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Gill's honey cake

This well-loved recipe comes from Gill Meller, previously head chef at River Cottage, and it is frequently served to guests at River Cottage HQ. One of the lovely things about this cake is that the taste will vary depending on the honey you choose. Try, if you can, to use a local honey. Not only will this be uniquely flavoured by the flowers and blossoms of your region, it's better for the environment too - bee miles, unlike other air miles, don't count towards your carbon footprint.


Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas Mark 3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter to a cream. Add the sugar and beat thoroughly until very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a spoonful of the flour with each and beating thoroughly before adding the next.

Combine the remaining flour with the baking powder and sift into the bowl. Using a large metal spoon, carefully fold into the mixture. Stir in the ground almonds until evenly mixed.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it evenly with the back of the spoon. Scatter over the flaked almonds. Stand the tin on a baking sheet (as the cake may leak a little butter during cooking). Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes,

until springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

On removing from the oven, trickle the honey over the surface so that it soaks into the hot cake. Leave in the tin for half an hour or so before turning out and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.

This cake is best kept for a day or two before eating. It keeps well for at least a week, stored in an airtight tin.

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  • 300g unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and softened
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g self-raising wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp runny honey (or set honey, warmed sufficiently to trickle)


  • 23cm springform cake tin, or a 20cm square loose-bottomed tin, lightly greased and base-lined with baking parchment.

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Cakes Handbook