Cakes Painting By Wayne Thiebaud | Photo By Sarah Kieffer
I first discovered Wayne Thiebaud’s painting Cakes at Zoe’s house. She has a small print hanging in her kitchen, and I find myself drawn to it each time I go visit her. It’s simple but beautiful, and I’m often questioning the cakes as I study them. Are you all just chocolate and vanilla, or is there a carrot cake in there, too? Maybe even pumpkin? Is that lemon curd on top down front, or did someone get crazy with the food coloring? What kind are you, little cake peeking out from the side? Why is only one cake cut into way in the back row? Zoe and I have chatted about the piece over the years, and finally came up with a project that has been starring us in the face: baking through Thiebaud’s Cakes. We’ll be starting the series later this summer, so stay tuned.
Cakes Painting By Wayne Thiebaud | Photo By Sarah Kieffer

Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

wayne thiebaud

Crafted Honey | Photo by Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog
I finally purchased a print of Cakes for myself (details below), and it is now hanging proudly in my kitchen. I still find myself questioning each and every cake on a weekly basis, and it’s spurred on some delicious conversation between friends and family alike.

But! I have a non-Thiebaud dessert for you today. Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream. Crafted Honey, a small batch, family-run company sent me some samples a few weeks ago, and I thought adding it to a layer cake would be a good idea. Turns out it was. The honey flavor really shines through, and kept the cake moist a little longer than a butter cake normally does. I used the Wildflower Honey in the cake, but also highly recommend the Sourwood Honey, which I want to pour on everything and I daily eat directly off my spoon.
Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream | Sarah Kieffer | The Vanilla Bean Blog
Honey Cake with Caramel Buttercream

2 1/2 cups (355g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (227g) unsalted butter at room temperature (about 70 degrees)
1 1/2 cups (297) granulated sugar
1/2 cup honey (I used Wildflower honey from Crafted)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans (make sure cake pans are at least 2-inches tall). Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans (if you need a visual on this step, here is a You Tube video that is helpful).

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle, beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar, and beat again until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the honey, beating on medium until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla, and mix until combined. Beat the batter again at medium speed for one minute.

Using a spatula, fold in the flour mixture and the buttermilk  in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Divide batter evenly among the prepared cake pans and bake 22-30 minutes, or until set in the center and a cake tester comes out clean. Move the pans to a wire rack and let cool

Caramel Buttercream
I used Zoe’s Swiss Buttercream Recipe, and added about 1/2 cup of caramel sauce to it at the end, along with the vanilla. I cheated and used store-bought caramel. It still tasted delicious.

I found a large print of Thiebaud’s Cakes from the National Gallery of Art. It was almost impossible to find a white frame big enough for that particular size print, and Frame It Easy kindly sent me a custom built frame. It came quickly, well packaged, and fits perfectly. If you are in need of your own custom frame, Frame It Easy is offering 10% off through the end of 2016 with the code VANILLABEANBLOG.
Cakes Painting By Wayne Thiebaud | Photo By Sarah Kieffer
(I was sent products from both Crafted and Frame It Easy, but as always, all opinions are my own.)

  • Reply
    Monday, July 25, 2016 at 11:19 am

    i was unable to find the print on the link you provided – can you tell me exactly how to order one? Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Saturday, July 23, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Love Wayne Thiebaud and as soon as I saw his iconic picture I knew something wonderful was about to happen. You working your way through his dream-cake wonderland is match made in heaven. Brilliant idea! Can’t wait to follow along… 🙂

  • Reply
    Abby | Lace & Lilacs
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Oh, how beautiful!

  • Reply
    Jessie Snyder | Faring Well
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

    I love this cake poster and how it makes your scope for imagination run wild. Cannot wait to see this little series you guys are whipping up, and goodness does this cake sound scrumptious! xx

  • Reply
    Leslie Levy
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Love this! Can’t wait for the series. I’ve always loved the print. There’s also a jigsaw puzzle of the print and it was a challenging and fun puzzle!

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Re: The cut cake in the back row – some bakeries sell 1/2 cakes and that’s what that one looks like. It might even be a Honey Cake like yours 🙂
    That offer from Frame It Easy is very generous – you don’t often see a deal that’s good for over five months!

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    Monday, July 18, 2016 at 10:53 am

    Oh my goodness this cake sounds amazing, and it is as gorgeous as ever. You’re such a cake queen! The idea for this cake series is AMAZING, and I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with. As an artist and cake lover I’ve obviously always enjoyed his paintings as well.

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