Sticky, Chewy, Italian Honey Cake
1/2cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2cup chopped almonds, 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
3/4/ whole almonds, lightly toasted (but not skinned)
1 1/2 cups candied orange peel
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
Rice paper, optional
Preheat the oven to 300 F. Grease an 8-inch layer cake pan with butter. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine the orange peel, spices, cocoa, and flour in a bowl and stir to blend.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the honey and sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until mixture reaches almost hardball stage, 280 F on a candy thermometer. Pour the syrup into dry ingredients and blend well with a wood spoon.
Using wet fingertips or a wet, metal spoon, press the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for one hour. Cake will seem soft when done but set up as it cools. It is quite low and flat.
Turn out onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Press on a piece of rice paper, if you have it. Wrap well in wax paper to store.
This is more of a confection than a cake; it is spicy, sweet and memorable.