So today's post really ought to be about pancakes, given that it's Shrove Tuesday, and I will indeed be flippin' some cakes in a pan later this evening. However, I've spend most of today in the kitchen doing other exciting things, and would rather share those with you right now.
Let's talk honey. It's a super food. It's a natural anesthetic, and used to be placed directly on wounds. It also comes from bees. How amazing that a tiny little furry buzzing things can produce something as wonderously sticky as honey! It comes in all sorts of varieties, not only due to area, but often due to the specific plant the little bees were feeding on. And it's absolutely delicious. At least I think so. I love it on yoghurt, porridge, in a mug with hot water and lemon, and especially in a tasty spicy cake.
I know it's nearing spring, and the spices should be taking a back door to lighter flavours, but oddly I often feel at this time of year that they need one more outing, or two, or three, before heading back into the cupboard until autumn. That's not to say I won't be dipping into them over summer, just a lot less than those chilly autumnal days, when all you can think of is warm apples and cinnamon.
This cake is wholesome and heady with spices and honey. It is definitely and afternoon pick-me-up, and as with many things laced with that golden elixir (like baklava for example) a little goes a long way. It's super moist in the middle (I was convinced mine was undercooked, but it tastes perfect) and a tiny slice with a cup of tea around four o'clock is exactly what a girl (or guy) needs to re-motivate themselves for another repeat of test knitting!
One last thing before I go...what will you be spreading on your pancakes tonight? Are you a sugar and lemon purist, or will it be all out with the maple syrups and chocolate sauces? We've got some homemade chili chocolate spread to try out, plus some roasted rhubarb! Much as I'm usually all about the lemon and sugar we're shakin' it up this year!
Spiced Honey Cake - serves 10-12 as you only need small slices
300g soft unsalted butter
250g golden caster sugar
150g wholemeal flour
150g ground almonds
4 tbsp clear runny honey
4 tsp spices (use a mixture that suits you, I used one each of cinnamon, black pepper, mace and mixed spice)
2 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 23cm springform tin, place this on a baking tray as some butter seeps during cooking.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a tablespoon of flour with each. Fold in the almonds, rest of the flour, spices and baking powder and mix gently until combined.
Put the batter in the pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake for 45min, or until a skewer comes out clean (mine came out clean but could have stood another five minutes, it depends on how moist you want the centre, baring in mind it will get wetter when you add the honey).
Remove from the oven and drizzle over the honey. Leave to stand for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and serve still slightly warm with a cup of strong tea and a smug smile.