We turned the heat off in the house over a week ago. The windows have been letting the perfect 75 degree air flow through our house taking any stale winter blues that were left lingering. In essence, it not only feels like spring, but it feels absolutely invigorating and inspiring!
Nothing says spring to me more than the return of fresh fruit to the grocery store and markets. Our strawberry plants are starting to bloom, and the strawberries in the store are a good second best while we wait for our own crop to develop. We love macerating berries in honey, and as soon as I saw the below recipe I knew we would have to try it. It is just about as perfect as Spring 2012 is shaping up to be–a dense cake with added texture from the cornmeal topped with folds of whipped cream and beautiful berries.
I say take one below because I want to try a few things with it, such as omitting the nuts and playing around with the glaze. It’s amazing to start with, but I think it can be improved. Plus we have two willing taste testers at the L. Homestead–anything for culinary research 😉
Pecan-Honey Cake with Berries and Cream, Take One Adapted from BHG, April 2012 pg 180 2 Tbsp honey, divided 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 1 pint strawberries sliced 1/2 pineapple, sliced into pieces about the same size as your strawberry slices 1 cup all purpose flour 1/2 cup cornmeal 1/4 cup pecans, ground 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 cup butter, softened 3/4 cup honey 2 eggs 1/2 cup milk 2 Tbsp orange juice 1/2 cup cream cheese 1 cup whipping cream 2 Tbsp honey, divided Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a 9 by 1 1/2 round cake pan. Combine strawberries and pineapple (or whatever fruit is fresh and tastes good to you) in a bowl and stir in the 2 Tbsp of honey and balsamic vinegar. Set aside and let macerate while you make the cake. In a medium bowl combine flour, cornmeal, nuts, baking powder and salt; put to one side. In a large bowl beat butter for 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the honey and beat into butter until nice and fluffy. Slowly beat in eggs, one at a time. Add 3/4 of the flour mixture and mix until it just barely comes together. Add milk and remaining flour mixture and fold in with a spatula until combined (being careful not to over mix). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes (in my oven it took more like 45-50 minutes to get it to set). Meanwhile combine 1/4 cup honey and orange juice in a small saucepan and set on stove on low to heat through (if combining just before cake comes out, you can turn up the heat to warm it through quicker). When cake is finished and has cooled in the pan for about 5 minutes, remove from pan and place on your cake plate. Poke cake with a toothpick to create multiple holes on the top, then brush on the honey-orange juice so it absorbs into the cake. Set cake aside to cool completely. Just before serving, create topping. Combine cream cheese and 2 Tbps of honey, beat on high for 30 seconds. Add whipping cream and beat until soft mounds form. Spoon cream onto cake, and then top with fruit.