When you think of wholesome baking ingredients that feel earthy and raw, honey is one of those ingredients that comes to mind. There’s also the nostalgic element to honey that I love, for example the smell of honey sandwiches when you’re young, hot lemon and honey drinks when your unwell and the fascination with honey bees and bears who love to eat it.
When I was introduced to Mountain Valley Honey, a humble family business down in sunny Nelson, all I could think about was how prosperous the Nelson region was. It truly is the land of milk and honey when it comes to amazing produce and food, dripping with goodness. So this was the core inspiration for my Tea and Honey Cake, because what goes better with milk than tea with a drop of honey. For this cake I used Mountain Valley Honey’s Manuka honey for it’s full bodied and earthy flavours. This is then layered with Earl Grey infused Buttercream and plenty of cookie crumbs, because after all, what tea is complete without the perfect dipping cookie. The cookie choice can be up to you, however I went with a classic Vanilla Wine Biscuit.
There are also two ways to assemble this cake, a shorter and longer technique. So depending on how daring you are, the amount of time you have or the overall aesthetic you want to achieve, make sure you read both assembly instructions in the method below.
WIN: Thanks to Mountain Valley Honey I also have an amazing giveaway that any honey lover would want to enter. Scroll down below the recipe for details.
Mountain Valley Honey kindly invited me to fly down to the top of the South Island and visit them at their honey HQ. It was lovely to meet the faces behind family owned and operated Mountain Valley Honey based in Nelson. With hives nestled amongst beautiful mountains, deep valleys, and stunning seaside sounds across the top of the South Island, you can really feel the love Mountain Valley Honey have for their hard working bees and the beautiful honey they produce.
I was lucky enough to visit some hives and see for myself the happy bees busy at work. This then lead into an in depth walkthrough of Mountain Valley HQ and their honey extraction, packing and distribution processes, all ready for their new and loyal customers. Either selling honey from local markets, online or even their shop front, there is always lots of buzz when it comes to humble family business who genuinely love what they do.
Mountain Valley Honey offer a wide variety of different honeys, dependant on the season and availability. I was fortunate to sample their selection along with hearing the tasting notes and found it very hard to pick any favourites, but I think I’d have to go with Manuka, Kamahi and Beech Honeydew. So don’t forget to try your favourite in my Tea and Honey recipe below.
For more information on Mountain Valley Honey, you can visit their website ‘here’.
- 430g Plain Flour
- 300g Caster Sugar
- 2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 230g Butter – Room Temperature
- 250ml Buttermilk
- 170g Mountain Valley Honey Manuka Honey
- 2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 4 Eggs
- 200ml Milk
- 2 Tablespoon Loose Leaf Earl Grey Tea (2 Tea Bags)
- 200g Vanilla Wine Biscuits
- 100g Butter – Melted
- 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 80g Manuka Honey
- 60ml Boiling Water
- 220g Butter – Room Temperature
- 500g Icing Sugar
- 3-4 Tablespoon Earl Grey Infused Milk
To start with, preheat oven to 180°c bake and line or grease two 8″ (20-22cm) spring-form baking tins and set aside.
Using a free-standing mixer, add the butter and sugar and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each egg.
Using two bowls of flour the Flour, baking powder and salt to one bowl and mix. In the second bowl, add the buttermilk, honey, vanilla extract and mix.
Alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, add them to the free-standing mixer one at a time over several additions. Fold through to incorporate.
Pour batter evenly between the two prepared baking tins and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cakes are golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, infuse the milk by adding the milk and tea leaves to a small pot. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir for about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool complexity in the pot. When cooled, strain and set aside.
Next, make cookie crumbs by coarsely crushing biscuits and adding to a medium-sized bowl. Add melted butter and brown sugar and mix through until crumbs start to clump. Pour out onto a lined baking tray and bake at 180°c for 10-15 minutes or until crumbs are golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking up the crumb.
To make the honey syrup, add honey and boiling water to a small bowl or ramekin. Mix through to combine and set aside.
To make the buttercream, beat butter in a free-standing mixer for 5 minutes, scraping sides down occasionally. Sift icing sugar and add to the butter in two stages, beating for another 3 minutes between additions. On a slower speed, add the earl grey infused milk, then turn mixer speed back up and beat for another few minutes. Now you’re ready to assemble!
Place first cake layer on a cake board and using a pastry brush, brush top of cake with honey syrup. Cover with a layer of buttercream, followed by a layer of cookie crumbs (You can follow this with another light layer of buttercream if you like). Place the second cake layer on top and follow through with earlier steps of brushing with honey syrup, a layer of buttercream and finishing off with a final layer of cookie crumbs. Cut, serve and enjoy with a hot cup of tea.
Place first cake layer on a cake board and using a roll of plastic acetate, wrap this around the base cake layer, making sure there is enough height to encase the whole cake once finished. The effect you’re wanting for example is a trifle dessert in a tall glass bowl, except eventually you’ll want to remove this glass bowl (the acetate in this instance). Once the acetate is firmly secured in place, use a pastry brush to brush honey syrup over the first layer of cake. Carefully fill in with a layer of buttercream, tidily and evenly pressing up against side of acetate. Sprinkle in a layer of cookie crumbs, spread out evenly and push up against sides of acetate. Repeat all these steps once again until you have 2 layers of each element. Either place in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for a few hours. Once layers are firm and chilled, you’ll be able to remove plastic acetate cleanly from around the outside of layer cake, leaving the effect I’ve shown in this post. Allow cake to return to room temperature before cutting and serving with a hot cup of tea. Enjoy!
Giveaway! – Closed
If you’re a honey lover, I have 7 x 500g jars of honey to give away to one lucky reader thanks to Mountain Valley Honey!
All you have to do to enter is tell me which of the 7 flavours you’d most like to try and what you like to bake with honey in the comments below.
The 7 honey flavours in this giveaway are: Manuka, Autumn Gold, Kamahi, Beech Honeydew, Native Bush, Rata and Kanuka.
One winner will be chosen at random and notified here and on Facebook by Monday 15th April. Open to New Zealand residents only. Good luck
Thanks to all those who entered.
Congratulations to the winner below:
Could the winner please email me with their postal details and I’ll get their prize sent out ASAP. Thanks again for entering.
This is a sponsored post for Mountain Valley Honey. I only work with products and brands I love and all opinions are my own.