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Honey Cake

The Greeks were very fond of honey, and believed that they would have a longer, healthier life if they ate it; the Romans, too, ate honey cake. By the 18th century it was popular in Britain, where it was made in different regions using the local honey.

ingredients

makes 12 - 16 squares
225 ml (8 fl oz) clear honey plus 45 ml (3 tbsp)
75 g (3 oz) butter
350 g (12 oz) plain wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
5 ml (1 tsp) ground mixed spice
5 ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda
50 g (2 oz) glace cherries, halved
50 g (2 oz) chopped mixed peel
3 eggs
45 ml (3 tbsp) fresh milk
grated rind of 1 large lemon
25g (1 oz) flaked almonds

method

1. Grease a 20.5 cm (8 inch) square cake tin and line the base and sides with greaseproof paper.

2. Pour 225 ml (8 fl oz) honey into a saucepan, add the butter and heat gently, stirring, until blended.

3. Sift the flour, salt, spice and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, stirring in any bran left in the sieve. Add the cherries and peel.

4. Beat the eggs and the milk together and stir into the honey mixture with the lemon rind. Pour gradually on to the dry ingredients, beating well after each addition, until well blended.

5. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake at 170°C (325°F) mark 3 for about 1 1/4 hours, until the cake is firm to the touch or a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out
clean.

6. Using a skewer, prick the top of the cake and spoon over the remaining honey. Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack. Do not remove the lining paper until the cake is cold.

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