Melissa and I had our lovely friends (and soon to be neighbours) Laura and Slim down to stay last weekend. And of course I need the very slightest excuse to get my pinny on and bake up a storm, so I pulled down all my favourite recipe books to search for a new recipe while Melissa rolled her eyes to heaven with a smile usually reserved for toddlers enjoying playtime.
After about two hours poring over photos of dozens of puddings and pies I plumped for a combination of two recipes - a wholemeal honey cake from River Cottage Every Day and cinnamon icecream from Rachel Allen's Entertaining At Home to go on top.
The cinnamon icecream is a handy no-churn recipe that doesn't need a machine and is a cinch to whip up from just 4 ingredients - eggs, double cream, sugar and cinnamon. I should say it's easy provided you have an electric whisk, as the cream, egg whites and yolks and sugar all need to be whipped separately to soft peaks - I definitely wouldn't fancy doing that by hand! Then all you do is fold the mixtures together and freeze overnight until set. Yum.
The wholemeal honey cake is a fairly standard sponge using a mixture of wholemeal flour and ground almonds which gives it a unique depth of flavour and texture. It calls for a 23cm tin, but for some reason we have seven 21cm tins but none the required size. I decided to try my luck anyway, thinking that 2cm can't make that much of a difference. Turns out that it does. When I checked to see whether the cake was done at the recommended time it wasn't even nearly done, the batter was clearly wobbling like santa's belly in the tin. It needed a good 20 minutes longer than the recipe said and unfortunately opening the oven door early made it sink a bit in the centre. It's at these times you really wish your dining table wasn't right in the middle of the kitchen! Still, it's how it tastes that really counts, and after I'd drizzled more than a healthy amount of honey over the top of the hot cake it was ready to serve up with the homemade icecream:
Laura and Slim's verdict:
And that was after seconds!