Want to incorporate honey into a cake? Then try this rich honey and chocolate cake recipe by Nigella, which first appeared in Feast (2004). It includes how to make marzipan bees to decorate your topping.
Makes: about 10 slices
FOR THE CAKE
100 grams dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
275 grams light brown muscovado sugar
225 grams soft butter
125 millilitres runny honey
2 large eggs
200 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
250 millilitres boiling water
FOR THE STICKY HONEY GLAZE
60 millilitres water
125 millilitres runny honey
175 grams dark chocolate
75 grams icing sugar
FOR THE BEES
25 grams yellow marzipan
12 flaked almonds
1 Take whatever you need out of the fridge so that all the ingredients can come to room temperature. While that’s happening, melt the chocolate from the cake part of the ingredients list in a good-sized bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly.
2 Preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180°C/350ºF, and butter and line a 23cm / 9 inch springform cake tin.
3 Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the runny honey. Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour. Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda. Add the cocoa pushed through a tea strainer to ensure you have no lumps, and last of all, beat in the boiling water. (I don’t suppose there’s anything to stop you doing this all-in-one in the processor, blitzing everything except the boiling water, and then scraping down the batter and pouring the water down the funnel with the motor running.) Mix everything well to make a smooth batter and pour into the prepared tin. Cook for up to an hour and a half, though check the cake after 45 minutes and if it is catching cover the top lightly with foil and check every 15 minutes.
4 Let the cake cool completely in the tin on a rack.
5 To make the glaze, bring the water and runny honey to a boil in a smallish, though not tiny, saucepan, then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate (I use my mezzaluna or 70 per cent cocoa solids buttons), swirling it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk together. Sieve in the icing sugar and whisk again until smooth.
6 Choose your plate or stand and cut out four strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that when you sit the cake on and ice it, the icing will not run out all over the plate. Unclip the tin and sit the thoroughly cooled cake on the prepared plate. Pour the icing over the cold runny honey chocolate cake and smooth it down the sides. I should warn you that the glaze stays tacky for ages (this is what gives it its lovely melting gooeyness) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it. You can then very gently slide out the strips of baking paper to reveal a clean plate. Keep the pan of icing, and don’t wash it up, as you will need it to make the stripes on the bees.
7 Divide the marzipan into six even pieces and shape them into fat, sausage-like bees’ bodies, slightly tapered at the ends.
8 Using a wooden skewer, paint stripes with the sticky runny honey glaze left in the pan. About three stripes look best, in my not enormously considered opinion, and then very carefully attach the flaked almonds at an angle to make the bees’ wings, two on each one (unsurprisingly). They might snap as you dig them into the marzipan bodies, so have some spare. I have to admit that, I also like to give them eyes by dipping the point of the skewer in the glaze and thence on the bees: they look more loveable with an expression, but this is where the Disney effect comes in. If a more imperial dignity is required, forgo the dotting of the eyes and present this as your Napoleonic Chocolate Cake.