Uni classes have officially finished for the semester, with this week dedicated to study prior to exams commencing. It’s a little over half way through day one of revision, revision and yet more revision and I’m already dreaming of all the baking I could be doing in another life. The kind of baking that requires little thinking. Minimal brain power. The kind that involves face-planting into said baked good and giving zilch consideration to other matters going on in the world. Baking is satisfying and straightforward. It’s productive. You’re guaranteed to get a pretty darn good end result (should we tack on a ‘most of the time here’?). You can see (and sneakily taste) the progress. Quite unlike some other aspects of life…I wonder what they could be? Revision-time requires the simple things in life. For when your brain resembles scrambled eggs, a muddle of words and numbers. It requires homely things. And yup you guessed it, this is a homely cake. It’s neither fancy nor fussy to prepare.
A dense cake, well-suited to picnics or packed lunches. The whole-wheat flour and nuts lend themselves to a slightly more nutritious snack. We are talking about cake after all. Can’t be getting too healthy. Regardless, it’s the kind of cake that you don’t feel quite so guilty about after downing a big slab. A bonus when you’re plonked on your butt at a desk all day. In fact, the texture, whole-wheat flour and nuts help to ensure that you don’t consume a larger than life slice. You’ll be plenty satisfied with a small piece. And yes, I heard that disbelieving snort. Studying may turn one into a zombie, but it’s doesn’t cause deafness.
You don’t need to be Einstein to work out the flavour of this cake. The title says it all. The only aspect that throws a spanner in the works is a beautiful, glossy, spiced topping. While the cake is still warm from the oven, we’re going to brush a sweet sticky nutmeg syrup over the top. It’s that lick your fingers kind of stuff.
Despite the syrup topping, super-sweet cake it is not – move aside doughnuts, today we’re cutting back on the sinful deeds. Be sure to use a good quality honey as the flavour will shine through. Experiment with different types – try a delicate rose, or jump to the other end of the spectrum with a more hardy red-gum variety (or an equivalent for those of you who don’t live in the land of Aus). So, we’ve already established that this Whole-Wheat Honey Nut Cake is down with the afternoon tea/picnic scenario. However, it’d also lubbly-scrubbly (yep, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re making up words) for dessert, warmed slightly to intensify that honey flavour, and paired with a little cream or ice-cream.
It’s an all-round sensible cake. For days when you’re trying to be good and mature and, well, sensible. And not do a second more revision. Ah the contradictions of life.
Whole-Wheat Honey Nut Cake
Makes one 20cm diameter cake. Serves 6-8.
1 ¼ cups sour cream (I used light)
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 ¼ cups wholemeal flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp of honey, warmed gently
¼ cup walnuts, chopped
¼ cup almonds, chopped
1 tbsp margarine or softened butter
1 tbsp caster sugar
Heaped ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin (preferably spring form) and line the base and sides with baking paper.
In a large bowl beat the sour cream with a balloon whisk (or an electric mixer) until smooth. Gradually beat in the sugar and then the egg until well combined.
In a separate bowl whisk together the wholemeal flour and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour to the sour cream mixture in batches of three, mixing well after each addition. You should now have a thick, slightly floury and scone-like dough.
Stir the chopped nuts into the warmed honey and mix until well coated. Drizzle the honey-nut mixture over the cake batter and stir well to incorporate.
Spoon batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until browned on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Set the cake tin on a wire rack. Beat together the topping ingredients and brush over the top of the warm cake. Turn the cake out onto the wire rack to cool.
Serve warm or cool, either buttered or with cream or ice-cream.
Will keep for approximately 2 days in an airtight container. Also freezes well.
Source: Adapted from Margaret Fulton Baking: The Ultimate Collection