Crazy moist honey cake

New York based cookbook author, Deb Perelman*, says this recipe produces a honey cake which is “warmly spiced and crazy moist and soft and plush with a little crisp edge about the corners”.

Certainly it should be moist, and its also a little crazy, with ingredients including not only a cup of warm strong tea (or coffee), but a 60ml shot of whisky as well.


3 and 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons (8 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (340 grams) honey
1 and 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) whiskey (optional)
1/2 cup (45 to 55 grams) slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Note: These quantities  make a mixture that fits into two * 23cm square or round cake pans.


Preheat oven to 180° C  (350°F) Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice (and the whisky if you’re adding some).
Whisk (or mix in an electric mixer on slow speed), and then stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter.
Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).
Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds.
Bake for about 45 to 55 minutes or until the cake springs back when you gently touch it in the centre.
Let the cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

*Deb Perelman is the author of the New York Times bestseller – “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

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Australia's finest and rarest honey. From the Tasmanian Honey Company 750gms of pure Tasmanian leatherwood honey. $17.55 plus freight

Poor 2017 honey harvest threatens price rises, supply shortage for Manuka, leatherwood honey

Beekeepers in both New Zealand and Tasmania are reporting likely price increases and supply shortages for leatherwood and manuka honey later this year.
Unsuitable weather conditions have been blamed for a poor Manuka honey harvest in New Zealand and unseasonably wet weather in February 2017 has also affected the harvest of leatherwood honey in Tasmania.
January’s warning of lower profits by leading Manuka honey producer, Comvita, was the first indication that New Zelands harvest would be poor.
Comvita’s statement to the New Zealand Stock Exchange on the 23rd of January said that “[T]he 2017 honey season is likely to be significantly impacted by prolonged and unfavourable weather conditions”.

Comvita CEO, Scott Coulter
Comvita CEO, Scott Coulter

Scott Coulter, Comvita’s chief executive, said that the company’s apiaries would see a 60% shortfall in expected harvest.
He added that “the whole industry is experiencing one of the most difficult production seasons for many years.”
Coulter said that Comvita’s profit for the year to June 2017 was likely to be less than previously forecast.
That prediction was subsequently confirmed when Comvita released its latest results on the 21st of February.
“This was an exceptionally poor harvest [right] across the country” said Coulter.

Tasmanian leatherwood production down

Tasmania’s leatherwood honey harvest has also been affected by poor weather this year.
Lindsay Bourke – President of the Tasmanian Beekeepers Association told ABC Online that the wet weather in February had had a major impact.
“Terrible weather, especially through February, has been absolutely disastrous for commercial honey producers.” he said.
Tasmanian producers would struggle to fill orders this year, he said, and predicted that prices of honey would go up.
Bourke also told the Tasmanian Mercury that overall production this year will be down by at least a third across the state.

For more information go to

See also

Australia's finest and rarest honey. From the Tasmanian Honey Company 750gms of pure Tasmanian leatherwood honey. $17.55 plus freight

$7million government grant to kick start new ‘Honey Bee Products’ research centre in Western Australia

Australian government funding totalling $7million will underwrite a new ‘Honey Bee Products’ research centre led by the University of Western Australia.

To be spent over the next five years, the funding is being matched by a further $19.2million in cash and kind from other universities and from private sector organisations including Capilano.

Dr Liz Barbour from the Uni WA’s office of research enterprise is leading the initiative and acting as the Centre’s chief executive until a permanent CEO is appointed later this year.

Dr Liz Barbour

Barbour said that the Centre’s work would be focussed in four main programme areas:

  • Honey bee hive sites
  • Honey bee product
  • Honey bee health
  • Honey bee product marketing and education

Dr Barbour said that the Centre aims to increase both the overall value of Australian honey production, and its perceived value in the community.

“The low price of most honey bee products from Australia doesn’t reflect their unique and pure qualities.”

“Australia, especially Western Australia, has one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world so no antibiotics or chemicals from bee husbandry contaminate the products” she added.

News of the funding win was revealed on 17th March following the government’s announcement of the latest funding round of its Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) programme.

A statement was also released by the university and said that the new CRC will develop a research network with other bee and apiculture research centres around the world..

They will include the apiculture research centre at the University of California that has recently succeeded in head-hunting Dr Boris Bauer, currently director of the Centre for Integrated Bee Research (CIBER) at Uni WA.

Dr Barbour said that the departure of Dr Bauer won’t mean the end of the CIBER institute at the Uni WA although the work of the new CRC will be separate to CIBER’s programmes.

She said that the new CRC has some 19 different industry and community partners, including ChemCentre, PathWest, the Bee Industry Council of WA (BICWA) and training organisations, including the Yanchep Beach Joint Training Venture (JTV).

According to a report in the North Coast Times the new CRC will be based at the Yanchep Beach JTV’s Innovation Hub, approximately 60km north of Perth

Dr Barbour said that basing the CRC for Honey Bee Products in Yanchep would put it closer to the Southern Beekeepers nature reserve near Cervantes.

“We want to make it the centre of beekeeping in the west,” she said.

Working with the Yanchep Institute will also be a key part of the CRC’s efforts to expand the supply of trained beekeepers in Australia with a Certificate IV in Beekeeping.

The new CRC will also be working with start-up businesses and community organisations such as the Sydney-based to help expand Australian Manuka honey production.


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Australia's finest and rarest honey. From the Tasmanian Honey Company 750gms of pure Tasmanian leatherwood honey. $17.55 plus freight

Australian honey – safe for babies and a sweet treat with minimal risk

Since time immemorial nursing mothers have given their babies honey as a treat.
Especially when baby is crying, and discomforted by teething, a spoon of honey, or a ‘dummy’ dipped in honey can be very effective in relieving the distress.
However the standard advice to nursing mothers today is that honey should not be given to babies under 12 months old.
The US government’s Centre for Disease Control is quite clear on that.
“Honey can contain the bacteria that causes infant botulism so, children younger than 12 months old should not be fed honey. Honey is safe for people 1 year of age and older.”
In Australia, the NSW Department of Health gives similar advice.
“Avoid giving honey to babies less than 12 months of age”
Botulism is an illness most often associated with food, such as meat or fish stored in metal cans, that hasn’t been canned properly, inadequately sterilized, or opened and then left sitting with the meat still in the can. It is the reason why we tell our children  “Don’t leave opened cans of tuna or salmon in the fridge”.
In adults, botulism is usually just a minor irritant, with symptoms like diarrhoea or indigestion.
Botulism can, however occasionally develop into a very nasty and serious illness that requires hospitalization; it can even be potentially life-threating.
Nevertheless, botulism in adults isn’t usually associated with honey consumption – apparently the good bacteria in our digestive system can easily cope with any botulism spores that may occasionally be found in honey.
Babies take a while to get those bacteria however. So they are at some risk of developing infant botulism in their first few months if they are fed honey containing botulism spores.
Determining how great or how small that risk might be depends on a number of factors, including how common ( or otherwise ) it is for honey to contain botulism spores.
Some of the published scientific studies appear to suggest that a figure of around 10% of all honey typically contains a small number of botulism spores.
It also seems that unpasteurized honeys (i.e. raw or unprocessed honeys) may be slightly more likely to have the spores.
Indeed the NSW Department of Health is unequivocal on that point. Its botulism fact sheet, first released in 2012, says that
“Raw honey has been shown to cause infant botulism.”
However the Victorian government is more circumspect. Its Better Health Channel page on botulism points out that
“While honey has been implicated as a source of intestinal botulism in the United States, no Australian honey surveyed so far has contained the bacterium.”
This seems to indicate that the infant botulism risk of feeding honey to infants in Australia is very slight.
More generally, it seems safe to say that it is quite unusual for honey to contain botulism spores, and when it does the number of spores is likely to be very low.
That may be part of the explanation for why infant botulism is such a rare condition, and why it is not unreasonable to suggest that, as a risk factor for infant health, honey consumption is relatively insignificant.
In the US where the Centre for Disease Control has a National Botulism Surveillance programme, there were some 125 cases of infant botulism reported in 2014.
There is no suggestion that these all of these cases, or even a majority, are associated with honey consumption.
But some almost certainly are and that’s why, as a honey vendor, when a consumer questions me about honey safety for babies, my answer is usually not for children until 12 months old.

For more information go to

For more information on the incidence of botulism spores in honey see the paper on “Isolation of Clostridium botulism from Honey “ in the February 1979 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, vol 9 no 2, p.282-283. The paper can be downloaded from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health at

For more information on the incidence of infant botulism in Europe see a French paper  “Infant botulism in France, 1991-2009” published in 2010 and also accessible from the US National Institute of Health  site at


Australia's finest and rarest honey. From the Tasmanian Honey Company 750gms of pure Tasmanian leatherwood honey. $17.55 plus freight

Chocolate and Leatherwood Honey Ice-Cream

This is a very simple recipe that combines leatherwood honey, chocolate and berries – three of my favourite foods.

Preparation time is about 20 minutes in preparation time,  after which a further 5 minutes of heating in a saucepan on top of the stove gets the ice-cream mixture ready for the freezer. It needs a minimum of 4-6 hours in the freezer (or overnite).  After that its ready to serve.


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 400g condensed milk
  • 60 ml (about a quarter cup or 2 tablespoon)  leatherwood honey
  • 2 and a half cups of cream
  • Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries ( as many as you like to go on top)
  • Biscotti or a sweet biscuit, (optional)


  1. Place the chocolate, milk and honey in a small saucepan and gently melt the chocolate over a low heat.  Stir lightly until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Transfer the mixture into a bowl and cool in the freezer for 15 minutes
  3. Take the mixture out of the freezer and mix or beat ( e.g. with an electric mixer) until it is smooth.
  4. Add in the cream, still beating and/or stirring until soft peaks form.
  5. Spoon the mixture into a pan, such as a lined loaf pan ( suggested size is 22cm * 12cm)
  6. Cover and freeze for 4 hours or overnight
  7. Empty the pan onto a plate, place fresh seasonal berries on the top and then serve in slices ( with a biscotti or similar for decoration).

Cadburys kitchen is the original source for this recipe. See also


Australia's finest and rarest honey. From the Tasmanian Honey Company 750gms of pure Tasmanian leatherwood honey. $17.55 plus freight

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