Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's raining, we need Honey Walnut Cake. Pronto.

It's been raining. And raining. A whole lot.

The first black rain of the year hit Hong Kong. Trees were uprooted, urban and rural floods ruled the streets.

Out came my rain boots, and I dug deep to find the biggest umbrella I had, dragging out caprices, shorts, skirts - anything that wouldn't get dipped through the waters.

Days like these, you need soothing.
Warm comforts.
Dry feet.
Clothes that didn't drip.

I had my mandatory cup of coffee, but something wasn't right still.

Days like these, we need to stay calm, and eat cake.

I need a warm slice, a rustic comfort.

Honey Walnut Cake.
That's what I need.

And so it was.

Jamie Oliver (via Ella Miller of People We Love) has an amazing recipe packed to the gills with the richness of honey, and the aromas of cinnamon. Studded with walnuts, there's texture and there's a hint of a crunch.

The unexpected hit of bananas imparts a rich fragrance that makes the cake feel like Christmas, and the zingy citrus lifts the sweetness into a tongue-pleasing balance.
> Zingy ginger crunch

The recipe is built around the festival of Rosh Hashanah - the Jewish new year - hence it's dairy-free. I tried mine out with regular good quality milk and butter, reduced the butter and sugar by about 20%, and the cake turned out as beautifully.

Make sure you grease the pan very well, or turning out the cake will be a colossal pain.

The syrup at the end is a vital part of the process.

In my quest for balanced baking, I constantly look for ways to cut the sugars and butters in desserts, but this last bit of syrup-ing is totally worth it.

More balanced treats:
> Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day
Gula Melaka granola
Chocolate & Chai granola
Treats for the 2015 journey
> Herb sesame shortbread
> Chai spice cookies

The good thing is I've managed to make it work without added sugar - just honey, thinned out with lemon juice works perfectly.

The honey-lemon mixture imparts a moistness that makes each bite so mouth-watering, and extends the shelf life of the cake without it drying out.

Top with lemon zest, stud with dried roses - you're good to go.

Eat this warm if you can, with a hot cup of coffee, tea or chocolate.
I find this to be the perfect eating condition.


Taste of home

This is a cake that keeps well (keep covered on countertop, or in fridge if you really need to stretch it out) and can be made a couple of days in advance for a fuss-free party.

To clear skies ahead!
> Desserts for a hot day
> Awesome ways to use beer