Friday, 18 January 2013

Honey and Raspberry Cake: Guest Post by Lucy Allman

Hello there! I’m Lucy Allman, a uni friend of Bryony’s and an avid reader of this blog. This year I am doing an assistantship abroad in Pompei, which not only offers up many new and exciting ingredients to work with, but also means I have to manage without things like vanilla pods and actual cream that comes from cows. As it is, I’ve taken to inventing more recipes rather than hunting them down online and then finding that I’m missing a crucial ingredient that isn’t available here. 

I am really excited to be doing a guest post here, and hope that you find my honey and raspberry cake to be a recipe worth trying out! It’s a variation on a classic Devonshire honey cake, and while you will need to set a few hours aside in order to make it, the end result is fruity, moist and very, very moreish…

Honey and Raspberry Cake
You will need:
- 250g clear honey, plus about 2tbsp extra to make the glaze
- 225g unsalted butter, cut into cubes (luckily for me, all Italian butter is unsalted, but most English supermarkets have it too)
- 100g brown sugar (any kind is fine; I used Demerara, but muscovado works just as well)
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 300g self-raising flour
- 125g raspberries
- 85g caster sugar

Preheat your oven to 140°C for fan, 160°C for conventional, or gas mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm/8 inch cake tin.
Please ignore my dirty stove!

Place the honey, butter and sugar in a pan and melt them together over a low heat, stirring occasionally. Once it turns into a delicious syrupy liquid, add about 10-12 raspberries and mix them in until they start to break down (it helps if you squish them against the sides of the pan with a spoon). Bring the mixture to the boil for one minute, and it will froth up like marshmallow fluff and then turn a gorgeous deep pink colour (this is my favourite part).

It is very important that you now let the mixture cool for about 15-20 minutes, so the eggs don't cook when you mix them in (top tip: with the weather as cols as it is - yes, even in Italy! - you can go outside with your pan or place it next to an open window to speed up the process.

While the mixture is cooling, sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Then, feel free to do a dance or eat a sandwich while you're waiting.

Once the mixture is completely cool (or, you know, cool enough that you won't end up with raspberry-flavoured scrambled eggs), add the eggs and beat them in gently. Tip the mixture into the bowl with the flour and stir it all together. You batter will be quite runny; don't worry, that's normal.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hour (top tip: utilise the cooking time to get the washing-up done, and then you won't have to worry about it later) until the cake is well-risen and golden brown. If you're worried that the top is becoming too brown, cover the cake with some tinfoil.

Check to see if it's cooked through with a skewer - poke it in the middle of the cake, and if it comes out clean then your cake is ready. Alternatively, you can poke it with your fingertip and see if it springs back completely, in which case you're good to go. For best results and to be absolutely sure, I like to do both.

Once the cake is cooked, leave it to cool for a little while and make the glaze. Warm the remaining raspberries in a pan with 2tbsp of honey, a little bit of water and the caster sugar. Bring it to the boil, then strain it through a sieve.

Turn the cake out onto a plate and prick it all over with a skewer or a fork, then drizzle the raspberry syrup over the top.

I like that my camera managed to capture the steam - I feel it adds a certain something.

This cake can be served while still warm, with a generous dollop of custard, or you can just cut a big slice and enjoy the sticky goodness.

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