last weekend, I went to a wedding and stayed in a very cosy B&B where the owners were bee-keepers. Having sampled their own home-made honey for breakfast, this weekend I wanted to bake something simply sweet, so I chose a Honey & Walnut Loaf.

Still warm from the oven, I served this up after a Sunday roast with dollops of whipped vanilla cream – the perfect end to a truly relaxing weekend.

I substituted caster sugar for soft dark brown sugar to give the cake a caramel flavour. Give it a go yourself and mix in light brown or muscavado sugar instead. Pecans are also a great alternative to walnuts. 

Honey & Walnut Loaf

Serves 8-10

190g unsalted butter
190g plain flour
190g caster sugar (or other if you prefer)
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
25g plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp runny honey
60g chopped walnuts (or pecans)

1 Preheat the oven to 170C (Gas mark 3, 325F) then grease a loaf tin and line with baking parchment. 
2 Using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Break in the eggs, one at a time, whisking well before adding the next. Scrap down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. 
3 Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl then add these dry ingredients to the batter in two stages. Mix on a low speed until just incorporated. Add the yoghurt, vanilla and half the honey then stir in the walnuts by hand. 
4 Pour the batter into your loaf tin and bake for 50-60 mins or more if need be. Test with a skewer to see if it is ready to be taken out. If the stick comes out clean, it’s ready. If cake mixture resides on the skewer, leave it in for longer. 
5 While the cake is cooking, put the remaining honey in a small saucepan with 50ml of water. Bring to the boil, allowing the syrup to reduce by half. Pour the syrup over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin, before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely. 

August 11, 2013