For the last few days in Spain, I have been looking for a cake recipe that combined honey and oranges - maybe with almonds, or even olive oil too. Imperfect, tangy, moreish oranges are literally dripping off the trees around our finca and I've been dying to use them in a dish. I also bought some local honey from Casa Museo de la Miel de Malaga in Colmenar, which is just incredible, a fragrant and intense nectar that I wanted to make the most of. Almonds are a typical Andalucian ingredient, although surprisingly it's a mission to get your mitts on them, and they SO do not come ground, so it's out with the pestle and mortar if you happen to be making this from Spain as I am! Doing it this way, you won't get them perfectly ground, but then a few nuggets of almonds in the mix turned out really good actually.
I searched online and asked on Twitter if anyone could suggest a recipe - but nothing was calling out to me. Then yesterday Belleau Kitchen posted a blog with a link to, yep, you guessed it, Honey, almond and orange cake! Yay! It was fate. Meant to be. Serendipitous. Written in the stars. It was blinking lovely too! I even, unbelievably, managed to source some baking powder at the local tiny shop, after a few days' fruitless searching previously with a cake baking session in mind.
My only amendments to the original recipe were that I doubled the amount of orange zest and, as he suggested, added an extra egg - oh I also didn't put flaked almonds on top - I'd already ground a load of almonds up, I wasn't about to start shaving another load into slivers too! I don't think it suffered for it though. Here is the recipe that I did:
To make a large cake that would feed 6 comfortably for dessert:
115 g butter
80 g sugar
80 g honey, the best you can get your hands on
grated zest of 2 oranges
165 g plain flour
60 g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
75 ml milk
For the syrup:
2 tablespoons honey
Juice of 1 orange - only use fresh, it wouldn't be the same with processed juice
Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease and line a 20 - 25 cm diameter cake tin (the recipe calls for 20 cm but I managed perfectly well with a wider tin of about 24 cm). Beat your sugar, butter (I softened mine in the microwave a little first), orange zest and honey in a bowl. Go for it with your wooden spoon for 5 or 10 minutes until it gets a bit fluffier and lighter. Then in a separate bowl mix your flour, bicarbonate, baking powder, cinnamon and ground almonds together. Now, break an egg into your liquid mixture and beat, then add a little of the flour mix - repeat this three times until your eggs are all in. Gradually stir your milk in and add the rest of your flour mix. Give the batter a thorough final seeing to with your spoon, and then pour it into your greased and lined cake tin. Cook for 30 - 40 minutes, keeping a close eye on activity. I covered with foil after 15 minutes as mine started to darken a little too much on top. When your cake is done, take it out and let it cool so you can handle it easily, before taking it out of the tin and placing it gently onto a plate. Prick all over, about 20 times with a fork or skewer.
For your syrup, on the hob or microwave, gently warm through the honey and orange juice. When your syrup is ready and the cake is still warm, spoon it evenly all over. Allow the cake to chill in the fridge. It benefits from a little Greek yoghurt (cream would be too rich) and even a little of the same honey drizzled on top to serve. Fabulous - and thanks so much to Belleau Kitchen!