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17th Century Honey Cake

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This is a delicious loaf cake that I baked a week or so ago and am only now just getting to show you.  I have adapted the recipe from a National Trust Cookery book, entitled, "Good Old-Fashioned Cakes," by Jane Pettigrew.  It is said that this recipe dates back to the 17th century, so its a very old recipe indeed!

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Honey is one of the first sweeteners known to mankind and a daily dose of honey is said to be very good for you, boosting the body's supply of anti-oxidents which help to protect us from age-related diseases.  I'm all for good health!  Honey in a cake? Yes, please!

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This is one of those cakes which seems to get better tasting with each day that passes . . . I love cakes like that.  It is also a cake which just begs to be enjoyed along with a cup of tea.  I love it with Lemon and Ginger tea myself, but you can enjoy it with whatever tea it is you enjoy drinking.

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The cake itself is delicately flavoured with honey and almond . . .  after baking a drizzle of honey and lemon is applied to the warm cake, that soaks in, increasing it's moistness.  Then once it is cooled, it is iced with a lemon cream cheese icing.

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Say what???  A dense rich cake.  A lemon and  honey drizzle icing and then a cream cheese frosting???  Do I need to say more????  Get baking!  You know you want to!

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*Honey Cake*
Makes one 7 inch round cake
or 1 2-pound loaf cake

This tender and delicious cake is said to date back to the 17th century.  Honey is said to boost the immune system and guard against age related disease. 

For the cake:
175g of butter, softened (3/4 cup)
175g of caster sugar (scant cup)
3 large free range eggs, beaten
175g of self raising flour.sifted  (1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
1 TBS clear liquid honey
few drops almond extract 

for the glaze:
1 dessert spoon clear liquid honey
the juice of one lemon 

To ice:
150g of cream cheese (5 ounces)
the juice of half a lemon
175g of icing sugar, sifted (1 1/2 cups) 

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Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F gas mark 4.  Butter and line either a 7 inch round deep cake tin or a 2 pound loaf tin. 

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.   Beat in the eggs, one at a time.   Sift together the self raising flour and the baking powder.   Stir this into the creamed mixture and beat well to combine.   Beat in the honey and almond.  Scrap the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top over. 

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Bake for 1  to 1 1/4 hours.  Cover the top with a double sheet of baking paper about half an hour into the baking time to prevent it from over browning.  When done a toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean.  Remove from the oven.   Stir together the glaze ingredients and then spoon this mixture over top of the cake allowing it to soak in.  Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing from the tin. 

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Beat together the cream cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar and spread over the cooled cake.  Cut into slices or wedges to serve.  Store in an airtight container.

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Enjoy!  Bon Appetit!

Marie Rayner
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  1. A spot of tea and a cake nibble..comfort.

    1. For sure Monique, and I did have a little nibble . . . xo


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