Orange Ginger Honey Cakes

Three orange cakes on cutting board wrapped with greenery.

Honey Cakes flavored with orange, ginger, and brown butter are moist without becoming dense. Many cakes sweetened with honey can become heavy or overly saturated, but these mini ginger loaves are perfectly soft. I suggest eating them warm with a butter spread!

My mother is the quintessential southern lady who gives baked goods as gifts for holidays, birthdays, new neighbors, and special occasions. She doesn’t just throw them in a tupperware or wrap a cake in aluminum foil, no she packages them with class and decorations. I wish I could say the same for my giveaway bakes, but I have yet to receive any complaints.

I’ve seen my mother bake eight cakes, decorate them with icing, berries, holly leaves, and then individually wrap in clear plastic adorned with homemade bows. She then delivers them door to door with a smile and genuine excitement. We should all be lucky enough to receive one of her baking gifts.

Orange cakes being wrapped with string and greenery.

On the other hand, if you live next to me you might receive a half layered cake, several slices of pie, or an extra pan of brownies. Since I’m always recipe testing, photographing, and making food, leftovers are plentiful. I’ve even told neighbors to just bring over empty plates for me to fill with pie and cookies. Everyone seems happy, preventing me from eating all the goodies myself!

Now, back to the honey cakes. I chose to bake mini cakes for gifting to friends. (Don’t be to harsh on my simple holiday packaging.) Using winter flavors of browned butter, ginger, and orange create a rich cozy sensation. A bit different than your typical spice cake, but perfect for a chilly morning or evening treat by the fire.

I suggest you bake all four, wrap up three as gifts, and save the fourth for yourself!

What is Browned Butter?

Brown butter is made by cooking unsalted butter until the milk solids turn a medium brown color. This process cooks out any of the water in the butter resulting in a rich nutty or toasty flavor. A great technique for adding more depth to your baked goods.

To make brown butter (also called beurre noisette), simply place your butter in a light colored skillet so you can see the color change and cook on medium heat. First the butter will start to foam as it melts, then it will slowly change from a golden hue to a darker more toasty brown color. It should start to give off a nutty aroma as it browns.

Remove your brown butter from the heat and put in heat safe bowl to let it cool. Make sure not to overcook your butter to a dark brown almost black.

Can I bake this recipe in a large loaf pan?

In short, yes you can convert this recipe to one large banana bread size loaf by using a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan. The only change will be the baking time. Increase your baking time to 40-45 minutes and check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If the toothpick comes out dry with only a few small crumbs, your honey cake is baked.

Orange ginger cakes on table wrapped in twine and greenery.
Hands holding a honey mini cake wrapped for Christmas.

Tips for Orange Ginger Honey Cakes:

  • Make sure to use brown butter for a nice nutty flavor addition.
  • Use fresh squeezed orange juice and fresh orange zest.
  • Use local honey to help build you immunity.
  • Place your mini cake pans on a cookie sheet in the oven.
  • Use four 6 inch mini loaf pans. Try these mini loaf pans.
  • Halfway through baking, lightly cover your row of cake pans with a sheet of aluminum foil. This will prevent the tops from over browning. The moist cake batter takes a but longer to fully bake through the center.
  • Check each cake with a toothpick for crumbs to conclude completely bakes through.
  • Let your cakes cool before removing from pans.
  • Serve with butter spread or mix additional brown butter and honey for a drizzle!
Three orange cakes on cutting board wrapped with greenery.
5 from 4 votes

Orange Ginger Honey Cakes

Orange Ginger Honey Cakes made with brown butter, orange juice, orange zest, fresh honey, and ground ginger. Rich Holiday cakes to give as gifts!
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword ginger, honey cake, orange
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 mini loaves


  • 2 Cups (250 g) All Purpose Flour
  • 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Orange Zest
  • 8 Tbsp Unsalted Butter browned
  • 3/4 Cup (270 g) Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup (125 ml) Whole Milk
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/4 Cup ( 50 g) Granulated Sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F (163 C) and prepare four 6 inch mini loaf pans. (spray with non-stick spray or a thin coating of butter and flour.)

  2. In a medium bowl, hand whisk together sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and orange zest.

  3. Brown your butter by placing in a small skillet on medium heat. Stir until butter is melted. Continue to stir and heat until butter is foamy and brownish in color.
  4. Pour brown butter into bowl of stand mixer.

  5. Add honey, orange juice, milk, sugar, and slightly beaten eggs.

  6. Mix on medium with paddle attachment until smooth.
  7. Slowly spoon in flour mixture on medium speed until a cake batter is formed. (scrape sides and bottom of bowl to incorporate all ingredients.
  8. Divide batter amongst the four pans.
  9. Place pans on cookie sheet and bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (cover loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil halfway through baking.)

  10. Place pans on cooling rack to completely cool before removing.
  11. Eat and enjoy!


  • Reply
    Maria Ladwig
    December 4, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    I do not buy almond milk. Does regular milk change the sweetness level of the bread? Could it be substituted?
    I am excited to try these for Christmas.

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 6:58 am

      I use unsweetened almond milk, so substituting regular milk should be fine:)

      • Reply
        December 20, 2019 at 10:12 am

        The recipe states to use whole milk. If I used almond milk, would it still be half a cup?

        • Reply
          December 21, 2019 at 1:49 pm

          Yes you can swap whole milk for almond milk with same measurement.

      • Reply
        Sidney Jo
        December 31, 2019 at 11:16 am

        I’m excited to try this recipe and I notice it doesn’t call for any salt, which I’ve never tried before! With all the glowing reviews I would guess there’s no lack of flavor, but any thoughts?

        • Reply
          December 31, 2019 at 11:34 am

          Hi Sidney! I felt the flavor was fine, if you would like to add some start with 1/8 to 1/4 tsp and see what you like:)

  • Reply
    December 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    I do not have mini loaf pans. How would you adjust baking a full loaf?

    • Reply
      December 5, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      Honey cakes can be more dense, so I love baking in smaller cake pans. You can use a regular loaf pan, but will take longer to bake all the way through. Make sure to check with a toothpick.

      • Reply
        March 13, 2020 at 8:36 pm

        I was about to ask the same question, but considering your answer, how would I adjust the time for a large muffin pan? I know I can pretty much eyeball it oh, but I thought I’d ask. Also, would you change the temperature?

  • Reply
    December 11, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Is there some reason I couldn’t make these much smaller… like using a madeleines pan? I’m wanting to try something different for a batch or two and these sound amazing!

    • Reply
      December 13, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      I can’t say for sure, since I haven’t tried it. But let me know if you do!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    5 stars
    Hi Jenn,

    I have made these twice now & LOVE them! I have given out a few of them as little gifts. I am looking at switching up the flavors but keeping the core of the recipe as it works so well. I do have one question, how are you using/incorporating the 1/4c of sugar? Is it in the loaf or are you using as a dusting on the top? Thanks for the

    • Reply
      December 13, 2018 at 4:23 pm

      yay!! so glad to hear you’re loving them! Would love to hear what other flavors you choose:)

  • Reply
    December 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    5 stars
    Sorry Jenn, I see now where the sugar is…. sorry!

  • Reply
    Lisa Baird
    December 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    5 stars
    These little cakes are a winner, winner, chicken dinner! I followed the recipe as written but did substitute non fat dairy milk for the almond milk. They are appropriately called ‘cakes’ as that’s what they are with a tender crumb, subtle flavors, and especially tasty with butter. I will be making another batch.

  • Reply
    December 20, 2018 at 1:24 am

    can I substitute honey for sugar?

    • Reply
      December 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Hi Aadiba! I would try replacing the 3/4 Cup of Honey with 1 cup of sugar and an additional 1/4 cup of the Almond Milk. Let me know how it goes.

  • Reply
    December 26, 2018 at 3:41 am

    looks and sounds delicious! making idea great

  • Reply
    Shelly Mitchell
    July 14, 2019 at 6:19 pm

    5 stars
    I made these this morning and they were so good. I recently got the Nordic Ware mini beehives pan and wanted a honey cake to make in them. This was perfect. I added an extra tablespoon of oj, replaced the dry ingredients with Kodiak Cakes buttermilk and Chia mix and replaced the butter with greek yogurt. I’ll be making these again. Thanks

  • Reply
    Kate Lundberg
    September 29, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    5 stars
    I live in Beijing, China where it can be difficult to find normal Western ingredients. When I came across this recipe last weekend I knew I had everything for it and I was SO eager to make them! I borrowed a mini loaf pan from a friend and baked the rest of the batter in a pie plate which turned out very much like a regular cake, so I’ll be making an orange flavored cream cheese frosting or glaze for it. Like some of the other commenters have said, I also added some extra fresh-squeezed orange juice to boost that delicious citrus flavor. I also used regular cow’s milk rather than almond milk. I’m planning (way ahead) to make these again for Christmas morning breakfast!

    • Reply
      September 30, 2019 at 8:23 am

      oh wow!! So glad you enjoyed them Kate!! Thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    September 30, 2019 at 5:15 am

    5 stars
    Delicious – baked for 30 minutes and they were lovely. Definitely spread with butter. wrapped and decorated as per your picture and they were a hit. Gave them to each family at our Rosh Hashana dinner.

    • Reply
      September 30, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Yay!! So glad you enjoyed:)

  • Reply
    October 9, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Wow! I love homemade cakes and this looks delicious. I’ll definitely try this out

  • Reply
    October 28, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Do you think it would be possible to substitute the ginger for another spice? And if so, which one would you recommend? I have a friend who despises ginger to her very core, but I think these loaves would be such a charming gift!

    • Reply
      October 28, 2019 at 8:50 am

      Hi Ash! Try using Nutmeg instead 🙂

  • Reply
    November 1, 2019 at 7:42 am

    Hey, can I deduct the orange juice?

    • Reply
      November 1, 2019 at 11:11 am

      You can substitute for lemon juice or water 🙂

  • Reply
    November 1, 2019 at 8:49 am

    So I want to make this cake for my exam tomorrow, but I just want to do a ginger honey cake, what should I do about the orange juice?

    • Reply
      November 1, 2019 at 11:10 am

      Hi You can substitute with lemon juice 🙂 the acidity is what helps make the texture of the cake.

      • Reply
        November 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm

        5 stars
        Hey, so I tried it and it worked pretty well, I also flavoured the recipe with tea and frosted it with lemon cream cheese icing.
        It was a hit and was really appreciated by all the chefs at my school.

        • Reply
          November 8, 2019 at 8:21 am

          So glad you liked it! Lemon icing sounds fabulous!

  • Reply
    Jennifer B
    December 22, 2019 at 9:09 am

    So I’m confused you say to prepare 6 loaf pans, then you say to fill 4 pans, I only had enough batter for 3. What did I do wrong. I specifically got the 6in mini loaf pans for this recipe.

    • Reply
      December 22, 2019 at 9:00 pm

      Hi, I’m not sure where it says 6 loaf pans. The recipe is to divide the batter evenly between four ‘6 inch’ mini loaf pans.

      • Reply
        Jennifer Bruns
        December 24, 2019 at 9:26 am

        Oh Lordy you are right it says 4 6 inch pans, excuse my confusion. It’s the holidays lol. I still only had enough batter for 3. Any recommendations for high altitude?

  • Reply
    January 13, 2020 at 7:12 pm

    I don’t own a mixmaster with a paddle attachment. How can I mix this otherwise and for how long?

    • Reply
      January 14, 2020 at 4:30 pm

      Do you have a hand mixer?

  • Reply
    March 19, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Is it possible for me to substitute the eggs with something else?

    • Reply
      March 19, 2020 at 11:59 am

      Have you ever used flax eggs?

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