As a medieval historian and someone who is a little obsessed with food I’d always wanted to try making the kind of cakes that people would have made before refined sugar, and a couple of years ago (after binge reading a bunch of Marianne Zimmer Bradley, hush, I know, I know) I gave in. I tend to only make this for Samhain and Beltaine when I make pseudo-medieval party food (I say pseudo because I love potatoes too much to leave them out) because one cake takes an entire jar of honey and to be honest the flavour isn’t that different from an ordinary cake. But its the novelty that’s the point here anyway, so without further ado you will need:
8 oz of flour
8 oz of butter
one jar of honey
cinnamon and nutmeg or allspice
Start by mixing the flour and the spices together, as this is the best way to make sure the flavours are evenly distributed throughout the cake. I add one teaspoon of cinnamon and another of nutmeg but you can use allspice instead and vary the amounts according to taste. Be careful though, if you add too much allspice it will smell fantastic while cooking but taste absolutely awful, so only vary the amount of spice if you have some idea of what it will do. After that mix in the butter, which you can leave to soften up first, and then when you’ve got an even consistency beat the eggs and stir them in too. Finally add the honey. You really do need the whole jar. No, I promise, you do. This is going to have a less solid consistency than ordinary cakes for obvious reasons but if it looks too liquid add some little pinches of flour until it holds together better. Finally bake for around forty minutes at 180 C. The result should be dense and very moist. I prefer not to glaze mine or just spread the top with raspberry jam but feel free to do anything you like and tell me about it in the comments!