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    Honey & oregano cake

    by Marha Collison

    • Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes + overnight chilling
    • Cooking time: 25 minutes to 40 minutes
    • Total time: up to 2 hours 10 minutes + overnight chilling

    Serves: 12

    Ingredients

    250g clear honey
    15g pack oregano,
    100g caster sugar
    125g butter
    1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
    3 British Blacktail Free Range Large Eggs
    1/4 tsp fine sea or table salt
    450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    500ml double cream 

    Method

    1. Place the honey in a small pan. Finely chop half the oregano, discarding any woody stems and saving the rest for decoration. Add the chopped oregano to the honey and heat gently for 4-5 minutes, or until bubbling and beginning to smell aromatic, then remove from the heat.

    2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, gas mark 6. Using an 18cm diameter cake tin base, draw a circle onto a piece of baking parchment and cut it out. Calculate how many baking trays will fit in your oven (usually up to three) and cut circles of baking parchment for each.

    3. Mix the sugar and butter in a large pan and warm over a medium heat until the butter has melted. Add 125g of the infused honey (including any oregano) and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes until golden brown in colour. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

    4. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk vigorously to combine – it will puff up like honeycomb. Lightly beat the eggs in a jug, then add a little at a time, whisking constantly (to avoid the eggs scrambling) until completely combined. Swap to a spoon and mix in the salt and flour to form a thick, gingerbread-like dough.

    5. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 8. Take one piece (cover the rest with a clean tea towel) and roll out onto the baking parchment discs. Trim away the excess (but be sure to save this) and place the parchment onto a baking tray. Repeat for however many trays fit into your oven. Prick all over with a fork, then bake for 7-8 minutes, or until firm to the touch. They will feel a bit like gingerbread biscuits.

    6. While the first batch is baking, prepare the next round so you can bake them as soon as the first are ready. Repeat the process, moving the baked discs to a cooling rack, until you have 8 layers. Finally, roll out and bake all the scraps (it doesn’t matter what shape they are, but aim for them to be about 5mm thick) for 10-12 minutes, so they are a little dryer than the other layers, and set aside.

    7. To make the filling, gently warm the remaining honey, then strain into a mixing bowl, discarding any herbs. Add the cream and whip gently until it is thickened but not quite at soft peaks (you don’t want to overwhip it).

    8. To assemble, spread a splodge of honey cream onto a plate and stick the first layer of cake onto it. Top with a few spoonfuls of cream and use a palette knife to spread it right to the edge. Top with a biscuit layer. Repeat with all the layers, then cover the top and outside with cream too. Cover and chill in the fridge overnight so the sponges can absorb the moisture from the cream.

    9. The next day, crush the baked scraps into crumbs in a food processor and use to coat the sides of the cake, pressing them on gently. Top with the remaining oregano leaves just before serving.

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    Martha’s tip Thyme works equally well in this cake. 

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