Delia Smith’s iced honey and spice cake

Well, after last week’s terrible savarin I think I’ve learned an important lesson.  When the end result is important, keep things simple.  Leave the tricky stuff for times when it doesn’t matter.  It was my mom’s birthday this weekend and I made an iced honey and spice cake from Delia Smith’s Cakes. 

The cake is flavoured with ginger, cinnamon and cloves.  A combination that, to me, smelled like Christmas.  Honey, orange and lemon, and fondant icing that tasted like lemon sherbet added a little bit of June.  The combination was very good indeed.

First, I warmed up 75g clear runny honey.  Delia suggests doing this by putting the honey in a bowl and warming it in a pan of simmering water.  All my pans were in the dishwasher so I risked the microwave.  The honey warmed up nicely at 180 Watts for 45 seconds.  After warming the honey, I sifted plain flour, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and ground cloves (I used a spice grinder for the cloves) into a bowl.  I added caster sugar and orange and lemon zest and used my trusty pastry blender to rub in some butter until the mixture reached breadcrumb stage.  I added a beaten egg and the warm honey, then mixed a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda with water and added this to the mixture.  I beat it all together and, finally, added some chopped mixed peel.  It went into one tin and into the oven at 150º fan for 35 minutes. It came out looking like this.

041 My cake hadn’t risen as much as the one in Delia’s book, but at least it came out of the tin in one piece.

The next step was the icing.  I sifted fondant icing sugar (which, before making this cake, I didn’t know existed.  They even had it in Tesco) and added lemon juice and stirred the mixture with a wooden spoon until it looked like – well, fondant icing.  After the cake had cooled I poured the icing over the top.

Delia decorates her cake with pieces of crystallised ginger, but my dad doesn’t like it, so, since it was a honey cake, I decided to use bees (an idea from a chocolate and honey cake in Nigella Lawson’s Feast).

040 I had some marzipan in the freezer that I’d made for something (probably the Prinsesstårta) so I defrosted it, kneaded some yellow food colouring into it and divided it into small rugby ball shapes.  I melted some of the dark chocolate that I hadn’t got around to using to decorate the ill-fated savarin, and gave my bees some stripes and eyes.  The wings I made from flaked almonds.  042The result looks a bit childish, but I told my mom that Matthew helped with the bees (which he did) which pleased her no end. As far as taste goes, it was a good cake, with the warmth of the ginger, cinnamon and cloves given a lift by the honey and citrus flavours.  My favourite bit was sharp and sherbety icing.  Simple but good, with no hint of a tear.



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