Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mielbio Organic Italian Honey Lavender Loaf Cake

Honey is one of my favorite sweeteners; about the only thing I won't use it in is tea. I know, tea + honey (especially with lemon) is a classic combination, but it's not a favorite. When I was a kid, I was sick a lot, and among my mother's favorite remedies was big pots of Lipton tea with tons of honey and lemon. So it reminds me of having a bad cold. (She also loved Ben Gay, therefore, I have also developed a deep-rooted dislike for wintergreen in any form. Even root beer can be an iffy proposition.) But I do like honey on its own. And it's great for adding a bit of sweetness to a savory dish, or spread on a piece of buttered toast or a biscuit. And as an ingredient in baking.

When we received a jar of MielBio organic honey in their limited edition Mandarin flavor from Rigoni di Asiago, I knew I had to use it as a flavoring element for a cake. The cloudy raw honey syrup, from Calabria, is made by bees who sip the sweet nectar from clementine trees and has a distinct orange-y flavor. I didn't want to add more orange to the cake, thinking it would detract from the honey flavor, so instead I added a small bit of lavender flowers. They lend a herbal touch to the cake that marries perfectly with the sweet citrussy honey.

The cake gets a nice brown crust while baking; the crumb is light and airy with a delicate orange flavor. It's terrific toasted, with butter (and honey!) or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Honey Lavender Loaf Cake

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup MielBio mandarin honey (or other light, flavored honey)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon food-grade lavender buds (We get ours from the Spice House)
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the honey, and then the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and sour cream.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl. Beat it into the butter mixture just until combined.

Scrape into a greased 8" or 9" loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before unmolding cake. Cool on rack until at least room temperature before slicing.

* Any products in this post that are mentioned by name may have been provided to Minxeats by the manufacturer. However, all opinions belong to Minxeats. Amazon links earn me $! Please buy!

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