I’ve been inspired by GBBO this week and was debating between three things for weekend baking – the honey and lemon cake made by Martha Kearney, the red velvet cakes made by Claudia Winkleman and the chocolate éclairs from the Technical Challenge. I really fancy a go at making éclairs but decided against in the end – I think they’re better eaten fresh and seeing as it is only me and the EHH around this weekend, we’d get very fat! I also wouldn’t want to take them into work as they are typically filled with fresh cream and should therefore be kept in the fridge.
I loved the look and the idea of the honey and lemon cake – but decided to make mini ones instead – this was a mistake! I didn’t use Martha’s recipe used on the show – I found this one on the Good Food website, which was really well rated and so decided to do that, with the addition of the zest from two lemons. I also swapped the dark brown sugar for light brown – I find that dark brown can be a little overpowering. I also decided to leave off the drizzle topping and decorate with a buttercream. Rather than making it as one large cake, I divided the mixture between 12 cupcake cases.
Once baked, I allowed to the cakes to cool, then sliced off their tops to create a flat base and turned them out of the cupcake cases. As they are fairly sticky cakes, they didn’t turn out that well – if I were to do them again, it would be better to use silicon baking cases, or bake in the tin without the cases – just lots of cake-release spray. I then turned the cakes upside down and trimmed a little from the top corner – to create a more domed top.
Icing them was very tricky and took a little bit of practise – the first few I did looked awful! My new turntable definitely helped. I used a small round icing nozzle and carefully turned the turntable as I iced. I tried starting the icing from the top and from the bottom, but it didn’t seem to make much difference – slightly easier from the top, I think!
In the end, the cakes taste fantastic but I wasn’t thrilled with their appearance – they are a little untidy for my liking, and will also be tricky to eat! I’ll definitely do this recipe again – but either as a large cake or as normal cupcakes with just a beehive iced on top!
Honey and Lemon Beehive cakes
- 250g clear honey
- 225g unsalted butter
- 100g light brown muscovado sugar
- 3 large eggs , beaten
- 300g self-raising flour
- Grated zest of two lemons
- 110g butter, at room temperature
- 500g icing sugar, sifted
- 3 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tblsp honey
- Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with the honey and sugar.
- Melt slowly over a low heat.
- When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute.
- Tip mixture into a clean glass bowl and place in a larger bowl of cool water – this will help it to cool more quickly.
- Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are mixed in.
- Preheat the oven to 140C.
- Place 12 silicon cupcake cases into a baking tin.
- Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
- Sift the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture and the lemon zest, beating until you have a smooth, quite runny batter.
- Pour the mixture into the cupcake cases and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cakes are well-risen, golden brown and spring back when pressed. A skewer pushed into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
- Whilst the cakes are cooking, make the buttercream.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, juice, honey and half of the icing sugar until smooth.
- Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.
- Once the cakes are cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack.
- Allow to cool thoroughly before slicing the tops off the cakes to create a flat base.
- Turn out of the cupcake cases.
- Turn upside down and trim the top edges to create a domed top.
- Place icing in a piping bag with a small round nozzle.
- Pipe around the cake in a spiral to create a beehive look.
- Decorate with bees made from fondant icing.