I got the inspiration for this lemon and honey cake from an episode of River Cottage. Their honey cake uses wholemeal flour and it made me wonder how the texture would be – before that, I’ve never had cakes made from wholemeal flour and I was curious to find out. So one fine Saturday, I took out my baking utensils, measured the ingredients and started baking.
I loved the texture of the cake. Wholemeal flour gave it character. But personally, I felt the cake was too sweet.
I started experimenting with the the recipe: I reduced the sugar and honey and added lemon zest and juice for an extra zing. And because I mainly use brown instead of white sugar, that’s what I normally have in the kitchen, so that’s what I used.
So here’s the recipe and how it’s done.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 100g brown sugar (I had to grind the sugar a bit with my bamix since I used granulated brown sugar)
- 3 eggs
- 100g wholemeal flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder (reduce to 1 tsp if you’re using self rising flour)
- 100g ground almond
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 50g flaked almonds
- 2 lemons
- 2 tbsp honey
- lemon curd (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Line the baking tin with grease paper.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ground almond and baking powder. Grate in the zest of the lemons. Be careful only to grate the yellow outer part. The white skin underneath is bitter. Whisk to thoroughly combine and help incorporate air into the mixture.
Fold in the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and squeeze in the juice of one lemon – lightly stir. When the batter is nicely mixed, scrape it into the prepared tin.
This time, I’m dividing the mixture equally into two 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches tins (the only ones I have!) as I wanted to spread lemon curd in between the two slices. If you’d rather, you can just make one big cake and forget about the lemon curd.
Scatter the flaked almonds over one cake and put both tins in the oven. Since the sponges I am making this time are quite thin, they only take approx 12-15 min to cook. You will know that the cake is ready when a skewer inserted to the centre of the cake comes out clean.
While waiting for the cake to bake, warm 2 tbsp honey to loosen it a bit. Squeeze in the juice of the other lemon. Don’t let the mixture boil. Put it to one side.
When the cakes are done, take them out from the oven and while still warm, poke them with a skewer in a few places and spoon the syrup over. Let the syrup seep through and the cakes to cool for half an hour before turning them out and placing them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Place the cake (the one without flaked almonds) on a serving plate and generously spread the lemon curd over it. You’re welcome to make your own lemon curd but shamelessly, mine came from a bottle. Sandwich with the other cake (flaked almonds side up).
This cake is very moist and dense. You can served it either warm or cold. Keeps well in an airtight container for up to a week.
Bee facts: Do you know that while the queen bee can live up to five years, the average worker bee only lives up to five to six weeks? In its lifetime, a worker bee produces about half a teaspoon of honey. If you think of all those honey jars in the supermarkets, that’s from a lot of hard working bees!