Moroccan Honey & Mint Syrup Cake
Cakes / All Seasons / Dean Brettschneider and Lauraine Jacobs / Serves: 8

For the cake batter:
160g butter, softened
310g sugar
11/2 teaspoons dried or fresh chopped mint
6 eggs
230g desiccated coconut
210g self-raising flour

For the mint syrup:
200mls water
180g sugar
11/2 cups coarsely chopped fresh mint

To assemble:
75g butter
180g honey
180g flaked almonds


Cuisine, May 2005

The delicious Moroccan combination of mint and honey comes through well in this sweet, moist cake. Perfect with a dollop of natural yoghurt sweetened with honey and mint, and freshly made mint tea. Makes 1 x 20cm-round cake.

For the cake batter:
Preheat the oven to 150C. Beat the butter, sugar and mint until they begin to change colour. Add small quantities of the egg, coconut and flour, beating well between each addition to prevent the mixture from curdling. Repeat until you have used these ingredients up.

Line a lightly greased spring-release cake-tin with baking paper. Pour the batter in. Bake for 1-11/2 hours (you can make the mint syrup during this time). Check the cake is baked by inserting a skewer in the centre. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes.

For the mint syrup:
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to ensure the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 30- 45 minutes. Strain through a sieve and discard the mint leaves. Use the syrup as directed.

To assemble:
Preheat the oven to 170°C. With the cake still in the tin, prick 60-70 holes in the top. Pour the mint syrup evenly over the cake, allowing it to soak in.

Place the butter, honey and almonds in a saucepan and melt them together, stirring until all are well combined. Do not allow to boil. Remove from the heat and immediately spread this topping on the cake.

Place the cake back in the oven and bake the topping to a light amber colour (about 15 minutes). Remove and allow to cool in the tin for 20-30 minutes. Take the cake out of the tin carefully and while it is still warm, gently remove the baking paper. Dust the cake with icing sugar before serving.

Baker's notes
Ensure that your self-raising flour is as fresh as possible.
Don't cream the butter and sugar until they are light and fluffy, as this will result in an open and light-textured cake. This is a dense, hearty cake.
Prepare the mint syrup in advance and allow to cool before using. This will enhance the mint flavour.
Make the honey and almond topping when you need it. The topping must be warm when you spread it on top of the cake.
When the cake is in the oven for the second time, avoid burning the topping.