Honey Pecan Cake

A wonderful light cake fragrant and sticky with honey and pecans

Possibly one of the best cakes I've ever made. Quite something.
Possibly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Quite something.

Possibly the best cake I have ever made and I think my dedication to cake is well established.

For a few weeks I’ve had a hankering for a honey-scented cake, similar to my quest for a decent honey ice-cream, even though ice-cream and my stomach don’t see eye-to-eye.

Honey pecan cake.
Honey pecan cake.

Food52’s Baking book delivered. Honey AND pecans, we were onto a winner.

There are steps, there are bowls, just work with it.

The caramel pecan base
The caramel pecan base

Food52 uses a 23cm round springform pan with baking paper that comes up above the join but this sounded like a doomed plan to me so I used a 20cm square tin, which I lined with one piece of baking paper with no joins in it whatsoever (so the caramel can’t escape)

Honey Pecan Cake
A stunning combination of honey and pecans in a delicate cake
For the topping
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup pecan halves
For the cake
  • ½ cup pecans
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 110g butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and line your prefered pan
For the topping
  1. Melt the butter with the honey then pour over the bottom of the pan
  2. Evenly spread the pecans over it
For the cake
  1. Blitz the pecans into a flour, add to the plain flour and set aside
  2. Whisk the eggwhites to stiff peaks and set aside
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until pale
  4. Then add the egg yolks, then the honey, vanilla and buttermilk
  5. Gently stir in the flours
  6. Gently fold through the egg whites and then spoon into the pan over the pecans
  7. Bake for 35-40mins
  8. Let it cool a little then flip onto a serving platter
  9. It'd be divine with ice-cream or cream. Or both.



Presented without comment

Scene: rooftop carpark of major shopping centre. A not elderly gentleman sitting on a mobility scooter, shirt off, sunbaking.

Scene: outside school gates at pick-up time. Father, holding a young baby, drinking from a VB longneck.

Watching: another episode of The Biggest Loser. This year the criteria is fat AND (more) stupid. (I think that’s a comment)

Watching: the finale of The Bachelorette. I would be ashamed we watched this were it not for the fact it was largely hate-watching. That said I thought Sam was a top bird and Sascha seemed like a daggy dad type of guy so I wish them well. (which technically is a comment)

Watching: Gogglebox – basically the best show on television. I’m quite certain what this says about my mental capacity and I simply do not care.

Desire: a new set of saucepans. I’ve had mine since mum gave them to me for my 21st (and she’d had them in storage for me for a few years before that) and they’ve served their purpose well. But I want heavy-based ones like these. I saw them in the shops the other day, liked their weight then lost my breath at their price. There’s some super cheap on eBay at the moment but I can’t quite hit the buy button.

Reality: I have a thousand mugs but most of them are for my holiday house. When I buy one (never going to happen). Every time I go to the shops (rare) I am on the look-out for nice mugs. I’m yet to find ones I like. I’ve decided it is a lost cause and finding a mug with a thin lip* is impossible.

Action: In searching for mugs I ended up in at T2 where I spent a housing deposit on its Irish breakfast blend (because the Twining variety is not strong enough for my discerning palate), a fancy (plastic) jug and two herbal tisanes** to trick the boys into thinking it is iced tea just like the sugar poison! -laden ones. This outlay seems only to have worked on Oscar and considering he’d probably eat cardboard doesn’t count.

Targets for irrational hatred: mobility scooters, elderly drivers, people who do not pull to the left or right side of the lane when turning.

Winning: signed up for Presto after ongoing disappointment with Netflix and irritation with Stan. Result? 30 Rock and far better movie offerings.

Highlight: Being there for a friend earlier this week when she needed a sounding board and a subsequent walk amble around the lake (8km) with her later in the week.

Realisation: I can not be friends with gluten. This makes me sad but (largely) removing it from my diet transforms me into a better version of me.

Anticipation: It’s Friday and I’m staring at a weekend of cooking bacon cancer! and cheese pinwheels, cinnamon scrolls and something else I can’t recall as per the specific request of Felix. So weight loss plans and gluten-free existence working well then.



*If there’s one thing my mother taught me, it’s that a tea cup must have a thin lip.


New Favourite

By no means their most recent but I’m listening to their entire catalogue a lot lately.


Jasper is 10.

Because who isn't up at 12:45pm making cupcakes for a boy about to turn 10. (that's meant to be purple icing, not grey. No really)
Because who isn’t up at 12:45pm making cupcakes for a boy about to turn 10. (that’s meant to be purple icing, not grey. No really)

Jasper is 10 today. It’s such a cliche but I really can’t quite believe it. When we discovered I was pregnant with him I’d just returned to a full-time salaried job in a government department. I’d also just enrolled in my Masters of Creative Writing at UTS.

The boys 19Feb06 Jasper 4mths 12

It was such a surprise but we were all so excited about a new baby. The big boys were both at school, Oscar in Year 1, Felix in Kindy and we thought we were done, but Jasper decided otherwise.

Jasper at 1

He was the most happy, joyous contented baby in the world. We indeed called him Jasper, the happiest baby in the world!, just like paprika in Bachelor Party.

Jasper 8Aug07 2

Jasper at 5

He’s always been such a reflective little soul, emotional, thoughtful, loving, loyal and deeply empathetic.

Jasper 9

We often said that we were a family before he arrived (of course we were) but he somehow ‘made’ us. That’s as well and as poorly as I can explain it.

First hair cut in almost 3 months for Jasper.
First hair cut in almost 3 months for Jasper.
Someone's 10 (and it's not me!)
Someone’s 10 (and it’s not me!)

Isn’t he delightful.



Espresso brownies

I have just finished my (paid) work and am bracing for school home time. It’s been a mixed bag of a week which saw me in tears last night at the thought of making dinner AGAIN (#everyfuckingnight, I swear to God people, every.fucking.night). Sure, there may have been some hormones involved but let’s just put that day to bed.

These are on the front cover of Food52’s baking book from which I want to bake every single recipe. Hey, maybe that’s a challenge I can set myself? And are so very good.

You need a big baking pan – 33 x 45cm, 13 x 18 inch – so get onto that. You could of course just split the mixture between two smaller ones but as to what size they’d be don’t ask me because, well, numeral.

It makes a lot – 24 large brownies, 36 smaller ones. It uses eight eggs. EIGHT EGGS! When I started cooking as a kid and then with a fair amount of gusto as a teenager I’d show mum a recipe and without fail there’d be an exclamation about how many eggs were in it. Were eggs expensive back then? Was there some sort of price collusion in the 80s I was unaware of? Anyway, it uses eight eggs.

Now, even though in the recipe’s intro it talks about how this is the 35th version of  these brownies the recipe creator June Jacobs has created, I still didn’t follow it exactly. Just follow it exactly OK?

Espresso brownies.
Espresso brownies.

Espresso brownies
Rich, fudgey brownies with icing on top, as if that's even allowed.
  • 3 cups lightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 eggs (EIGHT eggs!)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups plain flour
  • ⅔ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee powder (use a strong espresso kind)
  • 2 cups toasted nuts (I left these out, totally fine without it)
  • 2 cups choc chips
  • 1½ cups caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • ¼ cup cognac (I KNOW! Fancy like)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 cup choc chips
For the brownies
  1. Preheat the oven to 175C and butter the sheet pan
  2. In a mixer beat the butter and sugar together but you don't want it all fluffy - these are brownies remember, not a cake, you don't need a heap of air in the mix
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping as you go
  4. Then add the vanilla and salt
  5. Mix the flour with the coffee and cocoa powder and nuts
  6. Add to the butter mixture
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and spread it out THEN sprinkle over the choc chips
  8. Swirl the choc chips in a bit (I ignored this and added them with the flour and all the choc chips sunk to the bottom, so yeah, maybe the recipe is right)
  9. Bake for 23½ minutes (don't you love the precision! I did mine for a bit longer because I didn't have the right sized tin and was winging it)
For the icing
  1. Combine everything except the chocolate in a saucepan and stir fairly constantly until it comes to the boil
  2. Let it boil for a a minute or two.
  3. Take off the heat, add the chocolate and stir until smooth
  4. Pour over the cooled brownies
  5. Drown your troubles.


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