Put your honey where your mouth is (with a slice of Honey & Cinnamon Cake)

It takes 12 worker bees their entire life to produce 1 teaspoon of honey for harvest
It takes 12 worker bees their entire life to produce 1 teaspoon of honey for harvest

Honey bees are the only insect in the world that produce food eaten by humans, and honey is the only food to contain all the components needed to sustain life (vitamins, minerals, enzymes and water). Honey is also the only food to contain the antioxidant “pinocembrin”, which is associated with enhanced brain function, making honey one of nature’s most unique superfoods.

What I love most about honey is the diversity of flavour and its versatility in cooking and baking. Honey is one of nature’s miracles, and what better way to celebrate it than with a delicious, warming Honey & Cinnamon Cake.

To find out more about honey and honey bees, visit Fine Foodies magazine and read my column Put your honey where your mouth is on page 28 of the Summer 2015 issue.

Honey & Cinnamon Cake
Honey & Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients
~ for the sponge

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp floral honey
4 medium, organic free-range eggs (at room temperature)
200g self-raising flour

~ for the sugar syrup
50g golden caster sugar
50ml water

~ for the buttercream icing
200g icing sugar, sifted
120g butter, softened
1 tsp floral honey
2 tbsp whole/full cream milk
1 tsp bee pollen, to decorate
1 tbsp floral honey, to decorate
6 fresh physalis, to decorate (optional)

Method
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two 6″/15cm round tins with baking parchment.

In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, add the butter, caster sugar, ground cinnamon and honey and mix together with the paddle attachment until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure it’s all mixed together evenly. One by one, add each egg until fully combined. If the mixture starts to curdle, add some of the flour. Once you have a smooth, even mixture, add the flour in batches and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and even out the surface. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until it starts to come away from the edges and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

While the sponge is in the oven, make your sugar syrup by combining the caster sugar and water in a small pot over a medium heat. Slowly bring it to the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

When your cake is baked, allow it to cool in the tin for around 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Using a toothpick, poke holes in the sponge and then brush it with the sugar syrup. Ideally you want to wrap your sponge in foil and let it rest overnight before cutting and assembling it, but if you don’t have time, wait for it to cool completely before cutting.

When you’re ready to assemble the cake, make your buttercream icing by placing the icing sugar and butter in the bowl of a freestanding mixer and slowly mix them together using the whisk attachment until you get a sandy consistency. Add the honey to the mixture, then gradually add the milk. Mix on a high speed for a few minutes until it’s light and fluffy.

Trim the top of each sponge so they’re even, then halve them horizontally. Place the bottom sponge on a plate, cake stand or cake board and spread 1/4 of the buttercream icing on it, making sure to go right to the edge of the sponge. Place the second sponge layer on top and repeat until you get to the last layer. Top the cake with the remaining buttercream icing, then smooth the icing around the sides so you get a thin, sparse layer around the outside. Decorate with the bee pollen, honey and fresh physalis. Serve at room temperature.

Better than a pot of gold, honey is nature's most delicious treasure
Better than a pot of gold, honey is nature’s most delicious treasure
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