There are over half a million bees buzzing around Bloomsbury, St Giles and Holborn, thanks to inmidtown's Urban Bee Keeping project. Bees mean honey, and we in the Cake Shop have got our hands on some this month. It's been sweetening our spicy Korean pork waffle, and since it's coming up for Easter – what would Easter be without simnel cake? – I had to get baking.
I've based my cake on one of my favourites from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet. The man himself recommends tweaking – and the great thing about his recipes, in my experience, is that they never fail, even if your tweaking is on the strong side.
I've used inmidtown's honey in his cinnamon honey fruit cake, and added slow-soaked fruits, pecans, and big chunks of ginger and orange, as well as two types of whiskey instead of the brandy. Dan's recipe is below. If you get yourself along to the Cake Shop in the very near future, you might be lucky enough to grab a slice of my version before it's gone.
Dan Lepard's cinnamon honey fruit cake
Ingredients: 200g raisins; 200g dried apricots, chopped; 200g dried figs or prunes, chopped; 200g dried figs or prunes, chopped; 75g light soft brown sugar; 75g unsalted butter, softened; 75g honey (acacia or orange blossom is good); 50g treacle; 2 tsp ground cinnamon; 2 large eggs; 75ml brandy or cold tea; 200g plain flour; 1½ tsp baking powder
- Line the base and sides of a 20cm round cake tin with baking parchment. Weigh out the fruit first, because it's a bit of a pain to be scrambling around in the cupboard once you've mixed everything together. Substitute where you need to - for instance, if you hate figs but love dates, they'll do nicely; and if you like whole almonds, then pop in 100g of them, too.
- Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3. Beat together the sugar, butter, honey, treacle, cinnamon and one of the eggs until creamy and smooth. Add the other egg, along with the brandy or tea, and beat well. The mixture will look dark and curdled, but for this fruit cake that's quite all right.
- Sift in the flour and baking powder, beat well, then fold in the fruit and nuts until evenly combined. Spoon into the tin, smooth the top, and bake for about an hour and a half.