/Golden Milk Cake

Golden Milk Cake

We’re changing the tone of things in the kitchen.  Can you feel it?  It feels like we need a different kind of nourishment.  Warming and routine. Roasted and rooted. 

I find myself gravitating towards Golden Milk every autumn and winter.  It’s the drink I stir together when I’ve dimmed the lights in my kitchen to just one – that thing I do to signal to my body that we get to rest soon.  Golden Milk has a lullaby quality while also feeling almost as indulgent as ice cream.  It’s settling. It feels like roots likely because it comes from roots. 

It’s with great affection that I pour my favorite spiced drink over vanilla cake. The cake is concepted like a Tres Leches Cake with less milks and more spice flavor.  Chilled to settle. Swept with lightly whipped cream to serve. 

It’s gentle, and simple, and still feels special.  Here’s how:

I love a humble cake in a square pan.  

It’s not fussy. It’s the sort of cake that sits in the fridge, loosely covered in plastic wrap, visited often with a butter knife as people sneak slivers here and there. 

This is the sort of cake that comes together in one big bowl though the use of exactly one million small bowls of ingredients feels particularly organized and indulgent until it comes time to wash them all.  A little bit of cake mise-en-place helps me safeguard against forgetting the baking soda or double adding the baking soda while forgetting the sugar.  Essentially, I’ll do more dishes for a higher cake success rate.  

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  

Halfway done! (Not really… but essentially.)

Pour sugar into a bowl, dramatically from up high.  

Add melted butter, every bit.  Add a few eggs, too.  

Whisk in the buttermilk creating a creamy, glossy, on-you-way-to-cake mixture. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  

And whisk to a fluffy thickness.  

Whisk until any flour lumps have eased out and the batter is thick and pourable.  

Pour into a greased pan.

And pop that gem in the oven. 

While the cake bakes I mix together the golden milk.  

It’s mostly coconut milk with the support of a dash of heavy cream and a splash of water.

Honey to sweeten. 

Cinnamon and turmeric and a dash of ground ginger too.  I also add a few grinds of black pepper for just the slightest hint of spice. 

The whole mixture is heated gently in a saucepan until just warm and the flavor of the spice has started to bloom.  

Allow the cake to cool for a few (about 15) minutes when it comes out of the oven.  Breathe deeply in the kitchen. It smells like cake.  This is our moment. 

Use a skewer to poke holes in the cake. From top to bottom.  Side to side. 

Slowly pour the warmed golden milk over and into the cake. Slowly to give the cake time to absorb.  The liquid may begin to pool a bit around the edges. That’s ok, just keep it moving. 

I find that this cake is best with a bit of quality time in the refrigerator – overnight to be exact. It helps the liquid absorb and settle into the cake and cools the crumb of the cake.  These will be dense little slices, nice and chill. 

Lightly sweetened and lightly whipped cream.  Spread generously.  

Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and hustle in there for a slice.  

In dense, in that way cake can still be dense and delicious.  It’s moist in that way that you’ll allow.  It’s flavorful and cheeky and it’s cake so CAKE! 


    For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • For the Golden Milk:

  • 1 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • few grinds fresh cracked black pepper
  • For the Topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • finely chopped toasted walnuts for topping


  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square cake pan and lightly dust with flour.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, eggs, and buttermilk. Whisk in the vanilla or almond extract.
  4. Add the buttermilk mixture all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined and no lumps remain. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. While the cake bakes, in a small saucepan, stir together all of the ingredients for the golden milk. Stir until just warm, the honey is dissolved and the spices are distributed throughout. Remove from heat.
  7. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Use a skewer to poke holes into the cake, evenly across the entire top of the cake.
  8. Slowly pour the golden milk mixture over the cake. Allowing it to absorb all over.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature and then cover with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  10. When ready to serve, lightly whip heavy cream, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla. Spread evenly over the cake. Sprinkle the edges with walnuts, slice, and enjoy! Cake will last well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.