When it was revealed to us that the Tribune Cooks recipes this month were to contain a common ingredient, honey, I knew this would be a challenge.
I seldom use honey. I usually have a jar in the pantry, however, for those rare occasions I come across a recipe that calls for it. Honey, after all, is the only food item that doesn't spoil. It will crystallize, but a few moments in a microwave oven can fix that problem.
Not only that, but the husband is allergic to some species of bees, and after a sting from a honeybee sent him rushing to the hospital in an ambulance back in 1983, he won't touch anything that has honey in it, ever.
Tribune Chronicle / Kathleen Evanoff
Traditionally a fall recipe, Honey Apple Cake with Honey Sauce, from Southern Living Magazine, September 1999, is great any time of the year. Serve with vanilla ice cream to cut the sweetness.
So I took to the Internet to find a recipe I thought would be fun and that I could share with others and I found this recipe for Honey Apple Cake with Honey Sauce.
I know that apple cake is generally served in the fall when apples are in season, but when grocery stores sell fresh strawberries in December, it doesn't seem too far-fetched to make an apple cake in May. The added sweetness the honey gives the cake makes it very rich and as the recipe recommends, serving it with vanilla ice cream would be an ideal way to cut the sweetness. A large dollop of whipped cream would serve just as well.
I liked this recipe because it was quick and easy and most of the ingredients were already in my kitchen, so I didn't have to buy anything special. I have to admit that I did substitute the pecans for walnuts because that is what I had on hand, although I'm sure the pecans would have given the cake a slightly different flavor.
Honey Apple Cake
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
3 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups chopped Golden Delicious apple
Vanilla ice cream (optional)
Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan; sprinkle bottom of pan with 1/4 cup pecans. Set aside.
Beat sugar, oil, and honey at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended.
Combine flour and next 4 ingredients. Gradually add to sugar mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla, remaining 3/4 cup pecans, and apple. Spoon over pecans in pan.
Bake at 350 for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan, and place on a wire rack over wax paper. Pour 1/2 cup Honey Sauce over warm cake. Cool.
Heat remaining Honey Sauce; serve with cake and, if desired, ice cream.
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, for two minutes.
If I ever make this cake again, and I probably will when I have a pot-luck or any opportunity to take a dessert somewhere, I would chop the apples a little more finely. I chopped my apples into a small dice and I would have preferred them a little less chunky. The recipe calls for Golden Delicious apples, but I used Granny Smith. I'm not sure that would have made much difference.
When shopping for honey, you may notice there are several different varieties. The flavors are different depending on where the bees are farmed. Clover honey is the most common, and even that can vary depending on which variety of clover was available when the bees were on their search for nectar. I used a dark amber clover honey, which is a little stronger. Some honey varieties can have a floral scent and flavor, such as wildflower or mixed flower honey. If you prefer a mild flavor, choose a variety that is lighter in color.
The Honey Sauce is fantastic and would make a great ice cream or other dessert topping.
The recipe was originally published in Southern Living Magazine from September 1999. I found it on the Internet at www.southernliving.com.