I love Nigella recipes and deciding on a chocolate recipe to make for the Seduced by Chocolate event for Forever Nigella made up a very pleasurable afternoon leafing through my recipe books. I was tempted to make my fail safe chocolate cupcakes but wanted to try something I'd never made before and it was between this cake and the flourless chocolate lime cake. The honey chocolate cake won in the end - the picture of the shiny glazed cake topped with bees was divine and I wanted to make something pretty.
I thought it would be cute to make these in my new silicon heart shaped muffin pan, each cake topped with a little bee. They came out perfectly, and there was enough mix leftover for a small cake too. Obviously the timing of the recipe needs to be adjusted if you are going to do this. I checked these after 30 minutes and left them in for a total of 40 minutes (the recipe recommends baking up to 1.5 hours for a 23cm cake).
Making the bees was the fun part and they're very straightforward to make. I didn't have any yellow marzipan so used food colouring to tint the marzipan, and rolled each bee in a tiny bit of gold luster dust before painting on their stripes. Nigella suggests leaving them eyeless for a "Napoleonic" effect but I couldn't resist giving them little eyes - I still think they looked pretty dignified. I had a version of Bjork's 90's hit Army Of Me in my head as I made them, except with the words Army of Bees - tragically keeping me amused as I made them.
This is an incredibly easy recipe, and Nigella suggests that the whole thing could be mixed in a food processor. It's slightly unusual in that boiling water is added as the final ingredient which makes for quite a runny mix, so make sure your cake tins are lined and secured. The only problem I really encountered was my terminal clumsiness messing up my bees. Nigella says to use leftover honey glaze for the bee's stripes however my glaze set a little too much. I could have reheated it but decided to use some brown food colouring striped across with a toothpick. This worked wonderfully well, except for me touching the bees and managing to smudge the wet food colouring stripes - same deal with their eyes too. The description of the bees' being "Disney-fied" by having eyes was made all the more comical by me smudging the early ones to the point where they practically had eye patches! However I learnt my lesson and let them dry completely before handling them again. So my top bee-making tips - make sure all food colouring is dry before handling with care!
These cakes are nearly too cute to eat but somehow I managed and they were gorgeous - there's an intense honey flavour to the cake and the glaze was thick and luscious. I'm glad I tried something different, the cake looks amazing and is lots of fun to make. The recipe is from Nigella's book Feast or on her official website here.