Tag Archives: Honey

Cornershop Chocolate Honeycomb Cake

Chocolate Honeycomb Cake (2)

You’d think that with nearly five years of living in Bootle under my belt, I’d have learnt by now. But every Easter it’s the same. The urge to bake something sweet will usually strike me somewhere between my first bacon sandwich and the 3.00pm football kick off, and I’ll realise with a sinking feeling that I’ve not got nearly enough ingredients in my cupboards and all the local supermarkets are closed. Praise be then to the heathen cornershop at the end of my road. OK, so the women behind the counter usually scowl at me for slouching in there in my leggings with unwashed hair, and the produce there verges somewhere between ‘ropey’ and ‘inedible,’ but they’re usually stocked with butter, milk and bread, and you can buy two gigantic bars of Dairy Milk for a quid.

Hence this ‘Cornershop Chocolate Honeycomb Cake,’ a total bastardisation of Nigella Lawson’s classic Honey Chocolate Cake. Made out of various odds and ends, and a jar of delicious citrus infused honey that I managed to sneak home from Florida in my suitcase (Take that Richard Dawkins!) this is a seriously impressive little number. In the wrong hands, the combination of chocolate and honey could be decidedly sticky, but here, the combination of ingredients is perfectly balanced. I also loved the unique chocolate honey ganache which threatens to overwhelm the cake with sticky goop, but hardens into a gloriously shiny glaze.  The original version calls for you to make tiny bees out of marzipan, but I seriously lack both the patience and sugarwork skills to pull that kind of decoration trickery off. Instead,  I just bashed a Crunchie bar to bits with a rolling pin and sprinkled it over the top.

The end result is tasty, tangy and decidedly moreish – you need a lot of willpower to stop at just one slice.  It’s a testament to how good Nigella’s original recipe is that I made this with crappy chocolate and it still managed to be one of the best cakes I’ve baked in a very long time. With good quality ingredients, it’s sure to be sensational.

CHOCOLATE HONEY CAKE (Makes roughly 9 – 10 pieces)

Adapted from Nigella Lawson

You will need

For the cake:

  • 100 g chopped milk chocolate (My preferred brand is Green & Blacks)
  • 275 g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 225 g soft butter
  • 125 ml runny honey
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder (again, I prefer to use Green & Blacks, but any good quality cocoa will work well here)
  • 250 ml boiling water

For the icing:

  • 60 ml water
  • 125 ml runny honey
  • 175 g milk chocolate
  • 75 g icing sugar
  • 1 Crunchie bar

Make It!

  1. Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl. You can either do this by zapping it in the microwave for a minute,  or by suspending the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin. (Alternatively, I used a silicon baking tray I got from my local ASDA, and the cake turned out perfectly.)
  3. Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Add the cocoa and last of all, beat in the boiling water. Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes. (As a guide, mine was ready after an hour.)
  4. Let the cake cool completely for 45 minutes – 1 hour. While it’s chilling on the side, bash your Crunchie bar into small pieces. I find it’s quite cathartic to wrap it in a tea towel and beat the living daylights out of it with a rolling pin/EMPTY wine bottle.
  5. To make the glaze, bring the water and the rest of the honey to a boil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate, swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk together. Sieve in the icing sugar (don’t skip this step, otherwise your icing will be horribly lumpy) and whisk again until smooth.
  6. Pour the icing over the chocolate cake and smooth it down the sides with a palette knife. Sprinkle the bits of crunchie bar over the top and leave to set for an hour – 2 hours prior to serving. This cake should last for seven days in an airtight container, but you’ll be lucky if it lasts for five minutes.
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Honey Spice Cake

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

Make It!

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°c/gas mark 4. and butter a medium sized springform cake tin.
  2. Into a large bowl sift together the self raising flour,  salt,  and the spices.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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