I didn’t get Easter eggs this year. Don’t worry, I wasn’t too miffed about the situation – I’m more a savoury than sweet kind of girl, and Easter eggs just don’t taste the same if they’ve not been shattered by my younger brother headbutting them into little chocolatey shards. Instead, I spent my Easter doing what I do best. Baking. I’d like to think that if Jesus was around nowadays, he’d be less interested in people gorging themselves on chocolate, and more interested in people gnawing on delicious looking cakes and gigantic legs of lamb. Then again, if Jesus was around now, I’m sure he’d be a massive hit at cocktail parties with that whole ‘turning water into wine’ trick of his.
And so, on Sunday, I rolled my sleeves up and pootled off to ASDA on my bike for baking supplies. I originally intended for this to be a spiced stout cake, if only to attone for the Humingbird Bakery Chocolate Stout cake which I attempted to make (with a cracking hangover) for Mother’s Day, and which resulted in an overly sweet pile of crumbs which was only held together by a heart-attack-inducing amount of cream cheese. But alas, it wasn’t to be. Mainly because ASDA was closed, so I had to turn to the heathen cornershops of Bootle for salvation.
When life gives you a major supermarket-unfriendly-bank holiday that you’ve forgotten about because you have your head in the clouds, you have to improvise. So, I decided to replace the stout with some Hobgoblin ale, the black treacle with some honey, and glazed the bugger with a combination of icing sugar, and my old friend Mr. Ginger Cordial. What resulted was a beautiful, golden coloured cake, full of toffee flavours and a good whack of warming, zingy spice – like a giant toffee mince pie. It’s also wonderfully moist, a huge squidgey slice of comfort.
OK, so it may not have been particularly seasonal, but (if my poor recollection of my R.E. lessons from school serves me well), Jesus was more likely to relax with a delicious snack of honey when he wasn’t hanging out with his disciples than he was a giant chocolate egg…
HONEY SPICE CAKE (Makes one medium sized cake, containing 10-12 slices)
You will need:
- 360g self raising flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 pods cardamom – seeds ground in a pestle and mortar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 200g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 150g firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 350ml ruby ale (I used Hobgoblin)
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
For the glaze
- 3 tablespons milk
- 100g icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons ginger cordial
- Preheat the oven to 200°c/gas mark 4. and butter a medium sized springform cake tin.
- Into a large bowl sift together the self raising flour, salt, and the spices.
- Combine the ruby ale, butter and honey in a medium sized pan, and heat gently until the butter has melted and is foaming slightly. Take off the heat, add the brown sugar and leave to cool.
- Whisk the eggs in a small bowl, and add to the cooled honey-butter-beer mixture. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until a firm, gloppy batter has been formed. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Leave it to cool completely before turning the cake out onto a cooling rack.
- In a small bowl whisk together the icing sugar, milk and ginger cordial. Pour the glaze carefully over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Brush the glaze over the the surface area with a small pastry brush until the entire cake is covered. Allow to stand for 30 minutes, or until the glaze is set.