Honey cake

Honey cakes are supposed to be some of the oldest cakes in history. It's not something I've ever made, so wanted to try this recipe, from an old cookery book called 'The complete book of baking' inherited from Mum. The recipe says that it's best made a week before you need it! It also uses rye flour, which I couldn't find in my local supermarket, but did find in Waitrose. No fat or sugar in the cake so it must be good for you!!

175ml honey - acacia if possible
3 eggs, beaten
300g rye flour
1 tspn cinnamon
120g ground almonds or hazelnuts
2 tbspn dark run [opt]
1/2 tspn bicarb. of soda
1 tbspn milk
almond halves to decorate

Preheat oven 175C/gas 4
Grease a deep 30x20 tin [12x8"]

Warm the honey in the jar in a pan of hot water then pour into a bowl and whisk till frothy and thick.
Beat in the eggs and gradually add the flour.
Mix the spices and nuts together and stir in the rum [if using] and add to the honey and egg mixture.
Dissolve the bicarb. into the milk and beat into the mixture.
Leave bowl covered overnight - it makes a lighter cake [?].
Spoon into the tin and arrange the almonds on the top.
Bake for 30 - 35 mins - cover top if it's getting too brown as it will taste bitter.
Cool in the tin and cut into pieces. Store for a week in an airtight tin before eating!

I made this cake last week, and we tried a piece with our cuppa as soon as it cooled. Lovely honey flavour but not really any taste of the rum. Tried a piece again yesterday, a week later as the recipe suggested, and the flavour has really changed and the rum flavour is pleasant but not strong. Perhaps you could use juice instead of the rum - will try it out. The cake has a nice texture, moist, and the nuts add another dimension to the flavour. A good cake and one I'll make again, with some slight changes.


Really interesting recipe. I've made quite a lot of honey cakes in various forms over the years and really enjoyed them but I don't think any of them have been butter-free. Rye flour seems to turn up in quite a lot of cakes that use honey like pain d’épices, for instance. Seems an odd combination but it really works.

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