Hive cake recipe

Written by | Food

This gorgeous lemon and honey flavored cake with cute smiley bees buzzing around would make a perfect birthday cake.


  • 400g/14oz butter, softened
  • 400g/14oz sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • 7 free-range eggs (preferably organic)
  • 400g/14oz self-raising flour, sifted

For the decoration

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz butter, softened
  • 1.5kg/3lb 5oz icing sugar, sifted
  • lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey, or to taste
  • Golden-yellow coloring – rather than lemon
  • Small amounts of ready-to-roll fondant icing in yellow, black, red, and white
  • 25g/1oz flaked almonds
  • 250g/9oz ready-to-roll green fondant icing


  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 15cm/6in the cake tin and an 18cm/7in the cake tin. Grease a 15cm/6in oven-proof glass bowl or similar. It out a small circle of baking paper to fit in the bottom of the bowl. Flour the sides.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until it is very pale, light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and honey.
  3. Add eggs slowly plus a little flour if the batter looks like it may curdle. Fold in the remaining flour with a large metal spoon.
  4. Divide the mixture between the cake tins and the oven-proof bowl.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, checking the smaller cakes after 30 minutes. The cakes are done when a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the baking paper carefully.
  7. For the decoration, beat the softened butter in a free-standing mixer for 5-8 minutes until very light and soft. Add the icing sugar in gradually, beating all the time, until it is all incorporated. Loosen this buttercream icing mixture with lemon juice and flavor with honey, to taste. Beat the golden-yellow food coloring into the buttercream icing to achieve your desired shade.
  8. Dust the work surface with icing sugar. Knead the yellow fondant icing until soft and pliable, then roll small amounts of the yellow fondant into rugby balls to form the body of the bees. Knead the black icing until soft and roll out on the dusted work surface into very thin ropes to create stripes. Brush the bees very lightly with water and stick on the stripes. Roll tiny balls of red for noses, and little balls of white with black dots for eyes. Stick these on with very little water. Push two slices of almond into each bee for wings. Set aside to dry.
  9. Roll out the white fondant icing and use a daisy-cutter out of white flowers. small circles from the yellow fondant for the centers of the daisies. Set aside to dry.
  10. Roll out the green fondant icing to cover the cake board.
  11. Place the largest cake on the green-lined cake board. Spread a layer of the buttercream on the top, then top with the smaller cake. Spread a little more buttercream on the top and then finish with the round bowl cake.

Last modified: July 31, 2021