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I love cake. It is a weakness of mine. I try to always have some sort of cake in the house, preferably homemade. Perhaps that is why I look the way I do. ðŸ˜
Be that as it may, I am a happy person, and cake is one of my little joys in life.
This recipe for Portuguese Honey Cake is one I adapted from The Redpath Canadian Bake Book, by Redpath Sugar. It is filled with over 200 recipes for cakes, cookies, breads, pies, etc. I love it!
But then again, I love to bake. I had never considered myself to be much of a baker, but I have come to realize late in life that I am. If I was a much younger woman, I would probably study the art of patisserie and baking, but I am a bit too long in the tooth now.
The original Portuguese Honey Cake comes from the Island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal. I have never been there myself, but it was on my bucket list at one time.
Madeira is one of two autonomous regions of Portugal, the other one being the Azores. It is known for its fortified wine, beautiful seafood and this delicious cake, which you will find there baked into much smaller cakes that are traditionally broken not cut.
This cake has a beautiful unique flavor, owing to the use of honey, as well as lemon, cinnamon and olive oil, and by that I mean extra virgin olive oil.
Normally in a cake you wouldn’t use the assertive flavor of an extra virgin olive oil, but here it totally works. You will see evo used in a lot of cakes in this region and the Mediterranean.
It has a lovely dense texture and yet at the same time it is very light. I found it to be really lovely.
You will want to use a honey in this with a beautiful flavor. Redpath suggests a honey with a floral bouquet and flavor. Something like a clover or a wildflower honey would be good.
And yet, now having tasted this delicious cake, I find myself wondering how it would taste if I were to make it using Greek Honey.
Greek honey is considered to be some of the finest honey in the world. I adore it personally. It almost as a bit of an anise flavor to it. The darker the honey, the more like anise it tastes.
I think the flavor of it would go very well with the lemon in this cake, as well as the cinnamon.
I used Dori Greenspan’s technique of rubbing lemon zest into sugar when baking. This really helps to bring out the natural oils of the lemon and makes for a very fragrant combination.
I used to belong to a baking group that was baking its way through Dori’s book, Baking From My Home to Yours. Each week we would bake, ensemble, a recipe from the book.
It was great fun and I have to say I made a few really great friends from the group, some of whom I am still friends with today. I am pretty sure that is how Monique (La Table de Nana) and I discovered each other!
So anyways, I have been doing that with my citrus zests ever since. It does make a difference in the end result, I have to say. I highly recommend you try it at least once.
You would think that with such assertive flavors in a cake, they might overwhelm each other, but they simply don’t
They work beautifully well with each other . . . with no one flavor dominating.
With each bite of cake you get the essence of the honey, a bit of citrus and the hint of cinnamon, not forgetting the richness of the olive oil.
It also smells really wonderful when it is baking. Open your doors so that the whole neighborhood also gets to enjoy it!
I sent half of the cake over to a friend that I had prepared a meal for. I have not heard what they thought of it, but I am sure it went over well.
The flaked almonds on top add a lovely look and crunch to this cake. I do so love a cake topped with almonds, don’t you?
I didn’t bother to toast these first as they are only sprinkled on top of the cake and I knew they would get a nice toasting in the heat of the oven.
This cake seems to become even more delicious as the days pass. I just had a piece (three days later) and it was even nicer than it was on the first day.
I have been tempted to toast it, and spread it with butter . . . glutton that I am.
This is a cake that is perfect for the tea table, served with a hot cuppa, or with coffee for breakfast. It would make a lovely dessert served with fresh berries.
If you are a drinker, you may want to serve it thinly sliced along with a small shot of madeira wine or sweet sherry.
Or, if you are like me, you will just want to enjoy it any time with any thing! Fact being, you WILL enjoy it!! I am so happy it tempted me into doing just that!
Portuguese Honey Cake
Yield: 0ne (8 by 4-inch) loaf, 10 servings
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 35 MinTotal time: 55 Min
Make sure you use a really nice flavored honey for this moist and delicious cake!
1 1/4 cups (175g) plain all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
3/4 cup (160g) fine granulated sugar (caster sugar)
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon
4 large free-range eggs, divided
1/3 cup (80ml) liquid honey
1 TBS freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup (80ml) extra virgin olive oil
4 TBS flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 350*F/ 180*C/ gas mark 3. Butter an 8 by 4-inch loaf tin. Dust lightly with flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside. (Alternately you may line the tin with baking parchment. I like to leave an overhang to lift the baked cake out with.)
Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt together into a bowl. Set aside.
Measure the sugar into a bowl. Add the lemon zest and rub it together until very fragrant. Add the egg yolks and beat the sugar and egg yolks together for three minutes at high speed. Add the honey and the lemon juice and beat for a further minute.
Add the flour mixture to the egg/sugar mixture, alternately with the olive oil, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat until there are only a few streaks of flour.
Using clean beaters, whisk the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold half of the egg white mixture into the batter. Fold the remaining egg white mixture in until just combined. Don’t over mix, a few white streaks should remain.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Tap the loaf tin lightly on the counter a couple of times to release any air bubbles, then sprinkle the flaked almonds evenly over the top of the cake.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until risen and golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. If you think your cake is getting too brown, cover the pan loosely with foil.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before tipping the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely (Upright). (If you have used baking paper, you should just be able to lift it out.)
Cut into slices to serve, using a serrated knife.
Store any leftover cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
This cake can also be baked in an 8-inch Bundt pan. Butter the pan really well and dust with flour, shaking out any excess flour. Mix and bake as above. Let cool in the pan for five minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen and tip out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com
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