Work and indolence seem to have got in the way of baking recently, but the need to use up eggs and butter finally prompted me into the kitchen last weekend where I made a honey cake (recipe courtesy of River Cottage Everyday). Unfortunately I got distracted so one moment the cake was not quite ready and then 25 minutes later it was overcooked and sunk in the middle. Even so it was really quite good, and when I made a second attempt later in the week it turned out even better (it’s been a social kind of week, I haven’t eaten two cakes all by myself – I mean I probably could if I set my mind to it, but honestly I haven’t.)
I’m not sure why it’s taken so long to discover these almondy cakes – they must have been out there for years just waiting to ambush me and I’m so over chocolate now (I haven’t experimented yet but I imagine other nuts would work just as well – has anyone any experience with hazelnuts?) Equally good with coffee or as a pudding (or as the Scottish one demonstrated; not bad for breakfast) quick to put together, universally popular, and they seem to keep well (when they get the chance). It’s like cake nirvana.
To fit in with what I had in the cupboard I changed the recipe slightly – for the original, and quite possibly better version go to ‘River Cottage Everyday’.
One 20cm springform tin prepared with a layer of greaseproof paper and the oven set to 170°
250g unsalted butter
250g of golden caster sugar
150g self raising flour
150g ground almonds
1 teaspoon of baking powder
A pot of honey
Mix the butter and sugar to a smooth cream, add the eggs and flour and beat together, finally add the almonds and baking powder mix it all up and stick it in the tin, smooth down the top and sprinkle the flaked almonds over it.
Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour (taking care not to get absorbed in an old episode of CSI and leaving it for an hour and a half) or until a knife comes out clean and the centre hasn’t sunk into a pit. (This cake does have a tendency to sink a little, or it does for me, but there’s a difference between cute honey soaking dimple and crater.) Finally and whilst it’s still hot, drizzle about 4 tablespoons of honey over the cake as evenly as possible – let it soak in and then eat – warm or cold it’s delicious.
My sink still leaks, but I don’t care because I have cake.