Sunday, 9 August 2009

Honey and spice cake

The CCBF (Caked Crusader’s Boyfriend) and I recently had a lovely day out at Hever Castle. Whilst browsing in the gift shop (I have never grown out of my passion for gift shops – often the best bit of the trip!) I came across this jar of locally made honey. I think the bees must be very happy working in the beautiful Kent countryside and you can taste their contentment in the honey – it had a delicate flavour and was the colour of amber (insert joke here about amber nectar. For those not au fait with the adverts, it was always how Foster’s lager was described).

The honey comes from Beult House Bees:

Often, honey is used in cake as a background flavour but, for such special honey, I wanted it to take the main role – hence this honey and spice cake. Now in terms of look I accept that it’s rather a plain Jane but it really packs in the flavour.

I teamed it with a white icing which also uses honey. I’ve only ever made white icing with water and a dash of vanilla before, but this one uses mostly honey and a dash of water to get it to the right consistency. The flavour was beautiful – very subtle but noticeable.

The cake has a light, crumbly texture and I really enjoyed the addition of giant raisins. They were called “jumbo golden raisins” and I bought them in Brindisa, an enticing Spanish food shop in Borough Market. The raisins were at least three times the size of an ordinary raisin and burst with juice when bitten into. In this photo you will spot a raisin in front of the slice of cake – yes, that’s ONE raisin!!!


For the cake:
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
75g golden caster sugar
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 egg
75g clear honey, at room temperature so it’s nice and runny
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons cold water
75g sultanas, raisins or mixed peel

For the icing:
175g icing sugar
3 tablespoons clear honey, at room temperature so it’s nice and runny
Hot water

To decorate: crystallised ginger batons

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan oven 150°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.

- Line the bottom of a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

- Combine the flour, spice and sugar into a bowl and stir so well combined.

- Rub the butter, in small pieces, into the dry ingredients until you have breadcrumbs. I found that, if adding the butter a little at a time, you can do this using a handheld or stand mixer.

- Mix in the egg followed by the honey.

- In a small bowl combine the bicarbonate of soda with the water and stir until dissolved.

- Pour into the cake batter and mix in thoroughly.

- Stir in the sultanas/raisins or mixed peel.

- Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface, and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took exactly 50 minutes. The cake will have risen but not dramatically so.

- Leave to cool on a wire rack.

- When completely cool you can make the icing: sift the icing sugar into a large bowl then beat in the honey.

- Add enough hot water to get a shiny white glossy icing – not too runny but runny enough to spread and cover the cake with. Add the hot water sparingly as it’s easy to add too much.

- Place a sheet of clingfilm on your work top and place a wire rack over it. Put the cake on the rack and pour the icing over the cake. Let it run down the sides and cover as much of the cake as possible. The clingfilm will catch any drips and saves you having to sponge down the work top afterwards – simply throw it away.

- Decorate as you wish – I used crystallised ginger batons.

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Yankee in England said...

Gift shops are the best parts of trips, I get so excited as you come to the end of the tour and you know it is almost time for the gift shop! Cake looks scrumptious!

pigpigscorner said...

Sounds like a great use of the honey! Plan to visit Kent this coming bank holiday, hope I can get some of that honey too!

Ellie from Kent said...

What a yummy looking cake, the raisins are HUGE!

We went to Sissinghurst Castle yesterday and I bought a bottle of Honey Mead to try out for the boozy iron cupcake in september, not sure if it's going to last, it's very drinkable.

Cakelaw said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Love the ginger decorations.

Karine said...

I love the combination of spices of this cake and they must go so well with the honey!

Katie said...

Honey and spice go so well together. You cake looks wonderful and I love the icing drizzling down the sides :)

Sam said...

Sounds delicious, I really like the combination of honey and spice. Those raisins are massive!

Maria♥ said...

I love gift shops (especially National Trust) and often find lovely cookbooks and kitchenalia.

Your cake looks yummy!


♥Rosie♥ said...

I love gift shops too! Honey and spice cake, just perfect indeed!