Springtime Honey Cake And Baby Honey Bee!

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This photo and recipe are reprinted courtesy of my favorite Domestic Goddess Martha Stewart!

The cake recipe is Italian in origin, perfectly sweet and tender, just like my brand new Italiano Grandson Benjamin (“Umberto!”) Michael Aquilino, born Sunday March 30, 2014!

Benjamin Bunny

Baby Honey Bee Benjamin!

In honor of Baby Ben I’ll be posting honey cake recipes this week. Here is Martha’s — it’s delicioso!!

 

INGREDIENTS

(Serves 10)

FIRST GLAZE

  • 1 large lemon, zested into strips
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 3/4 cup honey

CAKE

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed finely chopped fresh sage
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

FINAL GLAZE

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Sugared Sage, for serving (optional)

DIRECTIONS

  1. STEP 1

    First glaze: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring all ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat.

  2. STEP 2

    Cake: Butter and flour an 8-inch hexagonal (or round or square) cake pan. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sage. Beat eggs and brown sugar on medium-high until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in honey, milk, oil, and zest. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 2 batches; beat until just combined.

  3. STEP 3

    Spread batter in pan. Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven; poke holes with toothpick all over cake. Remove zest strips and sage from first glaze; brush over top. Let cool completely in pan.

  4. STEP 4

    Final glaze: Whisk together honey, confectioners’ sugar, and lemon juice. Remove cake from pan and brush final glaze over top; continue until all is used. Garnish with sugared sage. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife, wiping knife between cuts; serve.

 

My Bees Are Flying!

Thanks to the Polar Vortex it’s been abnormally arctic in Southwestern Ohio this year.  We aren’t used to this kind of heavy snow, ice and below zero temperatures.

Local beekeepers are understandably anxious. Are their hives still alive? Will the bees make it until the dandelions start blooming? Should they have winterized more?  Or in my case, winterized at all?

I went into December with two healthy hives. I started the season with four.

One of my hives never really got going, and the other was robbed by its next door neighbor. Needless to say, I’ll be moving those hives farther apart this year!

Over the past few days we’ve finally gotten some blessedly warm weather. Last Friday it hit 59 degrees, and with great trepidation, I ventured out to my backyard (aka Mt. Everest) to survey the bee situation. I was delighted to discover that both hives appear to be thriving!

I didn’t harvest any honey last Fall, so I’m pretty sure the bees have enough food for now.  Nonetheless I’m planning to open the hives up for few minutes today to do a quick check and and slip in some fondant.

It was too sunny to get good pictures, but if you look closely you can see my happy girls flying. Happy Bee Season!!

My "Beautiful Beehives" are in need of a new paint job!

My “Beautiful Beehives” are in need of a paint job!

Buzzing Away!

Buzzing Away!

The hive on the right is thriving. The hive on the left not so much...

The hive on the right is thriving. The hive on the left not so much…

Happy girls!

Happy girls!

Cat visits her bees!

Cat visits her bees!

Beautiful Beekeeping – Permaculture Playing Cards

Permaculture Bees

Good advice!  And this is just one card out of a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards.

How do you tell people what permaculture is? If you give them a book, they might look at a few pictures.  If you send them a link to something they tend to save it for later.  The idea of the deck of cards is that they might browse it like a book – but this is all pictures and just a few words.  Much easier to browse.  And hopefully convey a bigger picture in a smaller package.

playing cards

If you want to explore this subject further and/or purchase a deck of Permaculture Playing Cards, go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/permaculture-playing-cards

Summertime

Summertime,
And the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’
And the cotton is high

Oh, Your daddy’s rich
And your mamma’s good lookin’
So hush little baby
Don’t you cry

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But until that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With your daddy and mammy standing by

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Nothing Could Be Finer Than To Be In North Carolina In July!

On July 11-13 I had the great pleasure of attending the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association’s Summer Meeting in Pinehurst, NC!

North Carolina

Pinehurst is absolutely beautiful! Gracious Southern hospitality at its best…

Pinehurst-NC-Resort

I conducted two honey cooking workshops/cooking demonstrations in the Demo Kitchen of the Sandhills Community College. I felt like a food network star!  So much fun!!

Sandhills Community College

Sandhills Community College

Culinary Arts Department

Culinary Arts Department

I made one of my favorites, Honey Tiramisu!

Honey Tiramisu

I made enough for all of the 150 attendees to have a serving. I can now make Tiramisu in my sleep!

The NCSBA is one of the largest and most active beekeeping associations in the US.  It’s also one of the most hospitable!

I picked up lots of helpful information about beekeeping and enjoyed the company of other enthusiastic beekeepers.  I’ll definitely be a return visitor!!

Health Benefits Of Honey!

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One of the many great things about Farmers’ Markets is that you can find unprocessed honey, also known as raw honey, for sale. Most of the honey sold in grocery stores has been pasteurized and sometimes even blended with cane sugar or corn syrup. However, raw honey is naturally antiseptic and does not need pasteurization.

People have been using raw honey for its health benefits for millennia. Raw honey contains pollen, enzymes, antioxidants and many other beneficial compounds that researchers are just beginning to discover. These compounds largely disappear during processing. The general rule is the darker the raw honey, the more nutritious it is.

Allergy Relief

Recent research supports the theory that local honey– obtained as close as possible to where you live–may help build an immunity to seasonal allergies. Honey made by bees in the vicinity of an allergenic plant will contain tiny amounts of pollen from that plant. This honey will act as a sort of vaccine if taken in small amounts–a few teaspoons per day–for several months, and can provide relief from seasonal pollen-related allergies.

Antioxidants

Raw honey contains powerful cancer-fighting antioxidants, while pasteurized honey does not.

Digestive Aid

Raw honey contains many enzymes that can help some people digest food more easily so it may also help treat ulcers and diarrhea.

Vitamins and Minerals

The nutrient content of raw honey varies (darker honey is more nutritious), but a 1-ounce serving contains very small amounts of folate as well as vitamins B2, C, B6, B5 and B3. Minerals including calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc are also found in raw honey.

Wound and Skin Care

Honey has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. It is used by the medical profession to treat wounds, burns, and various other skin conditions including acne.

Cough Suppressant

Honey is also useful in treating upper respiratory infections. Studies have shown that a small dose of raw honey was more effective than an over-the-counter cough treatment. Be sure not to give any honey, either raw or treated, to a child under the age of 12 months.

Blood sugar regulation:

Even though honey contains simple sugars, some researchers believe it does not affect the body in the same way as white sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey’s exact combination of fructose and glucose may actually help the body regulate blood sugar levels.

In addition to its health benefits, it is a scientific fact that cooking with honey makes food taste better. Honey contains gluconic acid, a completely safe and natural flavor enhancer. According to the National Honey Board, honey “balances and enhances the flavor profiles of other ingredients used in a recipe.”

A little honey makes everything better!

Happy Bees!

My two new hives of Buckfast bees had a rocky start.

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They hated the plastic foundation I was using and built comb almost everywhere else.  From the ceiling of the Hive cover mostly…

The bees are happy even if I'm not...

The bees are happy even if I’m not…

I replaced the plastic foundation with wax and they were a bit happier.  Not a pretty sight from the inside however.

Now Hive Number Two seems to have slipped a bit from its moorings. This will be fixed ASAP.

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The good news is that both hives are happy and healthy and prospering!  I couldn’t ask for anything more!!

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