Sunday, October 13, 2019

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries

Honey cakes I usually make are dark, dense, winey, slightly bitter, and full of a mixed chorus of seasonings.  This cake may look a little pale compared with some of the other honey cakes you have seen here, but the flavors are just as bright and vivid.  We are very proud of star thistle honey here in Michigan.  It has bright, zingy, almost citrusy notes on top, with a nice warm sweetness underneath.  We are also proud of our sour cherries, but not quite proud enough to call them sour cherries.

Star Thistle Honey Cake with Michigan Sour Cherries

1 cup dried Michigan sour cherries
Ann Arbor Autumn Gin (or brandy, or just tea)

3 cups flour (2 cups all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat pastry or a mix of gluten-free flours)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar

4 eggs
3/4 cup sunflower oil, or other oil
1 cup star thistle honey
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel

Heat the oven to 425.
Prepare two cake pans

Soak the cherries overnight in enough gin to cover.

Stir together the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs and blend in the oil, honey, and extract.  Add the cherries and orange peel.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and fold until just combined.  Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350 after the first five minutes.

I just made a gluten-free version of this recipe using two cups of a gluten-free mix and a half cup each oat flour and white rice flour.  For the gluten-free version bake the batter in four pans rather than two, and increase the baking time by about 20 minutes.