Honey Cupcakes

The recipe is adapted from an old cookbook called For the Love of Baking by Lillian Kaplun. Her recipes were gems: The chocolate Neapolitan is still one of my favourite sweets, and her coffee cake is legendary. Kaplun’s seven minute frosting is the classic frosting for cakes that must be “pareve,” meaning made without milk products, so that they can be eaten after a meat meal.

My version is even quicker, easier and totally stress-free, not overly sweet and sufficiently light in texture so as not to overwhelm a delicate cake. I see honey cakes as a base for aromatic spices, but omit or change them if you prefer.

Ready time: 3 hours, including cooling time

Servings: 12 cupcakes


1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground star anise

1/2 cup warm strong coffee (optional)

1/2 cup honey

2 eggs

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grated apple


2 unbeaten egg whites

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

3 tbsp boiling coffee


12 apple crisps

2 tbsp bee pollen (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with 12 large cupcake liners. Or lightly grease a cupcake tin.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and star anise in large bowl. Set aside.

Stir together hot coffee (if using) and honey in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Beat eggs using a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly beat in sugars until well incorporated, about 1 minute. Stir in olive oil until just combined.

Beat half of flour mixture and all of honey mixture into egg mixture. Gently stir in remaining flour mixture and grated apple.

Pour batter into prepared cupcake liners (or prepared cupcake tin). Fill each liner about 3/4 full. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until cupcake is springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Run the point of a flexible knife around the edge and unmold onto a rack.

Mix together egg whites, brown sugar, vanilla, cream of tartar and salt. Add boiling coffee. Beat with whisk attachment of an electric beater on high until stiff peaks form, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Spread icing on each cupcake when they cool. Sprinkle with bee pollen (if desired) and top with an apple crisp.