Growing up outside Prague, my memories of sweets and treats are beautiful. I was born into a socialist Czechoslovakia and back then we did not have a culture of fast food, or cafes and restaurants in general. There was only one sweet shop in town square and so each visit felt a bit exciting.
When I went back for our summer holiday, sadly, the sweet shop had gone and been replaced with a bank. The town square will never be same again. We always met there with family and friends and I visited every week until I left for my new life in Australia.
Interestingly, given how society is increasingly sugar conscious, traditional Czech baking does not generally have lots of sugar and uses honey and spices instead. This little cake follows that tradition and is delicious, subtle and satisfying; the perfect afternoon tea refreshment.
- 60 gr unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp honey
- 3 eggs
- 60g sugar
- 275 g organic plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tbsp finally grated orange zest
- 200 g creme fraiche
- 300 g ricotta
- 100 g icing sugar
- finally grated zest of 2 oranges
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter a 30 x 11 cm loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment — I’ve made mine in small brownie size.
2. Melt the butter and honey in a saucepan and leave to cool a little.
3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and paler in colour.
4. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices and fold in gently. Repeat with the honey mixture. Fold in the zest and creme fraiche and pour into the prepare tin or brownies tray.
5. Bake for approximately one hour — when a skewer is inserted into the middle of the cake, it should emerge clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
6. Meanwhile mix the ricotta, icing sugar, orange zest in a small bowl.
7. When the cake is cold, cut it horizontally into three (or if brownie-sized, in half). Spread the ricotta mixture and assemble the cake. For the brownies bites decorate with ricotta cream on top.