I am a sucker for a layer cake. Especially when it involves chocolate and buttercream. So to celebrate my birthday a few weeks ago I baked this Cinnamon Chocolate Cake. It’s been on the cards for a while and I think I’ve shown remarkable restraint right through January by impatiently waiting for February to roll around along with a good excuse to bake it.

Now the waiting is over I’m jumping straight in to the details, beginning with the Salted Honey Buttercream…. gasp.

Without a doubt, this is the finest buttercream I’ve ever made. Sweet it most definitely is, but it’s also mellow, thanks to the honey. And there’s a slight twang of saltiness to give it a savoury edge. Bundled up with the chocolate and cinnamon spice it is a grown-up topping that is sure please.

The actual Cinnamon Chocolate Cake teams it’s headline flavours up with dark muscovado sugar and buttermilk. The result is a dark, soft and fudgy sponge cake with an intense chocolate flavour and a hint of warming spice.

It pairs with the salty-sweet buttercream perfectly.

Just a quick word of warning about muscovado sugar. It has an annoying tendency to harden and form lumps when stored. Do make sure you remove any clumps of sugar. If you leave those lumps in, your sponge cake will be prone to sugary holes (but it will still taste amazing). The Kitchn has some good advice for dealing with these lumps – I went with apple slices in the container and it worked well.

Now go enjoy this Cinnamon Chocolate Cake smothered in salted honey buttercream before the weather warms up.

  • For the Cake
  • 180 g/ 3/4 cup butter - softened
  • 180 g/ 1 cup dark muscovado sugar (lump free - see tips in main text)
  • 180 g/ 1 1/2 cups plain (all purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 tbsp buttermilk
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 125 g/ 1 cup dark chocolate - roughly chopped (I used 65% cocoa solids)
  • For the Buttercream
  • 300 g butter/ 1 1/3 cup butter - softened
  • 240 g / 2 1/8 cup icing (confectionary) sugar - sieved
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 1/4 tsp seasalt
  • Decoration
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)

  1. Grease and line 3 x 6 inch baking tins with baking parchment
  2. Preheat oven 175C/ 325F/ GM3
  3. Weigh the flour, cocoa, baking powder & cinnamon into a bowl
  4. Put the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and gently melt the chocolate in the microwave (or over a bain marie) and set aside
  5. In another bowl cream the butter and sugar together using electric beaters until fluffy and paler in colour
  6. Beat in the egss, one at a time
  7. Sieve half of the flour mixture into the batter and blend
  8. Add the buttermilk, milk and vanilla extract and mix
  9. Sieve in the remaining flour and mix until just combined
  10. Take a heaped tablespoon of the cake batter and quickly mix it into the melted chocolate then quickly blend this mixture back into the rest of the cake batter
  11. Divide the batter between the 3 cake tins, level slightly and bake for 22-25 minutes until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed or a skewer comes out clean
  12. Let cool in the tins for 2 minutes, then remove from the tins, peal off the baking parchment from the bottom of each sponge cake and let cool completely on a wire rack
  13. Make the buttercream
  14. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the sea salt to a powder
  15. Using electric beaters whip the butter and icing sugar together - add the icing sugar 1 tbsp at a time
  16. Beat in the honey, followed by the powdered salt
  17. Taste - add a little more powdered salt to suit tastes
  18. Assemble the cake
  19. Lay one chocolate sponge cake onto a board and spread 1/4 of the icing on top
  20. Place another layer of cake carefully on top of the layer of icing and top with another 1/4 of the icing, spread it out and top with the final layer of cake
  21. Spread another 1/4 icing on top of the cake and use the remaining icing to pipe rosettes on the top of the cake
  22. Dust with a little ground cinnamon and decorate with cinnamon sticks if desired

If you wish to use standard 8.5 inch tins, my suggestion is to simply double the recipe. In an ideal world, you would scale up the recipe to bake it using 5 eggs, but that leads to some fiddly measurements. Making double is far easier - just ensure you do not fill your sandwich tins more than 2/3 full with the batter and use the leftover batter to make a few cupcakes (freezable). You perhaps will not need to double the buttercream though - I'd suggest making 1.5 times that stated in the recipe.

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