After being sentenced to a silent day at home by DJP due to my voice going from sounding like a goose being run over to nothing more than a lifeless whisper I needed something to fill my time in with. That something was cake.
I've also been forbidden from making my own wedding cake and as the beauty of social media algorithms would have it I have had nothing but wedding cake come up on my Instagram feed.
My OG cake sensei Sue has the honour of making our cake. It is guaranteed to be delicious and moist and not crumbly. It will probably be lemon because lemon is delicious and no one dislikes lemon (if you do the exits will be very clearly sign posted). Even though this task has been completely removed from my hands (because lets be honest I would prioritise icing over having my hair down the morning of) I am still going to pretend like I need to make a hundred prototypes as part of my "research".
This is where this particular cake comes in. I made a long list of potential flavour ideas and this one just happened to be first. This originated as a recipe from Jordan Rondel's book The Caker. Truth be told I've had this book for years but clearly have never been sophisticated enough to ever use it until now. To her earl grey honey cake I included some dried lavender in the tea brew, some additional spices in the mix and swapped out thickened cream for mascarpone. The batter for this cake was just glorious. It was spicy, it had that warm glow of honey and florals and when it baked it formed a kind of honey comb bubble pattern on the top and a chew in the crust. Very rarely do I get this excited at the thought of slicing into a cake.
Since the flavours in the sponge are so intricate you don't want to overpower them with a heavy and cloyingly sweet icing. This is where the mascarpone (or the thickened cream) comes in. It is rich and creamy sure but it provides a dreamy-cloud like vessel for that flavour soft delivery.
From the first bite I took I have been trying to push this cake onto other people so they can try it too. This cake is glorious. It is a joy to eat. I know I've been saying this recently with every new cake I have been making but this is the best cake I have eaten in a long time. For a while I thought I didn't even like cake that much anymore but this cake made me see the light. It is the ultimate tea cake - it has guts unlike a sponge but it's not too much unlike a dense buttercream covered birthday cake. It is the sort of cake you can viably pitch in for a second slice and not feel ill afterward. You can have it for morning tea, afternoon tea or even dessert. Having this cake sitting under a glass dome on my kitchen bench makes me feel like I know what's up. Oh and it slices so well. No crazy crumbs everywhere. It cuts into the most civilised of slices. I bet if I left it unattended at a gathering I wouldn't come back to find some slasher movie cake massacre either.
Ah and did I tell you it's moist? So moist.
This cake is a winner. It's an afternoon tea slicer, come back for secondser, I know what's good in life kinda cake. You should make it.
Earl Grey and Lavender Honey Cake with Mascarpone Filling
Adapted from Jordan Rondel's recipe in The Caker.
For the cakes
200g plain flour
120g ground almond
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
150g salted butter
320g clover honey
150g brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 earl grey tea bags
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
1 cup boiling water (note you will only need 2/3 cup of the finished tea)
For the filling
2 tablespoons warm runny clover honey
Dried lavender and fresh flowers to garnish
Using the tea bags, dried lavender and boiling water make a strong brew of tea. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease and line two 20cm cake tIns. In a standing mixer whisk together the flour, almond, raising agents, spices and brown sugar until nice and homogenous. In a small saucepan melt your butter and your honey together. Using a sieve, strain the lavender petals out of the tea brew.
Add the butter and honey, eggs, vanilla and 2/3 cup of strained tea to the standing mixer bowl. Quickly mix until there are only just no flour clumps. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake tins and bake for around 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool fully before assembling.
Once the cakes are cooled whip together your mascarpone and honey. The warmer the mascarpone the silkier it is to spread over cake so I recommend leaving it to warm on the bench around about the same time the cakes come out of the oven. Spread half of the mascarpone on one of the cakes, place the second one on top and spread over the remaining mascarpone. Decorate with a few more drizzles of honey and a sprinkling of petals.
Enjoy x (this cake is best eaten the day it is assembled - if for some reason you end up with left overs, store these in the fridge so the mascarpone doesn't go funky. The fridge dries cake out though so eat leftovers ASAP).