One of my resolutions for 2014 is to use my cookbooks more often. I am so used to looking up recipes online (using Pinterest, Foodgawker or my favourite food blogs) that I forget to check my books first, which is a shame as I have some amazing ones at home!
One of the most famous London bakeries is The Hummingbird Bakery. I received their Cake Days cookbook as a present and I love the recipes in it: simple, effective and well tested to work in any kitchen.
A few weeks ago I made their Walnut & Honey Cake. It was a last minute decision on a lazy Sunday and I chose it because I could use basic ingredients I had at home. I used Manuka honey from our recent trip to New Zealand, though admittedly this type of honey is too expensive to be used in baking as once it’s cooked it loses its peculiar taste and anti-bacterial properties.
The cake was soft and moist, not overly sweet and with just a little of the honey flavour. It is perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack, as it pairs very well with a coffee or tea.
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a loaf tin and dust with flour. In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one.
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the cake batter little by little and keep mixing. When all is well combined, add yogurt, vanilla essence and one tablespoon of honey. Chop the walnuts coarsely and incorporate them to the cake mix using a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then release from the tin and let cool completely.
Prepare the honey syrup. Pour 50ml of water and one tablespoon of honey into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Let cook until the liquid has reduced by half. When you remove the cake from the tin, pour the syrup over it.