Devonshire honey cake with plum or damson compote

With its quite dense texture and fantastic taste of honey, this cake almost makes you feel like you’re eating straight from the comb. It’s delicious but sweet, so serve it as a pudding with a sharp plum, damson or blackcurrant compote and some fluffy cream. 

For 6-8 

  • 225g unsalted butter 
  • 250g clear honey, plus a little extra for brushing 
  • 100g dark muscovado sugar 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 300g self-raising flour 

For the compote 

  • 500g plums or damsons 
  • Juice and grated zest of 1 orange
  • 100g caster sugar, or to taste (damsons often need more)

Cut the butter into pieces and drop it into a pan with the honey and sugar. Melt it slowly, then boil for 1 minute. Cool for 20 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1. (The temperature needs to be very low as the high sugar content of the mixture makes it burn easily.) Grease a 20cm spring-form cake tin. 

Beat the eggs one by one into the honey mixture. Sift in the flour and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes. 

Test if the cake is done by stabbing a skewer in the middle – it should come out clean. If not, bake for another 5 minutes and test again. When done, cool a bit in the tin, then turn on to a wire rack to cool a bit more. While still warm, transfer the cake to a flat plate and brush 2 tablespoons of warm honey over the top. 

To make the compote, put the plums, orange juice and zest and sugar into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring to melt the sugar. Cook for 5 minutes until the plums are soft. Serve alongside the warm cake.