Farm-Fresh Milk and Honey Cake

Martha Foose shares a recipe from Loblolly Bakery, her soon-to-open storefront in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Photo: Laurel Rowell

When the esteemed pastry chef Martha Foose relocated from her native Mississippi Delta to the city of Hattiesburg to open a bakery, she reveled in a new crop of local growers to inform her classic and Southern-inspired desserts. This sweet, simple offering is no exception. “We are lucky enough to have a couple of family-run dairies in our area,” she says of the milk that lends the cake its rich flavor and moist crumb. “Our beekeeper friends keep us supplied with honey collected from the gorgeous peach tree blossoms and blackberry blooms raised in the rolling hills down here in Mississippi’s Pine Belt.” 

Wherever you source your milk, she recommends making it full fat and giving it a good shake before measuring. For a finishing touch, add a drizzle of local honey, a sprinkle of edible flowers, and dollops of whipped heavy cream. 

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  • Francesca’s Milk and Honey Cake (Yield: One 8x8-inch square cake)

    • ½ cup whole milk

    • ½ cup honey

    • 2 cups cake flour

    • 2½ tsp. baking powder

    • ½ tsp. fine sea salt

    • ½ cup (1 stick) room-temperature unsalted butter

    • ½ cup granulated unrefined cane sugar

    • 2 large eggs

    • Additional honey, whipped heavy cream, and edible flowers for garnish, if desired


  1. Arrange a baking rack to the center position in your oven and heat to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan.

  2. In a small bowl, combine your milk and honey. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt, and set both bowls aside.

  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until creamy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat for 4 minutes more or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, letting the first fully incorporate before adding the next. 

  4. Turn the speed to low and alternately add the milk mixture and the flour mixture. Beat just until your batter is smooth.

  5. Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and bake on the center rack of the oven at 350°F for 50 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched lightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

  6. Drizzle with additional honey and fancy it up with fresh edible flowers and dollops of whipped cream, if desired.