Featured in Fresh Chefs, a collection of recipes from the 4-H family

About the Activity

“Southern-style “sock-it-to-me” coffee cake is moist, buttery, and laced with cinnamon and pecans. When I was boxing, I often had to give up dessert for weeks before a fight for mental toughness and in order to make weight. After every fight, there would be a fresh-baked cake in my dressing room waiting for me to slice into.

A slice of this all-natural, gluten-free Bundt cake reveals a tempting cinnamon-nut filling, lovely moist texture, and warming cinnamon, cardamom, and honey flavors. It has always been one of my favorite desserts, and I am excited to share it with you!”

Grade Level: 1-8
Topic: Food Science, Food Safety

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Servings: 8

Submitted by Laila Ali, Cookbook Author, TV Host, Former Boxing Champion and Creator of Laila Ali Lifestyle

Sock-it-to-me Honey Cake recipe from Laila Ali

Supplies and Ingredients
Gather the following ingredients and supplies for this activity.


  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend, such as Steve’s GF Cake Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • Pinch of sea salt


  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free flour blend, such as Steve’s GF Cake Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dark chocolate
supply list icon

Activity Steps


  1. In a small bowl, combine the pecans, sugar, gluten-free flour, cinnamon, butter, and salt.
  2. Rub the ingredients between your fingers until the mixture is well blended and set aside.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly butter a 12-cup nonstick Bundt-style pan or 9-inch tube pan.
  1. Sift the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground chia seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt into a large bowl.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, honey, and sugar on medium-high speed until the ingredients are lightened in color, about 4 minutes. The raw sugar will break down, but some sugar granules will remain; this is okay. Add 1 egg and beat for 30 seconds, turn the mixer off, and scrape down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining eggs one at a time, beating on medium-high speed for 1 minute after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat briefly to incorporate. Turn off the mixer and thoroughly scrape down the bowl, then beat again for 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the mixer off, add one-third of the flour mixture, and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add one-third of the yogurt and mix on low speed until combined. Continue to alternately add the dry ingredients and the yogurt, mixing each until well blended before adding the next addition. When the ingredients have all been added, turn the mixer off, scrape down the bowl and paddle, and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.
  4. Scoop half the batter into the prepared cake pan and, using a small metal spatula, evenly distribute the batter to the edges of the pan and smooth the surface. Using a butter knife or metal spoon, scrape a ½-inch-deep circular indentation into the center of the batter and sprinkle the nut-sugar filling onto the batter. There will be lots of filling, but this is okay. Top the filling with the remaining batter and, using the metal spatula, smooth the top so it’s level. Use the spatula to dip into the center of the cake and run a single wavy line through the batter to distribute the filling, then smooth the top so it’s level again.
  5. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Release the cake from the pan by flipping it upside down onto the rack. Set the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let the cake cool completely.
  6. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir the chocolate often, using a rubber spatula until it has fully melted, then use a large spoon to scoop up the chocolate and drizzle it over the cooled cake.
  7. Serve the cake immediately or wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month. Let the cake come to room temperature or wrap in aluminum foil and heat in a preheated 350°F oven for 10 minutes before serving.
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