June 16th in South Africa is a very special day. On this day in 1976 students from the township of Soweto began a series of protests in response to the introduction of Afrikaans as the medium of instruction in local schools. The regime responded with deadly force and 176 students were killed. It became one of the most important events in our country’s history and is commemorated as Youth Day. On days like these we love to have friends and family over and this day was no different. As part of relaxing with our friends, Jeannette and I decided to bake a traditional Scottish dessert – Honey Whisky Cake.
Jeannette and I found the recipe when we chanced upon a site, Scots Independent, with traditional Scottish cooking. The ingredients seems simple and the recipe straightforward, so we knew we had to try it. The recipe can also be found on Food.com.
Honey whisky cake – Recipe
The recipe combines 6oz each of self rising flour, butter and sugar along with 3 eggs and orange rid. We only had cake flour, but 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt sorted that out. Oranges were hard to come by, but out local store had Minneolas. It was a fine substitute.
After creaming the butter and sugar together, adding the flour, the three eggs – one at a time and beaten, 4 tablespoons of whisky (Johnnie Walker Black Label was my choice ) and the grated rind of the Minneola the mixture is poured into two 7 inch baking tins. Johnnie Walker Black Label is one of our favourite blended whisky to cook with. It is one of the world’s most famous (and affordable) blends. Johnnie Walker Black is a blend of around 40 whiskies put together very well. The spicy and fruity notes of the Black Label should stand up to the sweetness of the minneolas.
We only had one pan(!) so we split the mixture and baked each one in turn. You bake the Honey Whisky cake at 375F for about 20-25 minutes, but check at about 15 minutes as it gets brown quite quickly. The Honey Whisky cake is decorated with a rich butter icing which you can make while its baking. We only had slivered almonds, but toasting them is straightforward. Simply throw them into a non stick pan over high heat – no oil – and stir till they look the right colour.
Making the butter icing is straightforward. 6oz of butter, 2 oz of icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of juice from the Minneola mixed together. When the cake emerged from the oven it was a golden brown. The almonds in the background are the ones we toasted earlier.
The final assembly is straightforward as well. Half the icing between the two cakes and the rest on the top. The final step is decorating with the toasted almonds. We thought the final Honey Whisky cake looked great.
So how does the Honey Whisky cake taste? The whisky flavour is very subtle, but recognizable. I think that the icing is too sweet, but Jeannette disagrees. Everyone who tasted it loved it. Most importantly my mum-in-law. I guess that makes this dessert a pretty good one!