Registering was one of the very few tasks my now husband and I looked forward to when wedding planning. We spent a lot of time trying to have a registry full of things we needed and wanted, thought were funny or useful, and that reflected our style as a couple. Some things were easy to agree on; we had been lusting over a food processor for years (I wish ‘years’ was an exaggeration, but it’s embarrassingly true). Others were a bit one sided; I picked the sewing machine and he picked the Fred & Friends Ninjabread Men Cookie Cutters>.
And then when we agreed the registry was finished, I then went back and added a bunch of things willy nilly.
It wasn’t that I was out to sabotage our registry with things that I wanted exclusively, it was that I spend more time shopping than Brian, and our registry was running out of items. I had been looking at registries for other couples (everyone we know is getting married these days), and I’d think, “Oh, we could use one of those too,” and find a similar object and add it. Brian worried that this behavior would dilute our registry and that we wouldn’t get the things we really wanted, but in the end we got nearly everything, and now we additionally have some extra items that we never would have bought for ourselves.
One of these items is Nordic Ware Honeycomb Pull-Apart Dessert Pan (see it on Amazon here). Brian and I have never been bundt people. It’s not my favorite dessert, and I always think once you have a bundt pan, that particular shape and design becomes your signature bundt. People will recognize it as yours. And it takes up so much space in your cupboard for a single function tool that if I were ever going to own one, I’d have to really love it. After seeing a bundt pan on someone else’s registry, I started browsing through the infinite pans on Amazon. It was fairly easy to tell that Nordic Ware is the best in the biz, so I narrowed down my search and browsed through tea cake pans, pans shaped like castles or roses or bugs. Finally I found the honeycomb pan, and instantly I knew this was our pan.
I still felt a bit silly adding it to the registry. Again, we’re not bundt people. I felt even silier when someone bought it for us (thank you David!!!). I wasn’t even entirely sure what we could make in it, since it is an unusual pan with its dividers. We tried the recipe it came with, which was dry and mealy. While the cake came out exactly as the pictures look, the flavor and texture were so disappointing that the pan moved to the back of our cabinet for some time. If you do ever buy this pan, ignore that recipe. Then, one day, I stumbled upon this recipe for Honey Cornmeal Cake. The ingredients are simple, the instructions are easy, and the whole thing takes very little effort.
And the flavor?
I am going to be this mother. Some mothers make cookies or soup or ratatouille. Some mothers are known for their pie or roast or tamales. My mom is known for caramel corn (heaven).
I am going to be known for Honeycomb Cake. The cake can be served as dessert with whipped honey butter, or as breakfast with jam. It’s moist with great texture from the cornmeal, and it’s just dense enough to be a pull-apart bread rather than a true fluffy cake. The orange zest adds a lovely citrus flavor, and the pan divides it into the perfect sections.
I don’t know what this cake tastes like in a regular pan, I am sure it is fine. But it’s the combination of this recipe and this pan that will have my kids requesting it for special occasions and other mothers clamoring for the recipe (yes, I do live in my own little world).
Also, Brian did get his Ninja Cookie Cutters.
Makes one cake. Recipe care of Pure Wow, care of Bees & Beans.
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup fine grind cornmeal
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons plus 1½ teaspoons honey
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 5 eggs, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325˚. Coat an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the cornmeal until just combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar, salt, honey and orange zest until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating fully before adding another. (The batter may start to separate for the last few eggs.) Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake slightly, then remove from the pan, slice and serve.