HERE are some gentle autumnal tea-time recipes: the first is for a Carrot cake, and the second is an austerity recipe for honey biscuits from the Ministry of Food, republished in Elizabeth Gowing’s The Little Book of Honey (Elbow, 2012).
150g (5½ oz) self-raising flour
50g (2 oz) chopped walnuts
100g (3 oz) ground almonds
50g (2 oz) raisins
4 teaspoons ground mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
105ml (4 fl. oz) vegetable oil or melted butter
3 tablespoons milk
300g (12 oz) carrots, finely grated
150g (5oz) cream cheese
a little honey, to taste
the juice and zest of a well-scrubbed orange
Set the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the base of a 20cm (8-inch) springform cake tin with baking parchment. Mix the flour, almonds, raisins, walnuts, mixed spice, and bicarbonate of soda.
Whisk the eggs, oil, and milk, and then stir in the grated carrot. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Bake in the tin, in the centre of the oven, for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out cleanly. Leave your cake to cool in the tin, and sprinkle the orange juice over it. When it is cool, turn it out, and cover it with the cream cheese, honey, and orange zest, well beaten together.
I use butter instead of margarine for the Austerity biscuits.
70g (2½ oz) margarine
25g (1 oz) sugar
2 tablespoons honey
150g (6 oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
Cream the margarine and sugar. Add the honey, and work in the flour, cinnamon, and salt. Roll out until ¼-inch thick. Cut into rounds, place on a baking sheet, and bake in a moderately hot oven for 10 minutes.
I liked Elizabeth’s recipe for Shandatlie honey-and-walnut cake, and follow her suggestion of replacing the sugar syrup with honey, or a mixture of honey and agave syrup, which has a lighter flavour.
¾ cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
5 tablespoons honey
¾ cup ground walnuts
3 cups flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the syrup:
3 cups of vanilla sugar, or clear honey and/or agave syrup
Light the oven to 175°C. Butter an 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Mix the cake ingredients well, leaving enough beaten egg to brush the top of the cake before baking it for 40 minutes. Cool it in the tin and chill it before cutting it into diamond shapes. Dissolve the rest of the sugar in 2½ cups water, and bring to the boil until the syrup spins a long thread. Pour the syrup over the cake, leaving it for at least two hours to absorb it.