There are occasions when you don't need to prepare the entire entertainment yourself like potluck party or you are invited for an afternoon tea etc. This is a good opportunity to cook something which might require slightly more preparation time, but makes up for it in looks or taste departments. In my next posts I am going to share cakes recipes exactly for these types of occasions.
Honeycomb Cake with Dry Apricots Recipe
I absolutely adore honey cakes. I was surprised that in the UK those are not very popular and with the exception of the gingerbread varieties I was not able to find any actually. Well, it's a different story in Eastern Europe, almost every country got their favorite. Honey cakes are slightly more time consuming because of the number of layers needed and overnight fridge time required for layers to absorb all the moisture from the cream and soften. But for me and my family it's always worth it!
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of fine sugar
- 2 generous Tbsp of any honey
- 100 g of unsalted butter
- roughly 3.5 cups of plain flour (the exact amount will depend on honey type you've chosen and gluten content in the flour)
- 3 tsp baking powder or 1.5 tsp of baking soda
- 300 g dried apricots
- 40 g of chopped roasted hazelnuts
- Main cream: 400 ml of full fat cream-fraiche or double cream + 1/2 cup of fine sugar + 2 Tbsp of brandy (optional)
- Top layer: 100 mascarpone + 50 ml of caramel condensed milk
- yellow/orange jello of any type
- cleaned and washed piece of the bubble cellophane used for wrapping
- chocolate or black marzipan paste, writing icing and almond flakes for small "bees"
- baked large bees (optional)
- Beat eggs with sugar until fluffy, then mix this with warm (not hot) mixture of honey and melted butter in a heat proof dish. Add baking soda or powder. Put the dish inside a bigger pot filled with hot water and heat the mixture in a water bath until it roughly doubles in size.
- Mix hot mixture from above with the flour and let it cool down
- Split the dough into 7 even balls
Roll out the dough to the rough shape of your cake form and cut it to the shape (don't throw out the cut offs and don't mix those back into the dough). Butter the cake form and dust it slightly with the flour. Place the dough on the baking sheet and pierce it with the fork evenly all over the layer. Bake each layer at 180C for roughly 5 min until golden as per the picture. You can prepare next batch while baking. At the end, bake all the cut-offs too, you will crush them later and use to decorate sides of the cake. So, altogether layers preparation should take about 40 minutes. Don't get scared when your dough layers become stone like, this will be taken care of when they spend about 8 hours in the fridge absorbing all the moisture from the cream.
Wash dried apricots, add about 0.5 cup of water, then simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Leave to cool without removing from the liquid. Remove the apricots from the liquid when cooled and process into a paste.
Prepare the main layering cream: mix together double cream or cream fraiche with sugar and brandy until soft peaks are forming.
Optionally, you can bake some additional decorations like bees, butterflies etc out of other type of dough.
Put together a cake by spreading each dough layer with generous portion of cream, sprinkle 3rd and 6th layer with hazelnuts, and add the apricot paste layer between 4th and 5th dough layer.
Cover the upper layer and sides with the generous portion of mascarpone mixture (mix mascarpone with the caramel milk and remains of the main cream if any). Then, cover the sides of the cake with crushed dough bits. Put a piece of bubble wrap on top and place in the fridge for the next 8-10 hours or overnight (mandatory!). After the fridge time, remove the bubble wrap (while the cake is still cold and firm) and sprinkle the top with any yellow or orange fruit jello in your disposal (if you don't have any, you can dissolve some gelatin with orange coloring). Put the cake back into the fridge for the jello to set.
Decorate with small bees or optional larger decorations before serving. Please, note that, if you prepare the bees out of sugar paste, with time they will dissolve from the moisture in the cream, so decorate with those at the last possible moment.