Honey and walnut loaf cake topped with cream cheese frosting, decorated with homemade honeycomb and finished with a drizzle of honey. What a beauty!
Before we get into the recipe I have to mention that this cake is made using fresher than fresh honey, harvested by my niece and nephew (with the help of their parents of course!). I was so pleased when they gifted me a jar of the honey, I immediately started harvesting a whole load of baking ideas, with this cake being the top of the list.
How to make honeycomb
Making honeycomb is so much easier than I thought it would be! I followed BBC Good Food’s Video Tutorial which was super helpful to see how it was meant to look at each stage. I definitely recommend giving that a watch, and here are a few of my own top tips to help you out:
Tip #1 – Be REALLY patient
It can take a while for the sugar to dissolve and turn to liquid. I had to patiently wait a good 10 minutes for this to happen. Just don’t be tempted to turn the heat up, it won’t speed it up and instead you’ll probably end up burning the sugar.
Tip #2 – Look for a deep golden colour
Before you add the bicarbonate of soda, you want the sugar to be a really deep golden colour and reaching a rolling boil in the saucepan. Think the colour of maple syrup. If you add the bicarb too early when the sugar isn’t hot enough, the honeycomb will end up chewy rather than crunchy.
Tip #3 – Only stir the bicarb in for a couple of seconds
As soon as you add the bicarb the honeycomb with froth and bubble up, you only want to stir the mixture for a couple of seconds before pouring it onto the greaseproof paper. Over-stirring will deflate the honeycomb and it won’t have those lovely air pockets throughout.
How to decorate your honey and walnut loaf cake
I chose to decorate my cake with cream cheese frosting. It’s not as sweet as traditional buttercream and the tangy flavour of cream cheese pairs so well with honey. This recipe makes enough for a nice thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Use a spoon or a spatula to swirl the frosting on top.
The final touch
A drizzle of honey is the finishing touch for this cake. Do this just before you’re ready to serve the cake, otherwise, the honey will soften the honeycomb.
Honey and Walnut Loaf Cake Recipe (makes 8-10 slices)
For the loaf cake:
200g Stork tub (margarine) or unsalted butter
170g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
200g self-raising flour
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons milk
100g chopped walnuts
For the cream cheese frosting:
70g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
150g icing sugar
70g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge
For the honeycomb:
100g caster sugar
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
Start by making the loaf cake.
Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract together until pale and creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of the flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling.
Now add the remaining flour, milk and honey and mix together until fully combined. Add the chopped walnuts and fold everything together one last time.
Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the baking tin before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Whilst the cake cools make the honeycomb.
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
In a large saucepan add the caster sugar and honey. Heat gently on a low temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and a clear liquid has formed. You’ll need to be patient as this can take 10 minutes or so.
Now turn the heat up to medium and heat the liquid until it is bubbling up and has turned a golden amber colour. Stir occasionally to prevent the sugar from burning. Again be patient as this can take another 10 minutes.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the bicarbonate of soda and immediately stir into the mixture until the powder has dissolved. This will happen very quickly and the mixture will foam and bubble up. Pour the honeycomb onto the greaseproof paper and leave to set.
Now make the cream cheese frosting.
Beat the butter and icing sugar with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese (cold from the fridge) and fold into the mixture until just combined. Be careful not to overdo it, as it can quickly become runny.
Time to decorate!
Spread the cream cheese frosting on top of the cake. Use your hands to break up the honeycomb into shards and scatter them on top of the frosting. Finish with a drizzle of honey.
Store your honey and walnut loaf cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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