Chamomile Honey Almond Cake


Tell me if it's weird to adore a series of books written for children and to create recipes indirectly inspired by them. Actually, don't tell me. I don't care. I mean, if you're that stodgy kind of person who thinks that children's books are just for children, then okay. You can just skip this post entirely because lets be real: you can't talk about Winnie-the-Pooh without talking about honey. And you can't talk about honey without talking about bees and once you get me started on honeybees you'll probably wish I'd just shut up. Yes, the honeybee obsession continues in good health, thank you. How's your hive life?

“The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” - Henry David Thoreau

Ah, sunbeams. Winter, much as I love it, seems to be long on darkness, short on sunshine. And nothing says warmth and sunshine like a slice of honey cake. More dessert recipes. Gee, thanks, Rachel. We only just got over the Christmas indulgences. Personally I was too busy this holiday season to go to many parties – actually, I was only invited to two parties...which I missed – which meant I didn't have the chance to totally wear myself out on everyone's amazing baked goods and decadent fudge. You have more of a conscience when you have to make whatever you're splurging on and buy the ingredients too. That being said, I enter the new year not entirely sick to death of sweets. Still, January is that conscientious month of the year. Yay, everybody, renew that gym membership. In honor of the sunshine shortage and all of you who are trying to detox from the holiday excess, I created this gluten free chamomile honey almond cake. To give it...well...flowers for lack of a better term (and an added “relaxed summer vibe") I quickly infused the honey with chamomile by melting it over a double-boiler and steeping the contents of two chamomile tea bags in the honey for ten or fifteen minutes. You can infuse raw honey with herbs/spices without heating it but it takes about two weeks of playing “snow globe” with a jar and I'm totally not one of those plan-ahead people which is probably why every recipe for the last month has been some kind of dessert. Cravings + common on-hand ingredients = dessert. Anyway, back to the raw honey. Since the honey was to be baked in a cake anyway, going the quick method was not a problem. I started with the gluten free honey-almond cake from Cookie & Kate and took seven hundred liberties with the recipe to turn it into something a health-conscious Kanga might break out on Roo's bday with everybody in the Hundred Acre Wood.






This moist cake (which I've dubbed “the honeybee” - you're welcs) is hefty, floral, and a bit dense. Not dense in a discouraging, “failed to rise” way but in a substantial, “I can be eaten for breakfast” way.” If a muffin and a cake had a love-child, she might look like this. And really, who would pass up a chance to eat cake for breakfast? Encased in delightful coconut cream “frosting” and dusted with bee pollen, this cake will have you entering January feeling fab. Look at you, Queen Bee.


Honey Bee Cake (Gluten Free Honey Almond Cake)

-cake-
4 cups finely ground almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup chamomile-infused honey*
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1 Tablespoon regular honey
Juice of one lemon
-frosting-
1 13-oz. can full-fat coconut milk, chilled
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
bee pollen for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease two 9” round pans with coconut oil and “flour” with almond meal. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat eggs, then slowly drizzle in infused honey. Whisk in melted coconut oil. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat together with a few swift strokes until just combined.
  4. Divide evenly into cake pans and smooth top with spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Tops should spring back lightly when touched.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before flipping out of pans.
  6. In a double-boiler, warm honey and lemon juice until combined. Brush over-top cake layers.
  7. For frosting: take coconut milk from fridge and scoop out separated cream. Save remaining “water” for use in smoothies or another recipe. With a whisk attachment on your mixer, beat coconut cream until light and fluffy. Add honey, vanilla, and sea salt. Beat another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Assemble the cake by icing between layers. If you'd like a thicker, more traditional frosting double the frosting ingredients. Otherwise, ice “naked” on the sides and treat yo'self on the top! Garnish with drizzled honey and bee pollen.
  • To infuse honey by the “quick method,” heat 2/3 cup honey in a double boiler on the stove. Empty contents of two chamomile teabags into the honey and all to simmer and steep over heat for 10-15 minutes. Strain, discarding chamomile. Proceed to recipe.


That's it! I hope this mid-week between Christmas and New Years is full of rest, fun, and plenty of thin, diffused winter sunlight. 2017 or bust!

3 comments

  1. Looks very delicious and spring-like (bother winter). I will have to try it out. Speaking of Milne, I found a book of his short stories, The Sunny Side, the other day and thought "Wouldn't Rachel Heffington like this?" and still thought so after I read it. So if you haven't read it (hoping), I want to send it to you. I've very much enjoyed your writing and am inspired by your cooking and sensibilities, so here's my thanks and a big happy new year.
    Melanie Saunders

    (I was thinking of plaguing the post office with a vague "somewhere near Richmond" but thought better of it. Maybe a PO box?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melanie - what a kind idea! I have NOT read that book but obviously you know of my fondness for Milne/mail/books in general. A PO box would be a good idea if everyone was as generous-minded as you, but I'm not sure it would quite earn its keep yet. Alternately, if you want to send an email to rachellheffington@gmail.com, I can send you my mailing address. :)

      Delete
    2. Ah, perfect. I knew a PO box was stretching it but it felt weird to ask for anything else!

      Delete