Tea & Honey Cake with Manuka Honey

A Collaboration with BakerGatherer

Inspired by the prosperous Nelson region and it’s amazing produce and food, dripping with goodness, this Tea and Honey Cake uses MVH Manuka Honey for it’s full-bodied and earthy flavours.

This is then layered with Earl Grey infused Buttercream and plenty of cookie crumbs, because after all, what tea is complete without the perfect dipping cookie.

There are also two ways to assemble this cake, a shorter and longer technique. So depending on how daring you are, the amount of time you have or the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, make sure you read both assembly instructions in the method below.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Crumb & Milk: 20 mins


Honey Cake

  • 430g plain flour
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 230g butter – room temperature
  • 250ml buttermilk
  • 170g MVH Manuka Honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs

Earl Grey Infused Milk

  • 200ml milk
  • 2 Tbsp. loose leaf earl grey tea (2 tea bags)

Cookie Crumb

  • 200g vanilla wine biscuits
  • 100g butter – melted
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Honey Syrup

Earl Grey Buttercream

  • 220g butter – room temperature
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp. earl grey infused milk


  1. To start with, preheat oven to 180°C bake and line or grease two 8″ (20-22cm) spring-form baking tins and set aside.
  2. Using a free-standing mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each egg.
  3. Using two bowls of flour the Flour, baking powder and salt to one bowl and mix. in the second bowl, add the buttermilk, honey, vanilla extract and mix. 
  4. Alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, add them to the free-standing mixer one at a time over several additions. Fold through to incorporate.
  5. Pour batter evenly between the two prepared baking tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cakes are golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling, infuse the milk by adding the milk and tea leaves to a small pot. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool complexity in the pot. When cooled, strain and set aside.
  7. Next, make cookie crumbs by coarsely crushing biscuits and adding to a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and brown sugar and mix through until crumbs start to clump. Pour out onto a lined baking tray and bake at 180°c for 10-15 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking up the crumb.
  8. To make the honey syrup, add honey and boiling water to a small bowl or ramekin. Mix through to combine and set aside.
  9. To make the buttercream, beat butter in a free-standing mixer for 5 minutes, scraping sides down occasionally. Sift icing sugar and add to the butter in two stages, beating for another 3 minutes between additions. On a slower speed, add the earl grey infused milk, then turn mixer speed back up and beat for another few minutes. Now you’re ready to assemble!

Assembly – Quick

Place first cake layer on a cake board and using a pastry brush, brush top of cake with honey syrup. Cover with a layer of buttercream, followed by a layer of cookie crumbs (You can follow this with another light layer of buttercream if you like).

Place the second cake layer on top and follow through with earlier steps of brushing with honey syrup, a layer of buttercream and finishing off with a final layer of cookie crumbs. Cut, serve and enjoy with a hot cup of tea.

Assembly – Longer (these are the steps I used)

Place first cake layer on a cake board and using a roll of plastic acetate, wrap this around the base cake layer, making sure there is enough height to encase the whole cake once finished. The effect you’re wanting for example is a trifle dessert in a tall glass bowl, except eventually you’ll want to remove this glass bowl (the acetate in this instance).

Once the acetate is firmly secured in place, use a pastry brush to brush honey syrup over the first layer of cake. Carefully fill in with a layer of buttercream, tidily and evenly pressing up against side of acetate. Sprinkle in a layer of cookie crumbs, spread out evenly and push up against sides of acetate. Repeat all these steps once again until you have 2 layers of each element. Either place in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for a few hours.

Once layers are firm and chilled, you’ll be able to remove plastic acetate cleanly from around the outside of layer cake, leaving the effect I’ve shown in this post. Allow cake to return to room temperature before cutting and serving with a hot cup of tea. Enjoy!

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