Bonfire Cake

Go big, or go home with this absolutely ridiculous cake! For a mini baking competition at work couple of years ago, I wanted to come up with something that reflected an Autumn/Bonfire Night theme, and this behemoth was born.

A yummy maple and pecan sponge cake with a maple mascarpone topping is a lovely, fairly light(!?), treat on it’s own.

But for an excessively decadent messy treat, have a go at whipping up some toppings and create a bonfire-like effect with shards of chocolatey honeycomb, spicy apple crisps and caramelised pecans. If you can get hold of it, I recommend making use of smoked sugar which really adds to the overall bonfire effect in taste and aroma.

The honeycomb recipe makes a lot of honeycomb – pile it all up on your cake, or keep some aside to enjoy a homemade honeycomb chocolate bar whenever you fancy.

~Jo Eats!

Bonfire Cake

Bonfire Cake

Go big or go home with this ridiculous cake! A yummy maple and pecan cake, loaded with seasonal honeycomb and other goodies.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Cake, Dessert
Servings 8


Pecan and Maple Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

  • 115 g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 115 g Unsalted Butter softened
  • 2 Eggs large
  • 115 g Sugar golden caster
  • 7 tbsp Maple Syrup 1 tbsp for cake mix, 6 tbsp for frosting
  • 50 g Pecans
  • 250g Mascarpone

Spiced Apple Crisps

  • 1 Granny Smith Apple or other apple of your choice
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon ground

Chocolate Honeycomb

  • 200 g Sugar golden caster
  • 5 tbsp Golden Syrup
  • 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 50 g Dark Chocolate
  • Butter for greasing

Smoked Sugar Caramelised Pecans

  • 100 g Pecans
  • 2 tbsp Smoked Sugar regular sugar fine!
  • 1 tbsp Butter


Pecan and Maple Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

  • Pre heat the oven to 170°c. Grease and line the base of two 20cm diameter baking tins.
    Greased baking pan
  • Finely chop the pecan nuts and pop them in a bowl so they're on standby. If prefer you a finer mix you can blitz them in a food processor.
    Chopped nuts
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, butter, sugar and one tbsp of maple syrup. Whisk with an electric hand whisk to a smooth consistency and then carefully fold through the chopped nuts.
    Cake batter with nuts
  • Split the mix between the two baking tins and gently level off. The mix will seem quite scant as this creates fairly thin cakes – the excessive amount of topping makes up for it!
    Cake batter with nuts
  • Pop the cakes in the centre of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye out towards the end of baking: they'll be done when you press lightly with a finger and it bounces back. Alternatively, a skewer will come out clean when pressed into the cake.
    Skewer and cake
  • Leave the cakes to cool completely before icing.
    Plain baked cake layer
  • When ready to ice, simply mix the mascarpone with the remaining 6 tbsp of maple syrup to a smooth consistency – it will look weird at first but persevere! Split the icing between both cake layers and pop one on top of the other.
    Iced cake layers

Spiced Apple Crisps

  • Heat oven to 160°c and put some baking parchment on a large baking tray.
  • Core and finely slice apples – don't bother peeling – and place on the tray. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon – or other favourite spice – and place in the oven.
    Sliced apples with cinnamon
  • These need to dry out slowly and will need up to 45 minutes. The thinner you manage to slice the apple, the less time the crisps will need. Gradually remove the slices as they start to brown and crisp.
    Apple crisps

Chocolate Honeycomb

  • Put some baking parchment on a large baking tray and have it on standby near the hob. You do need to keep an eye on this at all times.
  • Put the sugar, golden syrup and 2 tbsp of water in a large, roomy saucepan. This is important as the mixture will puff up during the later stages. Place the pan on the hob at a low temp and heat gently until the sugar melts into the syrup.
    Melted butter and syrup mixture
  • Increase the heat till the mixture bubbles and you have an amber caramel. VERY carefully – as the mixture will puff up – and quickly, tip in the bicarbonate of soda and beat in with a wooden spoon until it has incorporated.
  • Tip the mixture out on to the baking parchment lined baking tray. It should level itself out quite thinly, which is great for this recipe to help create honeycomb shards. Leave to cool.
    Syrup mixture cooling
  • Prepare a double boiler: place a small saucepan on the hob at a low heat with a small amout of water in the bottom. Place a bowl on top of the pan. Put the chocolate into the bowl and allow it to gently melt.
  • Crack the honeycomb into shards and dip the edges into the chocolate then leave to cool.
    Chocolate dipped honeycomb

Caramelised Pecans

  • Heat the butter and sugar in a frying pan on the hob and stir in the nuts. Tip out on to some baking parchment and cool.

Assembling the Final Cake

  • Do what you want with this, but I like doing it this way!
  • Arrange the caramlised pecans on the cake.
    Pecans on cake
  • Layer up the honeycomb shards so they start to look like flames from a bonfire.
    Bonfire cake with shards of honeycomb
  • Dot the apple crisps in and around the honeycomb, like Autumn leaves.
    Bonfire cake with apples
  • Done! Demolish and eat!


The cake is lovely on it’s own; pick and choose the embellishments as you like, or have a go at adding your own variations. Plum crisps would be particularly nice.
Keyword Apple, Cake, Honeycomb, Maple Syrup, Pecans
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