with these looks so good I’m going to have to try it! I’ve been craving honey lately so this came at the right time!

  7. Analida Braeger says:

    I love the Hobbit story and how this brings back memories! I also love buying local honey because someone told me it can help desensitize seasonal allergies and it works. I need to bake some of these! Thanks for the great recipe!

  8. Oh my gosh, I love this! What a fantastic idea! These we be so great at a Tolkien themed party. So fun!

  9. dixya @food, pleasure, and health says:

    i absolutely love books with recipes in it..i made one bread recipe and it made the whole booking reading and stories come out alive 🙂 this sounds like an awesome recipe with coffee.

  10. I totally agree with you about being intrigued by the recipes mentioned in a book. I want to make that recipe and experience the flavor and feel the texture. The honey cakes sound wonderful. I’ll have to make them and perhaps I’ll pick up on the stories you wrote about.

  11. My daughter would love this dessert. She loves anything that is muffin like.

  12. Jenni these photos are just gorgeous!! They give a real sense of the hobbit/GOT worlds – love it!! The honey cakes sound just divine as well, so yummy!

  13. Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen says:

    These sound delicious! I could eat several of these in one sitting. They’d make a great side dish. 🙂

  14. Christine says:

    Oh man, these look amazing! I can only imagine how delicious they smell straight out of the oven and taste. Definitely hope to make these soon!

  15. These sounds so perfect for Rosh Hashanah – I wish I saw this recipe last week! Beautiful photos.

  16. I made these on Thanksgiving and they were a total hit! 12 full size muffins were immediately demolished by 5 people. For the second baking, I just used parchment paper instead of a silpat lining. Also, for some reason when I was reading the recipe and looking at the photos I assumed the final muffins would be dry and crunchy. Not the case at all! They were moist and spongy on the inside, with crystallized crispy honey on the outside. Just perfect. I plan to make these again at Christmas! So delicious!

    1. I am so glad to hear these turned out so well for you, Amy! So glad you enjoyed them!

    2. I was looking for and making a lembas bread recipe when I came across your honey cake recipe. Thank the gods of Middle earth I did these are amazing they don’t even get time to cool in my house before the kids start to demolish them I literally have to hide a couple of I want them. So from all the way in England a big thank you from myself my wife and the kids.

  17. Ricardo Reis says:

    Couldn’t bellieve when I google it and found your site. Tolkien addict, just had the curiosity, when for the “uncountable” time that readin’ “the hobbit” , to look after the recipe. Nice job, my dear. Try to make it here. Later, I ‘ll tell you the result. It will be a companion for many adventures, even while readin’, even on trekking. God bless you.

  18. Jenni, it looks perfect and tasty! Can’t wait to have this anytime of the day, love it!

  19. Jenny, that recipe looks so yummy! I’ll have to try that one. Thanks for sharing.

  20. These muffins look amazing! But for the sake of consistency, since Beorn Himself was a strict vegetarian, is there a way to make these muffins without eggs?

    1. Ha! Good catch! To replace the eggs with a vegetarian alternative, you can use ground flax seed! For each egg, mix 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed with 3 Tablespoons of water and mix really well. Let it sit about 5 minutes, until it’s good and gelatinous. This method works really well for pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods!

    2. He was vegetarian but definitely not vegan as evidenced by the honey. I don’t see him having a problem with using eggs as the chickens just lay them daily and most would go to waste otherwise. No hard evidence, just my point of view from reading.

  21. My kids loved this recipe! Now, my 9 year old wants to have a cake made out of these cupcakes! I want to make them ahead of time. How would you recommend I do it? Freeze them after the first baking? then thaw and do the second baking the day of the party? Would appreciate your expertise!

  22. Fun idea, but I’m frustrated by a few things. My main question is: how on earth do you achieve a gravely texture to the flour when cutting into room temperature butter? Every recipe I have every read/followed recommends using cold butter to achieve this texture. My mixture just balled up and I had to break out the electric mixer to get the wet to blend into the dry properly. I do wish that you’d included more information as to what the batter will be like (it’s pretty liquid-y, not at all like a typical cupcake batter), and how to test for done-ness on the first bake (mine were still soggy enough on the bottom to slightly lose their shape when I transferred them to a baking sheet). My take is that these are basically a twice-baked custard. Pictures of the process would greatly improve your blog, and help achieve a more successful bake on the first go-round.

    1. Hi Yvonne! Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely add some process photos for you to help you achieve better cakes. They should have turned out cake-like and not at all like a custard.

    2. Amy Lynn Thieme says:

      I was wondering the same thing…. I used a pastry blender for the room temp butter, flour mixture and it worked perfectly… nice and crumbly. Also, after the first bake I used a knife to loosen from muffin pan, inverted onto a nonstick foil lined sheet tray and then put them right side up on another nonstick foil lined sheet tray, brushed with the honey, let sit a few minutes and then finished baking…. OMG they were perfect! I was worried about the goo on top not cooking all the way because of the honey…..and it doesn’t, really….however, I did the tooth pic test thru the side of the muffin and most of the goo did bake out. I am definitely going to make again….

  23. I made these per your recipe and they came out amazing. I was having difficulty folding the butter in the mixture with a fork so o went hands in and it all came together very well. Thank you for this recipe, I’m making these a lot now as everyone I’ve shared them with likes them. Brilliant recipe!

  24. Dineke Bour says:

    I was just wondering if you know how they freeze. I would love to make them in advance for a LOTR event I am planning

    1. Hello! I have not tried freezing them before! I am guessing they probably would? If you try it, let me know how it turns out!

  25. Thanks for this recipe! Honey cakes are also mentioned in The Bear and the Nightingale, which is my reason for searching for this recipe. It’s my turn for book club. These look simple and delicious.

  26. Jane Upchurch says:

    I am going to try to make these cakes for a bookclub I do with my Italian students here in Italy (It’s called “Teatime with Jane” we discuss the book, drink tea and eat cake!) – this months it’s the Hobbit! My only problem is the measurements – we don’t use cups, sticks of butter etc :-(. This makes most of these recipes unusable outside of the US. I have used conversion tables before but they are not always the same and quite imprecise. I wonder if in future you might bear this in mind and add grams? I will try them anyway with a conversion table, but it jsut makes it more difficult. Thanks anyway for the recipe!

  27. Hi! how would u subsitute baking soda for baking powder? Thank you

  28. I made these for a Tolkien inspired platter to deliver to friends’ doorsteps yesterday – they were absolutely wonderful and not over sweet given they had so much honey in and on them! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe.

  29. Just made this for a hobbit marathon. Almost better than the movie! Thank you for the recipe!

  30. I originally spotted this when I was making arrangements for my Hobbit themed birthday, but it is such a delightful recipe that I have continued to make them, it’s always a success. I’ve found that using the zest of an orange is just as delicious, if not more so. I also like to add a bit more honey to the cakes right before they go back in the oven, and out of all the honey I have experimented with, clover seems to have the best flavor (with sunflower coming in second) thanks for sharing!

  31. I made your recipe tonight, and was only mildly satisfied with the results, honestly, it’s plausible I might have done something wrong, but maybe my sub-concious was expecting the honeycake to taste differently based on individual preference w/ regard to interpreting The Hobbit culinary experience 101

  32. I made these and they were lovely with tea! Thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  33. I’ve always loved Tolkien’s descriptions of food in his books, so this recipe was exciting to try. The honey cakes turned out great!

  34. I just made these and they are really good! I had to use lime zest instead. My son has been watching Bananas in Pajamas, and apparently they eat honeycakes… so he’s been asking me to make them. Not as cool as The Hobbit lol but I’m so glad it led me to your recipe!

  35. Has anyone tried this as a gluten free recipe?

  36. I made these today, as directed. They were really good. If I were to make them again, my personal preference might be the zest of just half a lemon. Still though, worth making- moist, flavorful, simple ingredients.

  37. Man, these look so good, I love these recipes.

  38. I made this recipe at home, and I liked it very much, the muffins are tender.

  39. These are delicious! If you’re looking for a classic honey cake flavor, this is not it. The honey flavor is very mild…but perfect. It’s a delicious mild, hint-of-lemon, hint-of-nutmeg cake. Thank you!

  40. I made this one today but being someone who is calorie conscious I usually modify receipes to reduce the calorie count and this one was no different. I reduced to honey down to just 65grams in total, why 65? No particular reason, it just felt about as low as I could go after discussions with mt partner. I left the butter amount the same. Everyone liked it and even had thirds, except for me. I felt it was too buttery and I could not taste any honey; ha ha, no surprises there since I used way less honey than the original called for. I think though, that I could probably have reduced the butter by 20% and increased the honey to about 90g total. I realise that my meddling changes the texture and taste of the cake but that is the tradeoff.

  41. I feel that dispite my modifications (see my previous comment) which didn’t go as expected, I think the original had I stuck to that would have been fantastic.

  42. Honey cakes are also in the Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. I can’t wait to make these. The recipe looks great. 😊Thanks

  43. If you think you’ve used enough butter, you haven’t. I thought I greased my pan THOROUGHLY, but they’re still stuck 🙁 they smell great tho and I’m sure they’ll be delicious! Never again.

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