Beekeepers' Honey Cake
Last week, I went back to my market honey-man, from whom I recently bought the spectacular unrefined Yellow Mallee Gum honey. I've nearly finished the tub and was looking to buy some more. I noticed he had a few different varieties there that day, and he recommended the Ironbark to me, as being a strongly flavoured, intense honey. I love strong, dark, honeys; Tasmanian Leatherwood is my favourite.
However, when I tasted his Ironbark I was a bit disappointed. It didn't have the same smell of the trees and flowers as the Mallee gum, which clings to your fingers for hours if you so happen to dip your finger in for a taste. It also had a thin, almost runny quality; whereas I had fallen for the crunchy, granular texture of the Mallee gum.
But, Mr Market Honey-Man's honey is very affordable, so I wasn't upset. I decided to make a cake with this honey, and go back next week for my favourite.
A few months ago I embarked on a mini research project to find a good Dutch honigkoek recipe. Because I'd ticked that off my list, I was left wondering what to make. A Google search revealed an inspiring-looking recipe for a Beekeepers' Honey Cake, named, no doubt, for the copious amount of honey it includes. It was loaded with the same spices as the Dutch versions, but indicated it would be much more moist, as it had not only 1.5 cups of honey (which is a full half a kilo! Honey is dense stuff), but sour cream and butter. The spices make this cake taste very wintery and Christmassy, so it'd be perfect for those of you heading into the cold months. However, the inclusion of walnuts and dried cranberries give it an unexpected lift. I do like dried cranberries. I just wish they weren't so expensive.
The recipe recommends leaving the cake for a few days to ripen in flavour and texture; I did this, but didn't really observe any increase in flavour or texture. It was tasty and moist when it was just baked, and it stayed that way. Apparently it has excellent keeping powers, so it would be a good thing to make ahead of time.
In my mind, this was an tasty, interesting variation on a Dutch honigkoek, but with butter and sour cream adding to the moist texture...and the calories. So if you are looking for a lower-fat version of this sort of warm, spicy honey-cake, I'd recommend you go for this instead: yes, it will have a slightly drier, breadier consistency, but it also doesn't contain any butter or oil, so is lower in the calorie-stakes.
Read on for the recipe:
Tagged with baking + honey
Beekeepers' Honey Cake - Recipe
Adapted from All American Desserts,
Spices, dried cranberries, and walnuts added to moist honey-kissed cake make this a festive and delicious treat. Beekeeper’s Honey Cake is a keeper in more ways than one, since it will stay fresh and tender for weeks.
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons canola or corn oil
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups wildflower or other medium-colored honey
1 cup sour cream
1 cup dried cranberries or sour cherries
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Sliced almonds for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt or 10-inch tube pan, tapping out the excess flour, and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, spices, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium-size mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat together the melted butter, oil, and both sugars in a large mixing bowl until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the honey and sour cream all and once and beat until you have a smooth batter. Beat in the flour mixture, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the cranberries and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
3. Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and let cool. As soon as the cake is cool enough to handle, press the flaked almonds into the top. Place the cooled cake in an airtight container to ripen for 2 days before serving.
Copyright: Adapted from All American Desserts, by Judith M. Fertig (Harvard Common Press, 2003). Copyright (c) 2003 by Judith M. Fertig.