Rose Petals & Ribbons

Honey Cake with Browned Butter Glaze

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Honey cake with candied orange peel and a thick and delicious browned butter icing – this is really a treat! The cake tastes even better after a couple of days, so it is ideal to make ahead of time if you have people coming over. I don’t like cakes or sponges that go dry after just a couple of hours outside the oven, so, to me, this is heaven. The recipe for the cake is from a cookbook from the 1970s, but just because your grandma liked it, doesn’t mean you won’t! This was the first time I made a glaze with browned butter, but it certainly won’t be the last, it is the best I’ve had so far. For best results, use organic ingredients where possible.

Cake

Ingredients
150 grams Butter
200 grams Honey (the solid, non-runny kind)
85 grams Sugar (1 decilitre)
3 Eggs
240 grams plain Flour (4 decilitres)
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
100 grams candied Orange Peel (or orange & lemon, or indeed any candied fruit you fancy that is suitable for baking)

Method 

  1. Put the oven on at 175°C, not using the fan.
  2. Whisk the butter, honey and sugar together very well until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Add the eggs in one at the time and mix well after each egg (or if you are using a stand mixer, e.g. KitchenAid, let it stir continuously on a low speed) and then also add the spices. Add ¾ of the peel and keep the rest for decoration.
  4. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl first, and then add it to the mixture.
  5. Pour the batter in a greased mould (1½ litres), any shape you prefer, or use smaller moulds or cases. I used a pan with heart shapes for the cakes in the pictures, but have also made it in muffin cases with great results.
  6. A big cake would take approximately 50 minutes in the middle of the oven, and muffins about 20. All ovens vary though, so do keep an eye on it to avoid over-baking. Just make sure you get the cake(s) out of the oven the second it’s ready (the batter doesn’t stick to a knife or needle when you place it in the middle of the cake).

Glaze

Ingredients
60 grams Butter
145 grams Icing Sugar (2.4 decilitres)
3 tablespoons Cream (or more if you prefer a runnier glaze)
½ teaspoon Vanilla Powder (if you can’t find that use a fresh vanilla pod, or, as a last resort, vanilla sugar or essence)

Method

  1. Melt the butter on the stove on low heat until it browns; if you’ve never done this before it is easiest to detect when it’s ready by the characteristic nutty smell and the deepening in colour. Note that it keeps cooking even after you take it off the heat, so do pour it into a different bowl when it’s ready (leaving behind the worst of the dark sediment on the bottom of the pan – although a bit of it certainly doesn’t bother me, just don’t scrape the bottom of the pan).
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients swiftly as the glaze sets quite fast, just stir it by hand until it is smooth and add it onto the cake – don’t worry about making a mess, it’s those droopy bits that make it look so delicious, I think. If the glaze starts to set or separate, don’t panic – simply stir in some extra cream and you’ll be fine.

After you’ve glazed your cake(s), sprinkle some of the candied peel on top for decoration. If you like some variation, you can also sprinkle some sea salt on the glaze for some sweet and salty action. Enjoy!

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