Sunday, 30 September 2012

Honey cake with walnuts and mascarpone

There are many versions of the Russian honey cake. I have been baking honey cakes for many years, following numerous recipes. This recipe is not exactly a traditional Russian recipe, but more of a variation on the theme.

The last time I baked the honey cake the soured cream for the cream filling was too runny. As my Philips Fresh Cooks party was approaching, I wanted to treat my guests to a selection of cakes.
I wanted to find a substitute for the soured cream that wouldn't be runny. Mascarpone on its own would have been a bit too sweet, so I decided to add some plain fromage frais to add a sour note.
It happened to be a winning combination, it was a thick cream, not too sweet, not too sour, and it matched the sweetness of the honey-based cake very well.

170g self-raising flour
100g butter, melted
2 medium eggs
200g granulated sugar
2 heaped tbsp honey (I used Tiptree Orange Blossom honey)
1 tsp baking powder
50g ground almonds

for the cream
200g chopped walnuts
200g fromage frais
250ml mascarpone

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 3. Butter and line the bottom of a 20cm cake tin.
  2. Beat the eggs with sugar in a big bowl, using a hand blender. Add the melted butter, honey, baking powder, ground almonds and flour and mix well.
  3. Pour the contents into the cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, check if the wooden skewer comes clean. It should be springy to the touch and slightly shrinking from the sides of the tin. If the wooden skewer is still sticky, cover the cake tin with the foil, and leave in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  4. Cool the cake in the tin slightly and turn out onto a wire rack. Once the cake is cool, slice the cake into 3 layers (one layer slightly narrower than the other two).
  5. Take the narrow layer of the cake and break it into pieces. Mix the pieces with half of the fromage frais, mascarpone and walnuts.
  6. Spread the fromage frais & cake pieces' layer on top of one cake layer, top up with the second one. Spread the remaining mix of fromage frais, mascarpone and walnuts on top of your cake and the sides.
  7. Leave in the fridge overnight, covered with foil. The honey cake is quite dry, so you need time for the cake to become moist.

I forgot to take the photo of the cake before the party so you can only see the slice of the cake. :)