Recipe: Honey and Whisky Cake

Hi Friends,

As I begin to write this post, I have Eileen Barton’s cute 1950 hit song stuck in my head – “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake”. Go ahead. YouTube it. I dare you. 😀

Today I want to share a recipe for Honey and Whisky Cake. I got the recipe from a little book I purchased a few weeks ago in Scotland. This cake is quick and easy to make and really delicious. It’s moist, not overly sweet, and the grated orange rind is a wonderful addition.

Enjoy!

Honey and Whisky Cake

(adapted from Favourite Scottish Teatime Recipes)

Cake Ingredients:

1¼ C self-rising flour

1 stick + ½ stick butter (room temperature)

1 C soft brown sugar

3 eggs

4 Tbsp. whisky (I used Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch)

Grated rind of a small orange

Frosting Ingredients:

1¾ C powdered confectioner’s sugar

1/2 stick butter (room temperature)

2 Tbsp. honey

1 Tbsp. juice from the orange

Toasted almond slivers to decorate (if desired)


Cake Instructions:

  1.  Set oven to 375° F/190° C.
  2. Grease two 7″ round cake tins.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the grated orange rind.
  4. Whisk in the eggs one at a time and then whisk the mixture until it is pale and fluffy.  
  5. Sift in about half the flour and add the whisky.  Fold into the mixture.
  6. Sift the remaining flour and fold in.
  7. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and smooth the tops.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes until it is light golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a metal rack.  Let it continue to cool completely before icing.

Icing Instructions:

  1.  To the butter, add honey and 1 Tbsp. orange juice.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar slowly and work the mixture gradually until the ingredients are combined.  
  3. Sandwich the two cakes together with half of the buttercream.  Spread the remainder over the top of the cake.
  4. Decorate with toasted almonds and enjoy!

Let me know if you give it a try!

Cheers,

Happy Summer Solstice!

Bed In Summer

-Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

In winter I get up at night 
And dress by yellow candle-light. 
In summer, quite the other way, 
I have to go to bed by day. 

I have to go to bed and see 
The birds still hopping on the tree, 
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet 
Still going past me in the street. 

And does it not seem hard to you, 
When all the sky is clear and blue, 
And I should like so much to play, 
To have to go to bed by day?

-from A Child’s Garden of Verses

Italy Will Have to Wait

A couple of my friends are ardent travelers and as such, are a bit perplexed as to why Mr. C and I choose to keep returning to Scotland. “Don’t you want to go somewhere else? See someplace new?” I do understand their question. It’s a very big world after all, full of amazing and wonderful things. But my answer is generally always the same.

No.

Well yes. But not if it means that it takes Scotland off the table.

I really do want to visit other countries. In fact, it’s a dream of mine to see the other four Celtic nations and also Italy. But the truth is, I’m simply not done with Scotland yet. As much as Mr. C and I have seen and experienced, I feel like it’s just a drop in the proverbial bucket of all that the country has left for us.

When I fell for Scotland, I fell hard. So my philosophy is that as long as there are discoveries to be made, as long as it continues to make my heart sing, then I’ll just stick with what I know and truly love, please and thank you. Italy will just have to wait.

Scottish Highlands

Laggan Free Church

Like The White Bridge that I wrote about last week, today’s post features another amazing, serendipitous find.  Scotland certainly does seem to be full of those.

One afternoon a few weeks ago, Mr. C and I were driving through the southwest portion of the Cairngorms National Park near the village of Laggan. 

Threat of a storm rolling in.

We had just turned onto General Wade’s Military Road from the A86 when we spotted the fantastic ruins of an old church to our left.  Naturally, we pulled over to check it out.

Read more

It’s Gorse, of Course

Look, it’s a Scottish golf gorse! Ba-dum-ch.

That one comes at you straight from Mr. C. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen. He’ll be here all week. 😀

Also called ‘whin’, common flowering gorse is a large, spiny, evergreen shrub that bursts onto the scene in late winter/early spring. Though it is not uncommon to spot gorse blooms in Scotland year round, April and May is when this plant really explodes in bright yellow splendor.

Read more

The White Bridge and General Wade’s Military Roads

I never thought I’d be the type to geek out over a bridge. Or old military transit roads. Good gracious. Who AM I?! Someone please send help.

While heading southwest one morning on the B862, Mr. C and I came upon this interesting bridge over the River Fechlin in the tiny community of Whitebridge, Scotland.

Intrigued, we parked our car and with cameras in hand, crossed the road to get a better look.

Read more

A Surprise at Every Turn

Whether you’re traveling through Scotland on a dual carriageway (divided highway) or on a single track road (yes, they really are only wide enough for a single car), you will discover that there is no shortage of beautiful, interesting, and unique surprises at every turn.

I snapped this photo on the morning that Mr. C and I arrived in Scotland a few weeks ago. We were heading north on the A9 (on our way from Glasgow Airport to our rental near Inverness) when I suddenly spotted this beautiful castle looking structure on the right. Mr. C quickly rolled down his window and I somehow managed to capture the shot from my side of the car, at some 70 mph – a testament to the quality of my camera!

After doing some sleuthing, I think I finally figured out what this building is. I believe (someone please correct me if I am wrong) that this is Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry, a 19th century hotel set against the gorgeous slopes of Ben Vrackie.

See? A surprise at every turn.

Auchindoun Castle

Hi friends,

What’s new in your corner of the world? It’s hard to believe that a week ago yesterday I was sitting on a crappy, cramped Boeing 757, heading home from two amazing weeks in Scotland. Why we humans consent to getting into a metal tube that shoots us through the air at 500 miles per hour and at some 34,000 feet above the ground is beyond me. Ohhhh, I know why. It’s because our love for the people and places that await us far outweigh any of the risks. And for Scotland (in the words of Adele), I’m willing to take the risk.

Today I would like to share with you one of my favorites castles on my ever expanding list. This is Auchindoun, a 15th century treasure that lies near Dufftown, in Moray.

I have told you before that I love all castles. Never let a castle go to waste, I say! But I have an extra special affinity for the lonely, romantic ruins that time has all but forgotten. Thankfully Auchindoun isn’t entirely forsaken, as it is looked after by Historic Environment Scotland. I’d wager, though, that only a tiny number of tourists ever find their way to this treasure and I have a hunch that many Scots aren’t familiar with it either. It feels like a secret that I was lucky enough to learn. And now you know it too.

Are you ready to explore? You’ll need a good pair of comfy, weather resistant walking shoes. It is quite a hike from where you park at the end of the road and you may have the feeling you are trespassing on a farmer’s land. It’s okay, you’re not. Trust, me, friend. The view from the hill that the castle sits upon is worth every single step you’ll take.

Read more

Farr Farr Away

Well friends, another Scottish adventure has come to a close. I’m home.

It’s 4:45 in the morning as I begin to write this. My body, however, thinks it’s 9:45 and that Mr. C and I should be loading up the car for a day of exploration. With our tummy’s full of Scottish bacon, eggs, and coffee, we would have been all fueled up for a long day of hikes, history, and miles upon miles of some of the most breathtaking scenery on God’s earth.

Being home is bittersweet. I missed my dogs terribly and there is something to be said for getting back into the “regular” routine of things, I guess. But oh how my heart hurt when those airplane wheels began to roll.

That’s how it feels when you’re in love.

Read more

Hello From Bonny Scotland!

Hello Friends!

I am writing to you this morning from our cabin in the beautiful Scottish Highlands. Mr. C and I have had a tremendous first week, racking up both miles and memories. The weather thus far has been outstanding with plenty of sunshine and blue skies. And with nearly seventeen hours of daylight, we have actually had to remind ourselves to go to bed at night! As always, Scotland feels like home. Well, my second home anyway.

Here is a wee peek at some of the things Mr. C and I have been up to this past week. I hope you enjoy and I look forward to sharing more with you when I return. 🙂

Read more

Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle in a word:

Badass.

Seriously. Mr. C and I didn’t realize just how imposing a structure Tantallon was until we had parked the car and made the walk toward the castle grounds. The closer we got, the more Tantallon grew. And grew. And grew! By the time we had reached the building, it’s safe to say we were both quite dumbfounded by the formidable fortress staring back at us.

That little black line is me standing in front of Tantallon Castle’s Mid Tower and massive curtain wall. The ruined tower on the left is the Douglas Tower. Originally seven stories high, it served as the earl’s private residence. The East Tower sits to the far right and served as lodging for household staff and guests.
Though a large, open space today, the area in front of the castle would have been a place of much activity. There would have been all manner of structures essential to life in the castle, such as bakehouses, brewhouses, workshops, and stables.
Read more