Baking · Cakes

Honey Walnut Cake

Delicately tender cake flavoured with cinnamon, fresh orange zest and chopped walnuts. Soaking with honey sugar syrup whilst still warm gives this cake its unique flavour and texture.

Recipe posted in August 2015, photos updated in May 2018. 

Matilda the Musical is running a bake off competition and we want you to get in the kitchen and bake something inspired by Matilda!

The prize for the competition is two tickets to Matilda the Musical, an afternoon tea at the Radisson Blu Edwardian and a night’s stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Mercer Street, London. To take part and have the chance to win, click here to go to the official site and find out more! #MatildaBakeOff

It’s great fun to be involved in this baking campaign with Matilda the Musical! So when I brainstormed some recipe ideas inspired by Matilda, I had many ideas of recipes that were influenced by the story. Some favourites like chocolate fudge cake sprung straight to my mind, but it was my sister who suggested I baked honey cake for this blog post. If you’ve read Matilda then you will know one of the main characters in the story is Miss Honey. So a honey cake seemed the perfect bake to choose!

This honey and walnut cake is wonderfully sweet with beautiful flavour from the cinnamon and orange zest and fantastic texture from the chopped walnuts added to the cake batter.

Now it’s your turn, so grab your apron and mixing bowl. It’s time to get baking and come along and join the Matilda Bake Off!

(Serves 10-12)



170g butter (salted or unsalted), softened

150g caster sugar

Zest from one large orange

3 large free-range eggs, at room temperature

120g plain flour

1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 tablespoons milk

125g walnuts, chopped into small pieces

Honey Sugar Syrup: 

175g honey

100g caster sugar

90ml water

Squeeze of fresh orange juice (optional)


  1. To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180°C / 160°C Fan / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper. Grease the base and sides of the tin well with butter and set aside.
  2. Mix together the sugar and orange zest until fragrant – doing this releases the natural oils in the orange. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and orange sugar together until light and fluffy (this should take about 2-3 minutes).
  3. Now add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon and fold through along with the milk. Finally, fold through the walnuts.
  5. Transfer the cake batter to the cake tin. Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester when inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes – in this time you can start preparing the honey sugar syrup for glazing the cake.
  6. To make the honey sugar syrup: Place the honey, sugar, water and orange juice in a small saucepan. Gently simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour the syrup over the cake and leave the cake to cool completely, as it cools the syrup will soak into the cake.
  7. I recommend leaving this cake overnight as it allows the syrup to moisten the cake and the flavour will develop. Once ready to serve, slice up and serve with Greek yoghurt and fresh berries such as blackberries and raspberries.
  8. Cake will store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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28 thoughts on “Honey Walnut Cake

  1. This looks heavenly! I can’t wait to try this. And Matilda was one of my favorites growing up! Chocolate cake is probably what comes to everyone’s mind, but love that you went with Miss Honey 🙂

  2. This cake looks so wholesome and lovely! Good luck with the bake off and thanks for spreading the word – I had no idea that Matilda had been turned into a musical!

    1. Thank you! I’m really excited to be spreading the word for this fantastic bake off competition! I’m excited to see all the creations! 😀 The musical is amazing, I saw it with my family in London last Christmas!

  3. I’ve heard the musical is fantastic! And this cake looks amazing- I loved the book and movie 🙂

  4. Hi there 🙂
    Just came across your blog because this post somehow ended up on my Twitter timeline (I guess re-tweeted by some account related to Matilda or something). Anyway – I’m really hungry and want some cake RIGHT NOW 😀 This one looks and sounds heavenly but I’ve got a few questions (two in fact): Could I also use normal “white” sugar instead of the brown one? And: What on earth is self-raising flour? I live in Germany but I don’t know if that’s the reason why I’ve never heard of that or if I’ve just never come across this before. I guess you don’t need baking powder or something of the like, right? Could I also replace that with “normal” flour and just use baking powder as well? (And maybe you could even tell me how much baking poweder would be required then?)

    There’s so many recipes on here that I’d like to try right away – although I’m usually not the type of person who does a lot of baking. And so many sound so English to me which I love. There’s a definitely a few I’m gonna try. And your photos are all so wonderful and really stimulating my appetite. Great blog! 🙂

    1. Hallo Hannah! I know a little German, as I studied it for a few years at school, but I definitely need more practice! Your English is fab! 😀

      So pleased you like the cake – that makes the really happy to hear! Regarding the ingredients you can definitely sub the brown sugar for the same amount of white sugar.
      Self-raising flour here in the UK is flour with the raising agent (i.e baking powder) already added. But with this recipe you can use the same amount of flour, but you will need to add 2-3 tsp of baking powder.

      I’m really pleased you like the recipes I have posted on my blog so far! That is the best compliment I could ask for!

      Vielen Dank! 😀

      1. Wow, thanks for your quick answer. And also for complimenting my English 😉 It’s my minor subject at university – and also I think it’s easier for us to practise our English than it’s for you with German: I simply watch all films and TV shows in English, that’s really good practice 🙂
        Thanks again and looking forward to even more delicious recipes 😉

  5. Never heard of Matilda the Musical, but if I were Matilda or Miss Honey, I would be definitely excited to have this cake!:) Wait…I’m a Ben, and I would be happy to have it too! I mean, honey and orange zest – who would ever reject a slice, right? Nicely done, Jess!

  6. Sounds like fun! Good luck with the bake off! Competition beware when you enter 😉

    This honey cake looks and sounds just wonderful! I have no doubt you’re going to rock the competition!

  7. What a fun recipe! I am totally digging the combination of flavors you’ve got going on here, Jess. I don’t use honey near enough in my baking…so clearly I need to step up my honey game! I haven’t seen Matilda yet, but I would love to see it sometime. Best of luck in the competition…this cake is a winner in my book! 🙂

  8. I’ve never heard of the musical Matilda, but I know the book well! I’d say good luck in the competition, but with this cake I don’t think you need luck! This looks and sounds absolutely wonderful- a SLAM DUNK winner if you ask me! A honey cake with orange zest and vanilla AND a dollop of Greek yogurt AND a (heavy) dose of sugar glaze has my vote- all day, every day! This is just perfection, Jess! LOVE it! Pinned! Cheers, girlie!

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