On our journey home from Korcula to Split during our summer holiday in Croatia, we drove through the coastal towns and winding roads, even crossing into Bosnia-Herzogovina for a brief moment. During our stint in Bosnia we passed roadside stalls selling fresh produce like watermelon, figs, grapes, bunches of garlic and jars of honey. The flavour of the honey was so light and delicate and indicative of a simple bee diet of fruit trees. I bought some garlic and honey and looked forward to finding some recipes to make use of my enormous jar of liquid gold. Easier said than done, I’ve tried a honey malt cheesecake, honey-soy marinade and various other honey-based recipes all of which were not that great or worthy of repeat.
I was going through some old food magazines and found two almost identical recipes for a honey almond and lemon cake, and so I thought it was the universe telling me to make this cake. By this stage I’d eaten all the Bosnian honey, so instead I used a jar of local Buckinghamshire honey from the Parslow Apiaries Ltd, rich in pollen flavours and no doubt the result of a gourmand bee. I had my reservations about this recipe, as it contains 4 eggs and almost a whole package of butter. I don’t like using a small 20cm cake pan either – as I find the cakes overcooks on the outside and undercook in the middle. But with a little bit of foil and a bit of caution thrown to the wind, I made this cake and it is glorious. So deliciously decadent and moist and dense and subtle in flavour that I just had to share it. Despite the fact that you have to zest two lemons – my most hated baking task – the results are well worth blogging about. You can read about Parslow honey here.
225g softened butter
30g SR flour
180g almond meal
a pinch of salt
3 tbs honey
zest of 2 lemons
Juice of one lemon
Some flaked almonds for decoration
Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time.
In another bowl, mix all the remaining dry ingredients together.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients, plus the honey. Mix until just combined.
Pour into prepared cake tin, and if using a 20cm tin, cover with foil for first half hour, then uncover and sprinkle with flaked almonds for another 15 minutes or so. This cake might get a little brown on the exterior, mine certainly did – but it did not dry out at all – so don’t worry if it’s a little darker than golden.
When the cake is cooked take it out of oven and pour over the lemon juice, leaving the cake to cool in the tin.
Best eaten next day when flavours have matured.