Honey and Spice Cake

Adapted from Dan Lepard and Richard Whittington's Baker and Spice: Exceptional Recipes for Real Breads, Cakes and Pastries (London: Quadrille, 2003). This is a very clever recipe, because the rye flour and spice evoke the flavors of the older spice cakes, while the method and presence of butter, eggs and sugar ensure that the texture is airy and soft.

175 g runny honey
140 g unsalted butter
50 g dark soft brown sugar
2 cm piece root ginger, peeled
2 large eggs
40 g rye flour
100 g self-raising flour
½tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice

Preheat the oven to 160 °C (gas mark 2½) and line a 1 kg loaf tin with baking parchment. (I use those loaf-tin liners you can buy from kitchen-supply shops such as Lakeland.) In a saucepan over low heat, warm together the honey, butter and sugar until hot and the butter is almost melted. Grate the ginger into this mixture. Then whisk it for 2½ minutes, either in a heavy-duty mixer or with an electric whisk. Add the eggs and beat for 2½ minutes more. Then sift together the dry ingredients and fold them into the wet mixture. Pour into the loaf tin and set on a baking tray in the oven, baking until the cake is a deep golden color - about 40-60 minutes.

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