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Home / The Perennial Test Kitchen / Kernza® Cake with Milk & Honey Buttercream
Kernza® Cake with Milk & Honey Buttercream

Kernza® Cake with Milk & Honey Buttercream

One double-Layered 9” cake


  • Prep: 35 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hr, 10 min.
  • Assembly: 15 min.
  • Total: 2 Hours


  • Stand Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • 9" Round Cake Pan
  • Parchment Paper
  • Non Stick Spray
  • Rubber Spatula


  • 3 ¾ Cup (345g, 12.12oz.) Kernza
  • 2 ½ Cup (330g, 11.64oz.) Sugar
  • 6 ea. (300g, 10.58oz.) Large Eggs
  • 3 Sticks (338g., 11.9oz.) Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup (240g, 8.47oz.) Whole Milk
  • 1.5 Tsp (8.5g., 0.3oz.) Coarse Salt
  • 1.5 Tsp (5.4g., 0.19oz.) Baking Powder
  • 2 Tsp (9.5g., 0.33oz.) Vanilla Extract
Milk & Honey Buttercream
  • 2 Sticks (226g., 7.97oz.) Unsalted Butter
  • 3 ½ Cups (450g., 15.87oz.) Confectioners Sugar (sifted)
  • 3 Tbsp. (67.5g., 2.38oz.) Honey
  • 2 Tbsp. (30g., 1oz.) Whole Milk
  • ½ Tsp (2g., 0.07oz.) Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Tsp (3g., 0.1oz.) Coarse Salt

You don’t need to have a celebration scheduled to enjoy this cake. Just have it for dessert...tonight. It’s good. Our Milk & Honey Buttercream frosting will do wonders for you, but honestly, the cake itself will work well with any topping. 

Pro tip: A ⅔ batch of cake batter will yield about a dozen cupcakes if that’s your thing.



**For both the cake and buttercream, bring all ingredients to room temperature**

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Add the butter to the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, and whip on high for five minutes
    1. The butter will become pale and fluffy
  3. While the butter is whipping, combine the milk, vanilla extract, and salt, and whisk until the salt has dissolved. Additionally, combine the flour and baking powder, and whisk again. 
  4. When the butter has finished whipping, turn the paddle speed down to medium or med./low, and add the eggs one at a time. Each egg should be fully incorporated before adding the next one. 
    1. It helps to increase the speed for a few seconds after each egg has been added. 
  5. Once the eggs are incorporated, turn the paddle speed to low, and begin adding the flour and milk mixture:
    1. Start with a portion of the flour, then add a portion of the milk mixture. Repeat this process, alternating back and forth, roughly three times. 
    2. The number of additions is less important than making sure you begin and end with adding flour.
  6. Pour the batter into a parchment lined, non-stick-sprayed 9” cake pan, and bake at 325 degrees for one hour and ten minutes. Let cool completely before using. 
    1. If you are making this a day ahead, once cooled, remove the cake from the pan, wrap in plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator.  
Buttercream Frosting
  1. Place the butter and honey in the stand mixer bowl, and whip on high speed for five minutes. 
  2. Decrease the speed to low, and add half of the sifted confectioners sugar. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, and the mixture is smooth, add the remaining portion of sugar, and continue mixing until it is fully incorporated, and the mixture, again, is smooth. 
  3. Combine the milk, salt, and vanilla extract, and stir until the salt has dissolved. 
  4. Increase the paddle speed to medium, and slowly drizzle in the milk mixture. 
  5. Continue mixing until everything is combined. 
  6. If you plan on storing the buttercream, keep it in an airtight container at room temperature. 
To Assemble
  1. Trim the edges and top of the cake with a sharp or serrated knife. Trim the top portion so it is level, and no longer mounded. 
  2. Slice the cake in half horizontally to make a top and bottom portion. 
  3. On the surface of the bottom portion, spread a healthy amount of the buttercream. Aim for equal to or just less than a centimeter. 
  4. Place the other half of the cake on top of the coated layer, add another healthy portion of frosting, and begin to spread a very thin layer of it all around the cake. This is the “crumb layer,” and it should act as an adhesive to all of the loose crumbs ensuring they will not be seen in the final coating of butter cream. 
  5. Once you have completed the crumb layer, add the rest of the buttercream, and spread it evenly across the entire surface of the cake.


Jun 07, 2021 • Posted by Joe

Hey everyone, sorry for the late responses here!

Ed – I found a website that lays out high altitude adjustments very well. Living in Minnesota, however, I have not had a chance to test them myself, so I cannot say how well they actually work. Here is the link: https://www.wheatmontana.com/content/high-altitude-baking-how-make-your-recipes-work-mountains

As for healthier substitutions, try Stevia or coconut sugar for a sugar replacement. For eggs: Flaxseed can be used. I believe 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water allowed to sit for 5 minutes can replace one egg. However, I would suggest not substituting all of the eggs with flaxseed. It may also be a good idea to add enough of the flaxseed mixture to mimic the weight of its equivalent in eggs i.e. 50 grams of egg (one egg), 50 grams of flaxseed mixture.

As for butter, I think shortening would be fine, although I’m not sure that is considered healthier than good butter.

Good luck, and thanks for your feedback!

Presian – We designed the recipe to eliminate sifting as a necessity, so no need to sift! Should you want to try sifting anyway, please let us know how it turns out!

Thank you!

Sherry – You’re right! we forgot to add the milk measurements. The recipe calls for 1 cup (240 grams, 8.47oz.) of whole milk. Thank you for bringing this up!

Jun 02, 2021 • Posted by Sherry

Is something missing? The ingredients for the cake do not include milk, but the instructions call for alternating milk and flour mixture. How much for the cake?

Apr 26, 2021 • Posted by kathy

more than a pound of butter used here, half a dozen eggs.
perhaps a recipe for my grandmother when she was feeding
farm hands during 1920 wheat harvest. note thats 1920.

my suggestion to Ed. K. who commented above is using Kernza to
replace increments of white four, 20-25%, in quickbreads such as
banana bread or cornbread, and in pie crust this still rolls out well
and has appealing freckles. plus you get that kernza aroma without
the cholesterol load. next I will try it in gingerbread.

Apr 26, 2021 • Posted by Presian

Do you recommend sifting the Kernza flour?

Apr 26, 2021 • Posted by Ed Katzenberger

Any suggestions on adapting the recipe to high altitudes? I’m at 5,000 feet. Any adjustments/replacements for folks who are watching sugar and cholesterol intake? Thanks!

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