On Sunday afternoon, we joined Grandad on an adventure down to the wood to check on the honeybees. We had very little honey this harvest, so he is keeping a very close eye on the little buzzers. When we arrived, I was surprised by all the holly berries already on the trees, although the last few years when I’ve gone down in December to harvest bits for our annual girly DIY foraged wreath party, the berries had all been eaten by the birds. I suppose the wood is their home after all.
As Michael, Richard and Geoffrey carefully peeked at the hives, armed in their suits and smokers, I looked on curiously, while daydreaming about creating some sort of masterful honey-baked revelation.
Honey, Pumpkin & Sage Cake
Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow I thought adding pumpkin to a sweet honey cake was maybe not revelatory, but definitely apropos for the occasion and something a little different. The sage just gives it a lovely rounded out flavour…..I love herbs & spices in cakes, I have an amazing caraway seed cake in my upcoming book as well. When used in the right measures, sage in a cake is never superfluous. For this recipe, it is simply infused in the honey mixture for a subtle sage note that pairs beautifully with the pumpkin and honey. If you don’t have access to self-raising flour, you can use all-purpose flour with 2 tsp of baking powder and ½ tsp salt as a substitute.
170g/6oz raw honey
85g/3oz light muscovado or light brown sugar
2-3 fresh clary sage leaves, plus more for decorating
2 eggs, beaten
55g/2 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
225g/8oz self raising flour, sieved
For the glaze
55g/2oz icing sugar (optional)
1 tbsp raw honey
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3 and butter and line the bottom of a 7in/18cm
springform cake pan.
Measure the honey, butter, sugar and sage leaves into a medium saucepan and heat gently
until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled slightly
remove sage leaves.
Combine honey mixture, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon and flour in a mixing bowl
and beat until smooth.
Spoon into the cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until the cake is springy to the touch
and shrinking slightly from the sides of the pan.
Cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.
While the cake is still warm, make the icing by mixing the sugar and honey together with 2-3 teaspoons of hot water. Poke the top of the cake with a toothpick and drizzle honey sauce over the top and decorate with sage leaves
Scullery Notes: for less sweet version, leave out the glaze, it’s just as lovely with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, or brandy cream!
I will announce the Irish Taste Club recipient on my next post! Happy Thanksgiving!