Finest Bakes: A Manchester Honey Bee Showstopper

We’ve teamed up with The Food Rubiks to bring you weekly bakes, inspired by The Great British Bake Off but with a very Mancunian twist.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 30 September 2020

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Hey Guys, Sophie here from The Food Rubiks. I’ve teamed up with Manchester’s Finest to bring the Great British Bake Off here to Manchester. Sadly I won’t be baking from the tent but my kitchen was the next best thing. Each week I’ll be creating a new recipe for you guys which will be themed around the official challenges, but of course there will be a Manc spin on things to keep everything close to home.

For episode one we saw ‘cake week’ hit the screens, which covered everything from cake sculptures to the old school Battenberg cake which dates back to the 1880’s, so I thought why not create a Manchester Bee themed showstopper to kick of this new collaboration. As a complete amateur and a new-bee (pun intended) to the baking world, I’ve gone through quite a journey since lockdown hit in March and I’ve probably baked more cakes than you’ve said ‘you’alright mate’ so I’m hoping this means all my recipes are super easy to follow as we’d love to see your #MCRFINESTBAKES creations too.

CAKE WEEK: A Manchester Honey Bee Showstopper
Difficulty level: More effort
Total time: 3 hours
Techniques learned: Honeycomb, candy melt sculptures, cake layers


What you’ll need…



200g self-raising flour
250g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter (at room temp)
20g cocoa powder (gluten free is required)
30g grated milk chocolate (good quality preferred)
4 medium eggs (weighing 250g when scrambled)
1 TBSP baking powder
1 TSP vanilla essence
Extra butter for greasing

X2 8inch loose bottom baking tins
Grease proof paperMedium size boiling pan
Large mixing bowl
Cling film
Cake board (preferable 9-10 inch)



250g unsalted butter at (room temperature)
500g icing sugar
1 TSP yellow food colouring gel
3 TBSP of honey

Large mixing bowl
Electric hand mixer
Plastic spatula
Piping bag + round nozzle



200g caster sugar
5 TBSP golden syrup
2 TSP bicarbonate of soda

20cm square roasting tin
Greaseproof paper to line the tin
Small boiling pan
Wooden spoon



100g yellow candy melts

Microwavable bowl
Small palette knife
Bubble wrap




1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.

2. Lightly butter the baking tins and line with greaseproof paper, making sure the base and sides are completely covered.

3. Break down the butter into small chunks, add this to the boiling pan on a low heat. Don’t let this boil or get too hot. The aim is to melt the butter slowly without it reducing. Stir well to break up. Leave to cool but not solidify.

4. Add the caster sugar, folding until evenly distributed. Next fold in the beaten eggs.

5. In the large mixing bowl add the flour, cocoa powder, shaved chocolate and baking powder. Mix until combined.

6. Pour the pan mixture into the mixing bowl, fold until a thick chocolate batter forms.

7. Split the mixture equally between the two lined baking tins then pop in the oven for around 30-35 minutes total time.

FOOD RUBIKS TOP TIP: don’t open the oven once your cakes are in, this will cause them to sink in the middle. I usually give them a twist round at 28 minutes and check on the progress

Don’t overheat the oven! All ovens are different and if you use yours regularly, you’ll know the situ. I usually pre-heat the oven from when the butter has chilled to room temp as mine gets quite hot

Whilst the cakes are in the oven, give your kitchen the once over and load up the dishwasher (trust me you’ll wanna keep on top of this)

8. Once the cakes are firm to touch on the top and have darkened, leave to cool for around 10 minutes then remove from the cake tins and add to a cooling rack until they’re at room temp. Wrap in cling film and pop them in the fridge



1. Line the baking tin with the greaseproof paper, if you don’t have a square tin you can pad out a rectangle tin with tin foil. Over a gentle heat, add the caster sugar and golden syrup to the pan until the sugar grains have disappeared. Be careful not to let the mixture bubble.

2. Once melted, turn up the heat a little and simmer until the mixture turns an amber colour – this should only take a few minutes. As quickly as you can, turn off the heat and add in the bicarbonate of soda stirring with a wooden spoon until it’s all combined and the mixture is foaming. Carefully scrape (the mixture will be hot) into the lined baking tin and leave to cool for around 1-1.5 hours until the honeycomb is hard. Brake into different size chunks and leave to decorate



1. Pop the candy melts into a microwavable bowl, melt in short bursts until fully disintegrated. Pour onto the bubble wrap and spread evenly with the palette knife. Pop in the fridge for around 30 minutes until set. Smash into pieces and leave to one side to decorate



1. Add the icing sugar and butter to a large mixing bowl along with the honey, using an electric hand mixer beat until the buttercream is fully combine and changed to a light cream colour. You can also add a few TBP of boiling water if you feel the mixture is too thick. Using a plastic spatula, add in yellow food colouring until evenly disturbed. Pop the nozzle into the piping bag, add the honey buttercream.

2. Once the cake is chilled, remove from the fridge and cut each layer in half evenly. Keep the two bottom sections for the base and the top so these are nice and flat. Begin to stack each layer sandwiched between the honey buttercream. Coat the top and outer sides thinly (it’s fine if the cake is visible). Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to form a ‘crumb coat’.

3. Once the cake is cool to touch, using the piping bag cover the sides and top then smooth with the palette knife. Remove any excess that comes off in-between. Always go back to the cake with a clean palette knife to avoid any lumps and bumps. When you get to the top of the cake, leave this as it is so it creates a raw edge.

FOOD RUBIKS TOP TIP: Keep a large bowl of boiling water handy and dip palette knife in to heat up and wipe dry every now and then, this melts the buttercream so you’ll be left with a smoother finish

4. Now you can add your honeycomb and hive walls, fixing them in place with the leftover buttercream. Finish off the cake with some edible gold dust, crushed biscuits (I used Lotus Biscoff) and some fondant bees if you fancy it.

And that’s it guys, my first recipe for Manchester’s Finest and the first bake for our ‘Finest Bakes’ collaboration. Hit us up if you try this recipe, I’d love to see your posts on Instagram! Tag @thefoodrubiks and @mcrfinest in your pictures.

Stay tuned for more bakes and cakes over the coming weeks…

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