HONEY BUTTERMILK CAKE WITH MASCARPONE AND WALNUTS

This cake is another simple but delicious number to add into your repertoire! It is made with basic ingredient you probably have in your cupboard or fridge, with perhaps the exception of the mascarpone! I tend to make my own mascarpone anyway as the shop bought stuff is not only super expensive, but often really grainy. When you make it yourself, you are rewarded with soft and luscious dreamy mascarpone! All you need is cream and lemon juice! You can read how to make it  here ! 

Mascarpone aside, this cake was dreamt up after a day of super strong winds blew all sorts of trees into our garden! I went into our alley way to see if any branches had fallen, but what I found was so much better! Hundreds of little pale yellow roses had been blown from their tree! This, coupled with a conversation with a friend about honey cake, inspired this Sunday treat! We also happened to be gifted a ten or so kilo tub of beautiful honey by my sister and brother in law before they left for NYC and it's been taking us so long to get through it (which probably isn't a bad thing)! Feel free to add different things to the cake! Orange zest would be lovely, as would hazelnuts instead of the walnuts. Perhaps some cardamom would add a nice twist! 

MAKES 1 20CM CAKE

3 eggs

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

300ml buttermilk

250ml olive or another neutral vegetable oil

50ml strong espresso mixed in with 50ml water

200g runny honey

300g self raising flour

FROSTING

250g mascarpone

1tbsp runny honey

50g icing sugar, sifted

handful of walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a round 20cm baking tin and set aside. 

2. In a large bowl, crack in the three eggs and add the seeds from the vanilla bean. Whisk to combine. Reserve the bean to add to sugar to make vanilla sugar or add to rum for homemade vanilla essence!

3. Add in the buttermilk, oil, espresso and honey. If it's not the middle of summer, most likely your honey is a little firm or may have crystallised. Just heat it on the stove in a small pan for 30 seconds to melt it and then bring back to room temperature before adding to the cake. Whisk all together until smooth. 

4. Sieve over the self raising flour and whisk to combine. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until a skewer is clean when inserted. Cool briefly in the tin, then invert onto cooling rack. 

5. For the frosting, put the mascarpone into a medium bowl, and using a spoon, gently stir in the honey. Add the icing sugar and stir until just combined. The tip here is not to over work it as you will quickly end up with butter! Your electric mixer is definitely off limits for this one. 

6. Spread the frosting over the completely cooled cake and scatter over the walnuts.