Sunday, 12 October 2014

Honey and poppy seed cake with honey buttercream

I am a terror for a gift shop, be it at a museum, gallery, stately home, or anywhere really.  They have always been utterly irresistible to me and I will always come out clutching a bag of ‘treasure’ which you can be pretty sure will contain, amongst other things, a fridge magnet or several fridge magnets should I have found the choice too difficult to make.  Luckily, Mr CC is supportive of the purchase of tat (sometimes through gritted teeth, but mostly with a good heart).  However, during our visit to the stunning Audley End House last weekend, Mr CC had his sensible hat on and suggested that – given our impending move – we limit ourselves to ‘edible items only’.

All this explains why I chose to bake a honey cake this week; we bought a jar of beautiful honey made by industrious Essex bees living and working in Saffron Walden.  I am funny with honey (rhyme not intended).  I love it baked into cakes or biscuits but do not like it at all on bread or toast.  I matched the honey sponge with a honey buttercream to allow the honey to be the star of the show; it is often teamed with other flavours and gets a bit lost.  Poppy seeds always add lovely texture – little bursts of crunch, and look so pretty when you cut a slice of cake.

This was a very popular cake indeed; the soft sponge and silky sweet buttercream had a vintage feel to them – the sort of cake that you’d see on an old fashioned tea-time table.  I kept the decoration simple with some wafer flowers; my logic being that bees like flowers.  I added a layer of honey lime curd in the centre of the cake, but it was only to justify the purchase of the pot of curd at my local town fair this weekend; the cake was planned without this addition.

Footnote: Limiting my purchases to edible items resulted in the purchase of: honey (good – edible!), two bags of duck food (edible…if you’re a duck), a book (eating paper won’t do you much harm, I suspect), a fridge magnet (not so edible), and a horseshoe (have a dentist on standby if you try and bite into that).


For the sponge:
260g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g golden caster sugar
130g clear, runny honey
4 eggs
210g self raising flour
35g cornflour
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon milk
For the buttercream:
115g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g icing sugar
2 tablespoons clear, runny honey
1 tablespoon milk – if needed

Optional: honey curd or any fruit curd of your choice


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm loose bottomed round sandwich tins with baking paper.

Start with making the sponge: beat together the butter and sugar until pale and well combined.

Add the honey and beat until fluffy and whipped looking – don’t skimp on this stage.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding some flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Fold in the flour, cornflour. poppy seeds and milk.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the sponges comes out clean.  Mine took a bit longer - nearer 40 minutes.  Cover the cake loosely with foil if it's browning too quickly.

Leave to cool in the tins for about 15 minutes, before de-tinning and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

The sponges can be made a day in advance of assembling the cake – simply store in airtight containers.

Now make the buttercream: beat the butter until it is smooth and whippy.

Beat in the icing sugar until the ingredients are well combined.

Add the honey and beat, at a high speed, to lighten the buttercream and get lots of air into it.

If needed, add the milk to loosen the buttercream and give a nice spreadable consistency.

Now you can assemble the cake: place one sponge on the serving plate.

Spread over some curd – if using.

Spread just over half the buttercream over the sponge, placing the other sponge on top.

Spread the remaining buttercream on top.

Decorate as you wish – I used wafer flowers.

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



Laura Denman said...

I'm the same as you with honey - I have a friend who has honey on toast for breakfast ost mornings and I always pull a face when he mentions it. Put it in a cake though and I love it. This looks like the best honey cake I have seen in a long time and what I like all the more is that it is a sandwich cake which I love too =)

Gloria Baker said...

I love this CC sounds wonderful , and I think I have poppy seeds, ah delicious!!!

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I love honey however it comes.... This cake sounds delicious CC. It's years since I had poppyseed in a cake..... must try it again soon.... Thanks for reminding me about it

Jo said...

That second photo is beautiful! I love the flecks of poppy seeds. My mum often says she doesn't like honey, but I have managed to sneak it into cakes in the past and she's never complained!

Cakelaw said...

LOL - I like how you stretched the boundaries of edible just a tad. This cake looks fabulous - I am not surprised that it was a hit.

Katie said...

Another delicious looking cake. Its so tall! That honey lime curd sounds amazing. I bet it really gave a lovely citrus kick. I don't bake with honey enough

Sumaiyyah said...

Dearest CC, I love your posts, you always make me laugh, haha. In a good way, I mean. Hugs!

Sumaiyyah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Snowy said...

Wow, that's some sandwich cake. Like you I love honey in cake and biscuits, but not on toast.Addition of poppy seeds is a great idea.

Janine said...

I love your list of edible purchases! The cake looks great, and has inspired me to track down some poppy seeds...

Maggie said...

The property looks stunning, I would love to visit it. I really like the idea of honey buttercream - lovely bake.

Stuart Vettese said...

That is a behemoth!! I love lemon and poppyseed cakes, so I think this honey version would go down well in the Cakeyboi household

Choclette Blogger said...

Haha, Mr CC didn't win this round then. Your cake looks lush as always and I so want to try some honey lime curd.