Sunday, 2 May 2010

History corner – Honey cake

Welcome to my second voyage into
History Corner following on from my first foray back in February.

I have travelled to Jersey for work quite a lot over the past 6 years and have always wished for some free time to explore the island, but it’s never quite worked out that way.
Well, ‘thanks’ to some volcanic ash suspending all flights I had a free Saturday to take a bus ride around the coastal roads and picked up some honey produced in the parish of St Ouen.

This recipe comes from “Bakes and Cakes” by the wonderfully named Nell Heaton.
Nell Heaton sounds like she should be a long suffering yet loyal maid in a novel by one of the Bronte sisters. The book dates from 1964 and I apologise to my older readers for including this in history corner...but it is 46 years old!

I admit this cake isn’t the most eye catching – it’s rather small and plain, but the taste and texture is wonderful. So often honey is just one of many ingredients and the taste is lost in the overall mix. That’s not the case here.

Nell proved herself somewhat the seer with her succinct and no nonsense foreword: “There is a revival of home baking and no doubt, this will continue to increase because a home-made bun, cake or loaf is so very much more enjoyable than a ‘cake’ or loaf that is mass-produced – and could be termed ‘puff and wind’ because it looks good but really doesn’t satisfy”.
Go girl!

I have a very heavy cold as I write. I know honey drinks are meant to be good for the throat but they always make me gag. Surely it doesn’t matter what form you take the honey in? Surely, under the circumstances, this cake is practically medicine?

Nell gives her recipe in pounds and ounces so I have included these measurements below, along with the grams that I prefer to work in.


60z/170g self raising flour
20z/55g caster sugar
3oz/85g unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 tablespoons clear honey
1 tablespoon milk
2oz/55g flaked almonds

Optional (not in original recipe): extra honey to drizzle over the hot cake


Preheat the oven to 180˚C/fan oven 160˚C/350˚F/Gas mark 4

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Mix together the flour and sugar then add the butter. You can incorporate with a knife or use a food processor – you’re aiming for breadcrumbs.

Stir in the eggs, honey and milk.

The original recipe says to stir in the nuts, but I chose to sprinkle on top instead as I thought large flakes of almond might be a bit unpleasant in the cake.

Spoon the cake into the prepared tin and level the surface – it isn’t a huge cake so don’t panic at the lack of mix!

If you’re following my method, sprinkle the almonds over the top.

Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took exactly 35 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack. I drizzled 2 tablespoons of extra honey over the top of the cake to give the nuts a sticky sweetness. This is optional.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Lovely Lacey said...

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Beth (Jam and Clotted Cream) said...

The simple ones often taste the best

Choclette said...

Looks like a great cake and of course it will be doing you good - feed a cold and all that! Glad to hear the volcanic ash was to your advantage.

C said...

Looks lovely, and nice to see the book it came from.

Glad to hear the honey flavour came through, it would be a shame to lose it, the honey looks lovely.

Joy said...

Honey and almonds. Perfect!

Katie said...

It looks a lovely soft and fluffy cake. Nice to see that honey gets centre stage.

Hope you feel better soon - gets lots of cake and claim its for medicinal purposes :)

Lucie said...

This is certainly eye catching - it looks so light and delicious. I love the fact that you are using old cook books!

Fiona said...

Just made your peach and raspberry traybake, substituting the raspberries with strawberries. Mmmmm. Thank you so much.

Helen (Fuss Free Flavours) said...

That looks great. I have a WWII utility cookbook that I keep meaning to blog from but I get scared at just how unappealing the recipes are. But maybe they will have some ideas for my cabbage and cauilflower mountain!

Cakelaw said...

What a fabulous looking cake! Oldies are often goodies.

Jacqueline said...

Hope the honey in the cake worked, it looked marvellous :)

Anonymous said...

A truly delicious cake - made it this afternoon on a whim, using some honey fresh from my aunt's orchard, and it's a stunner! Thank you for the recipe :-)