Since Tolkien said the Shire was based on nostalgic memories of his childhood, these honey cakes are inspired by late Victorian recipes for twice baked cakes. The second baking hardens the honey glaze in place while firming up the crust, giving them a moist, tender interior and a sweet, crunchy exterior.
1 ¾ c / 220 g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ c / 115 g room temperature butter
½ c / 85 g dried blueberries or currants
Zest of 1 lemon
¾ c / 200 ml whole milk
¾ c / 255 g honey + ¼ c / 85 g honey, reserved
10-12 candied almonds for decoration
1 tsp vanilla
Pre-heat your oven to 400F/205C.
Whisk together your flour, baking powder, and salt.
Mix the butter into the flour blend until you achieve a crumbly meal. Once it looks like gravel, add the the lemon zest and blueberries or currants. Make sure it’s all well blended.
In another bowl, beat the milk, egg, and 3/4 c honey until you get a nice, sloppy mess. Pour that into the crumbly flour blend and mix until the batter is just barely free of lumps. No need to over work it or else you’ll burst the blueberries.
Scoop about ⅓ c of the batter into well greased muffin tins. You want to use a generous amount of butter instead of liners in order to achieve a nice, crispy crust.
For the first baking, leave them in a 400F/205C oven for 12 minutes.
Take the cakes out of the oven. If you insert a toothpick in the middle, a little batter may still stick. That’s alright. If it spurts out when you press on the top, put them back in the oven for another 2-4 minutes.
If you used enough butter, the cakes should slide right out of the muffin tin. Arrange them 1 inch / 2.5 cm apart on a greased baking sheet.
Gently press a candied almond (or a plain one if you prefer) into the middle of each honey cake then generously drizzle the rest of your honey on top of the cakes. It helps to heat your honey in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to thin it out. Use enough to coat the top and let it drip down the sides. This creates a nice crispy glaze on your honey cakes.
Once they’re decorated with an almond crown and drizzled in sweetness, let the honey cakes sit for at least 5 minutes so the honey can soak in.
Put the baking sheet back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops are a deep golden honey brown.
While they’re still perfectly edible days later, if you find yourself the host of an unexpected party, these honey cakes are quick to make and taste amazing fresh from the oven with a bit of jam and clotted cream. They’re even better the next day, when the crust is nice and crispy and the interior still soft and moist.
Need more Hobbity goodness in your life?
Preview even more recipes from An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery, available now!
Sample recipes from all seven chapters of An Unexpected Cookbook:
Breakfast – Poached Pears Stuffed with Frumenty
Second Breakfast – Beef and Mushroom Stuffed Hand Pies
Elevenses – Shire Seed Cake
Luncheon – Stewed Hare with Root Vegetables and Dumplings
Afternoon Tea – Shortbread
Supper – Stuffed Roasted Mushrooms
Dinner – Boxty on the Griddle with Bacon
Need more? Get your own copy of An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery from Amazon.com.