Local Honey Bee Cake

N.C. Local Honey Bee Cake is a sweet and spicy treat made with local honey. Cabarrus Health Alliance photo

This easy to make, very moist local honey bee cake, will fill your house with a wonderfully sweet and spicy scent as it bakes in the oven. When you need a healthy snack to get you through the day, this delightful treat could just be the answer. Delicious served with a hot cuppa tea or coffee, mid-morning or early afternoon, it’s sure to put a smile on your face.

According to www.nwhoneybee.org, honeybees are dying off from a number of reasons which are classified under (CCD) Colony Collapse Disorder. Some of the factors contributing to this are stress from moving and transporting hives, malnutrition, loss of habitat, disease, nosema, foulbrood, wax moth, climate change, herbicides, chemicals and pesticides and one that scientists are constantly trying to find a way to defeat is varroa destructor also known as the varroa mite which will hitch a ride on a bee into the hive, then lay eggs which will feed on the young bees and ultimately will wipe out the entire hive. In human terms picture a mite the size of a pancake which attaches itself to you and sucks the blood from you.

I have come across many different points of view about losing our honeybees, one of which is honeybees are not native to the U.S. That is true, they were brought over by the Europeans, an incredible feat to think of how many died in the process but some made it and survived.

We then adapted to life here and adapted along with the honeybees which now contribute$14 billion to the value of U.S. crops. The other fact that has come up many times is if the honeybees die we can use mason bees and other native bees as pollinators. If we had a much smaller population that would be possible but there is simply no way they can somehow pollinate on a commercial scale to feed a 9 billion population as honeybees do.

Take a second to think of what honeybees pollinate, fruits, vegetables, the herbs we use to season our foods, nuts, berries, cotton for clothing, clover and alfalfa which is the main feed for the cattle industry from which we get yogurt, milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy and beef.

Also coffee beans depend on pollination for increased yields, think of star bucks and your morning coffee. There are flowers for our holidays, beeswax which is used in the cosmetic industry, and let’s not forget honey.

Serves 8-10

Ingredients:

1 cup local honey (Dancing Bee’s Farms – Monroe NC)

1 cup unsalted English butter (melted)

2 eggs (free range if possible), beaten

1 ½ cups self-rising flour, sieved

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the icing

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon local honey (Dancing Bee’s Farms – Monroe NC)

How to cook:

Preheat oven to 350’f

Lightly grease a 7 inch cake tin

Place the honey and melted butter into a large bowl and mix together.

Then mix in the eggs, flour and cinnamon.

Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and shrinking slightly from the sides of the tin.

Cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack.

While the cake is still warm, make the icing by mixing the sugar and honey together with 2 teaspoons of hot water, then spoon the icing over the cake and allow to set before slicing and serving.

Mark Allison is Executive Chef of Culinary Innovation at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Check out www.cabarrushealth.org/cookingclasses for a list of upcoming cooking classes with Chef Allison.  Want more recipes?  Visit www.chefmarkallison.com.

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