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Honey Cake from the Box

It might be a classic, but making honey cake is a pain in the ass. (Unless you make this one.) I have no qualms about Betty Crocker. (Not a Jew. Not even a real person!) Since 1921, her (its) boxed vanilla cake mix has wowed guests and saved gobs of time. Coupled with fall spices and spoonfuls of honey, it makes a mean last-minute honey cake.

Serves 8–10

For the Cake
One 15¼ ounce [432 g] box vanilla cake mix (we like Betty Crocker Super Moist French Vanilla)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup [340 g] honey
¾ cup [180 ml] vegetable oil
¼ cup [60 ml] fresh orange juice (from about 1 to 1½ large navel oranges)
¼ cup [60 ml] whiskey
4 large eggs

For the Glaze
½ cup [60 g] confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to [180°C]. Generously grease a 10 in [25 cm] nonstick tube pan with cooking spray or vegetable oil.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, cinnamon, salt, and allspice. Make a well in the center and add the honey, oil, orange juice, and whiskey. Crack the eggs into the well. Whisk together, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl to ensure the batter is smooth.

  3. Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan and bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched, about 45 minutes.

  4. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Use a knife to gently separate the sides of the cake from the sides of the pan, and sit the pan on top of a whiskey bottle or wine bottle. Press down on the sides of the pan to remove it. Place the cake on the counter and use a knife to separate the bottom and inside ring of the cake from the pan. Flip the cake upside down onto the palm of your hand or a large piece of parchment paper on your countertop, and then flip rightside up onto a cake stand or plate.

  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°F [95°C].

  6. To make the glaze, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla in a small bowl to make a loose paste. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to spread the glaze over the top of the cake. Place in the warm oven for 4 to 5 minutes to set the glaze.

Note: This cake will keep at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic wrap, for 1 week.

Reprinted from “Eat Something” by Evan Bloom with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020.

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