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Honey Bees, Chocolate and Smiles.

I have made this cake so many times, but it still makes people smile to see the shiny chocolate glaze and the happy marzipan bees.  My kids really get into helping with this one (note: I say helping, but I really mean eating the marzipan dipped in the glaze).  The method seems intricate, but in all honesty, I just cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs one at a time, than throw the rest in and mix.  It’s a recipe from one of my faves Nigella Lawson.  Don’t be scared off by the bee business, you can leave them out.  It will still be sticky sweet and gone in 60 seconds!

What you need:


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups soft light brown sugar
  • 2 sticks soft butter
  • 1/2 cup honey (I use orange blossom honey, the slight citrus with the chocolate is a knock out!)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 cup boiling water

Sticky honey glaze:

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar


  • 1 ounce yellow marzipan
  • 12 flaked almonds
What you do:
Take whatever you need out of the refrigerator so that all ingredients can come to room temperature, and while that’s happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line a 9-inch springform pan ( you can use a regular cake pan, just butter and flour it really well).

Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey.
Add 1 of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and baking soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to 1 1/2 hours, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is getting too dark, cover the top lightly with aluminium foil and keep checking every 15 minutes.

Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.

To make the glaze, bring the water and honey to a boil in a saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes, then whisk together. Add the sugar through a sieve and whisk again until smooth.

Choose your plate or stand, and cut out 4 strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and set the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the glaze over the cold honey bee cake; it might dribble a bit down the edges, but don’t worry too much about that.  Keep the pan of glaze, as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.

Divide the marzipan into 6 even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees’ bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.

Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky honey glaze left in the pan from icing the cake. About 3 stripes look best, and then very carefully attach the flaked almonds at an angle to make the bees’ wings, 2 on each one.

One thought on “Honey Bees, Chocolate and Smiles.”

  1. Alright, I've already drooled over the Nutella brownies and now there's this! Your recipes all look delicious and like something I'd love to try for myself. I gotta say I love your little bees. I made something similar to top some fancy baklava cupcakes. I'm now following your lovely blog so I can keep snagging more must-try recipes!


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