It’s a debacle, honey.

In which Betty is convinced by her future-politician daughter to make a honey cake in the middle of July.

Hey, What About my Double Espresso Chocolate Cake?

I can always count on Bissela to derail my baking plans. I was dying to try a new Double Espresso Chocolate Cake (emphasis on the chocolate!) recipe that I found in one of my favorite foodie magazines. I mean chocolate and double espresso?? Does life get any better??

I told Grace all about it and convinced her that this cake would be our ticket to the big leagues. The plan was to make the cake for the bake-off at the mid-summer fair that they have every year at the community center. This fair is a happy reminder to us parents that summer school vacation days are winding down. For some reason, the kids never share our enthusiasm.


Lots of people come to the fair. And there is always stiff competition at the bake-off. Grace and I decided to enter the bake-off with our double espresso chocolate cake. It would give the entire neighborhood something to talk about for years (well at least for a few weeks). We were sure this would solidify our reputation as master bakers. Grace began visualizing where we would open our bakery and lines of customers streaming out the door.

But I Want Honey Cake

But Bissela was dreaming already, about honey cake. “Bissela,” I asked her, “who thinks about honey cake in the middle of July?” She insisted that we make a honey cake like the ones we made for the Holidays. Trouble was, I had no idea where I had put the recipe for the honey cakes we made last year, which miraculously turned out to be edible.

Can you put chocolate in a honey cake? Maybe I could find a chocolate honey cake recipe. I searched around, but I didn’t find a recipe for it.

Bissela and I did find a delicious looking recipe on our favorite online foodie site. It called for a lot of ingredients, like whiskey (I might need that later) a lot of spices, honey, of course, even coffee, slivered almonds, and the usual ingredients like eggs, flour and baking soda. The whiskey made me think of Julia Childs and how she would always say, “a cup of wine for the chicken and a cup for the chef!” By the end of the show, she was pretty entertaining!

I sent Bissela on a treasure hunt to find as many of the ingredients as possible from the pantry. Amazing what stuff she found in there. Suffice it to say you wouldn’t want to eat it.

I’m Already Stressed, Now I Have to Hear About Rules?

In the meantime, before we left for the grocery store Mrs. G stopped by to give me the rules for the bake-off. Now, I was starting to feel stressed because Bissela wanted honey cake, Grace and I needed time to practice making the double espresso chocolate cake, and Mrs. G wanted to go over the rules one by one. “Maybe you can just leave it and I’ll call you if I have questions?” No, she wanted to read it line by line. What could be so complicated, I was thinking, but I put on my best smile, sat down and patiently listened to her review the rules.

Finally, Bissela and I escaped to make a quick trip to the supermarket to pick up the missing ingredients, then to the liquor store to buy the whiskey. Next to the whiskey was chocolate liqueur. Well, you can imagine what I did about that!

Honey Cake for Bissela, No Problem!

Back home, we began our project. I was starting to get into the fun of making a cake with Bissela. She was so excited and happy, and it was infectious. Now, this recipe has a lot of ingredients, but it’s not so complicated.

You put all the ingredients in the mixing bowl and whip them up. We put in the flour, salt, and all the spices. Then we added the honey, sugar, vanilla, eggs, coffee, orange juice, and the whiskey. In honor of Julia Childs, I took a little taste of the whiskey. Then we used the hand mixer so that all the ingredients were perfectly mixed. Presto! We poured the batter into an angel food cake pan and put it into the oven for the required time—60-70 minutes.

Bissela was dancing around smelling the wafting aroma of honey cake emerging from the oven. I was back inside my double espresso chocolate cake recipe and dreaming about winning the bake-off. The rest of the kids came home, and everyone was waiting for a piece of honey cake.

The timer buzzed. With great fanfare, we took the cake out of the oven. “Where is the cake?” It was barely one inch high and hard as a brick. Bissela was stomping around complaining that she had been waiting months for honey cake. It seemed like a good time to test that chocolate liqueur.

Something had gone wrong with the honey cake. I think we left out the baking soda and baking powder. It was kind of crunchy, but I found that if you doused it with chocolate liqueur it was quite delicious.

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