Eliza Redgold | Where does the wedding cake come from?
July 22, 2015
This blog post comes to us from Eliza Redgold, author, academic and
unashamed romantic. Her new novel NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva is now released
by St Martin’s Press.
"Do you follow the wedding cake custom in Mercia, husband?”
Leofric sat beside me at the high table on the dais. Fire glow lit up the
tapestries and bronzes hanging on the walls, gilding the timber beams richly
carved and painted in scarlet and ochre. More symbols had been added now. On
the beam above and on the wood panels of our chairs double-headed Mercian
eagles had been carved next to the wings of the Coventry sparrow-hawk.
How new the word tasted. Determined not to let it ferment, I had seized it
immediately yet to my surprise in my mouth it tasted sweet as honey mead.
Leofric’s hand rested on the high table, covered with the finest linen, but
now scattered with crumbs and empty platters. “It’s the same in my home,
wife. We too have cakes and ale.”
What was in his tone? Irony? Mockery? Or something else?
“They make honeycakes too?” I forced myself to focus on the ritual being
carried out in front of us. One by one, each of the wedding guests came to
the front of the hall carrying a small flat, cake. Placing the cakes on top
of each other, it formed a tier that grew higher and higher by the minute.
Down the hall servants were filling cups and horns with bride-ale, brewed for
this day alone.
~ From NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva
Did you know the tradition of a tiered wedding cake comes from Anglo-Saxon
times? Nor did I, until I researched wedding customs for my novel NAKED: A
Novel of Lady Godiva when I made a discovery that surprised me and might
surprise you too. At weddings in Lady Godiva’s time it was the custom for
guests to bake flat honey cakes and pile them one on top of the other. From
this comes the modern tradition of a tiered wedding cake.
Try this delicious honey cake recipe. At a party (it doesn’t have to be a
wedding, and I especially recommend it for book clubs) ask guests to bring
their own version of a flat, round honey cake and pile them on top of each
other. Sandwich together with honey frosting if desired. It’s delicious!
- 250g clear honey, plus about 2 tbsp extra to glaze
- 225g unsalted butter
- 100g brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 300g all purpose/self-raising flour
Heat the oven to fan 140C/ conventional 160C/gas 3. Grease and line two 20cm
round cake tins. Cut the butter into pieces and drop into a medium pan with
the honey and sugar. Melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks
quite liquid, increase the heat under the pan and boil for about one minute.
Leave to cool for 15-20 minutes, to prevent the eggs cooking when they are
mixed. Beat the eggs into the melted honey mixture using a wooden spoon. Sift
the flour into a large bowl and pour in the egg and honey mixture, beating
until you have a smooth, quite runny batter. Pour the mixture into two flat,
round tins and bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake is well-risen, golden
brown and springs back when pressed. Turn the cake out on a wire rack. Warm 2
tbsp honey in a small pan and brush over the top of the cake to give a sticky
glaze, then leave to cool. Keeps for 4-5 days wrapped, in an airtight tin.
Have you ever made honey cake? Leave a comment below and be entered for a
chance to win a copy of NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva and a box of Godiva
chocolates to go with it!
Eliza Redgold is an author, academic and unashamed romantic. She
writes historical fiction (St Martin’s Press) and romance (Harlequin).
“NAKED: A Novel of Lady Godiva” will be released internationally by St
Martin’s Press New York in July 2015. Her ‘Romance your Senses’ series of
contemporary romances are published by Harlequin (MIRA) Australia and Escape
Publishing. They include Black Diamonds, Hide and Seek and Wild Flower (2015
release). Eliza is also contracted to Harlequin Historical (London) for two
upcoming Victorian historical romances. Look out for them! She is represented
by Joelle Delbourgo Associates US.
Eliza Redgold is based upon the old, Gaelic meaning of her name, Dr Elizabeth
Reid Boyd. English folklore has it that if you help a fairy, you will be
rewarded with red gold. She has presented academic papers on women and
romance and is a contributor to the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Romance
Fiction. As a non-fiction author she is co-author of Body Talk: a Power Guide
for Girls and Stay-at-Home Mothers: Dialogues and Debates. She was born in
Irvine, Scotland on Marymass Day and currently lives in Australia.
By day a mild-mannered university lecturer with a PhD, by night she is a
wild-mannered writer of historical fiction and romances. “Writing makes me
braver. It has inspired adventures (and misadventures!) in travel, nature,
art, literature and even gastronomy. I hope my books will inspire you too!
They’re for people who love a good story, but want to discover new things.
They also feature adventurous heroines who are prepared to take risks in life
and love. Though in life and in love, of course, things never go quite as
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest |
We know her name. We know of her naked ride. We don't know her true story.
We all know the legend of Lady Godiva, who famously rode naked through the
streets of Coventry, covered only by her long, flowing hair. So the story
goes, she begged her husband Lord Leofric of Mercia to lift a high tax on her
people, who would starve if forced to pay. Lord Leofric demanded a forfeit:
that Godiva ride naked on horseback through the town. There are various
endings to Godiva's ride, that all the people of Coventry closed their doors
and refused to look upon their liege lady (except for 'peeping Tom') and that
her husband, in remorse, lifted the tax.
Naked is an original version of Godiva's tale with a twist that may be closer
to the truth: by the end of his life Leofric had fallen deeply in love with
Lady Godiva. A tale of legendary courage and extraordinary passion, Naked
brings an epic story new voice.
37 comments posted.
Re: Eliza Redgold | Where does the wedding cake come from?
No I have not bake one nor tried one :(
(Marissa Yip-Young 5:29am July 22, 2015)
Mmm, Honey Cake sounds delicious. Thank you for the recipe and the chance to win
(Holly Loch 5:51am July 22, 2015)
I've never made honey cake, but the recipe sounds easy enough, and yummy enough. I just have to do some minor conversions to make it. What would me even yummier would be to read your book, since it's been on my radar, almost since it's come out!! I've always been fascinated with Historical figures, as well as History, and I'm sure your book will not disappoint!! Congratulations on your latest book, and I'm sure it's going to do quite well!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:09am July 22, 2015)
No, I have not tried a Honey Cake but it looks delicious. I think I will try it when I have my next get-together.
(Jayne Cameron 10:40am July 22, 2015)
Sounds good, but I don't bake anymore.
(Wilma Frana 11:06am July 22, 2015)
Nope, have never made honey cake but will likely give it a
try! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
(G. Bisbjerg 12:32pm July 22, 2015)
I have made many honey cakes since I bake them every year for
(Sharon Berger 12:35pm July 22, 2015)
I have baked a honey cake, but it was years and years ago.
(Deb Philippon 3:08pm July 22, 2015)
No, I've never baked nor eaten honey cake but the recipe looks interesting as does your book. Thanks for the contest.
(Lesley Walsh 5:15pm July 22, 2015)
No I have never baked a honey cake but sure would love to.
(Jean Benedict 6:54pm July 22, 2015)
I have made honey cake, but this recipe looks much easier.
(Sheila Veikune 8:10pm July 22, 2015)
I hace made a lot of cakes in my profession ut not sure if any were honey
cakes....too mNy to remember them all. Very interesting about tiered
cakes...never wondered where they originated.
(Jackie Wisherd 11:15pm July 22, 2015)
I've never made a honey cake, and I don't think I've ever eaten one.
(Janie McGaugh 10:28am July 23, 2015)
I've never made honey cake and actually never tried it
either. But it does sound so delicious! I may need to try
to make some soon :-)
(April Kirkland 4:41pm July 23, 2015)
I have never even heard of this before.Thanks
(Catherine Myers 10:50am July 24, 2015)
I learned something new - about the tiered wedding cakes, and a lovely recipe for honey cake. Your book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win a copy, but I'll be reading it even if I don't win!
(Nancy Reynolds 11:54am July 24, 2015)
I like to bake but I've never attempted a honey cake, much less heard of one.
(Faye Boss 12:23pm July 24, 2015)
I have never made a honey cake, but I did make a batch of honey lemon bars that
were amazing! I am eager to try your recipe.
(Alice Hunter 1:26pm July 24, 2015)
Honey cake sounds good...I'm going to try it this weekend.
(Delta Upton 2:44pm July 24, 2015)
love honey cake at new year to keep things sweet
(Sandy Mangarella 6:29pm July 24, 2015)
sounds good tome. Honey cake
(Sharon Bontz 6:58pm July 24, 2015)
Never tried but sounds yummy.
(Karen Mikusak 6:59pm July 24, 2015)
Have never made a honey cake nor tasted one but it sounds delicious.
(Linda Harrison 8:33pm July 24, 2015)
no but i will !
(Debbi Shaw 9:25pm July 24, 2015)
That cake sounds great!
(Racquelle Robinson 9:59pm July 24, 2015)
I have never made (or even tasted) honey cake.
(Lori Ringel 10:17pm July 24, 2015)
I have never made a honey cake, but the recipe sounds
delicious. Perhaps I will make one for my son's birthday
next month. Depends on if I'll be visiting him for his
birthday. Which depends on whether or not he'll be
working that weekend.
(Irene Menge 12:00pm July 25, 2015)
I will sometimes switch out sugar for honey, but I've never
deliberately made a honey cake. The recipe sounds wonderful,
but I would need to change the measurements. ;-)
(Marcia Berbeza 1:10am July 25, 2015)
No, but I'd love to try it if someone would make one for
(Debra Kelley 3:21am July 25, 2015)
No, I have never made a Honey Cake .I haven't heard of it before now . It sounds delicious so will have to try this recipe out. Thanks for this recipe and this giveaway .
(Joan Thrasher 9:46am July 25, 2015)
No. A Honey Cake sounds so good so I think I will put it on my weekend to do
(Pam Flynn 1:45pm July 25, 2015)
I have not made one. Thanks for the recipe. I will add your book
to my TBL list.
(Leona Olson 1:55pm July 25, 2015)
No I haven't but I bought some specialty honey today. It would
be wonderful in this cake.
(Denise Austin 3:30pm July 25, 2015)
Thanks for the recipe. I haven't made one yet but I'm going
(Cheryl Lynne 3:32pm July 25, 2015)
I had never heard of it before this post.
(Nadine Stacy 3:34pm July 25, 2015)
I never heard of or had honey cake, but it sounds
(Wendy Sebastian 9:36pm July 25, 2015)
Congrats on the new release! I have never made a honey cake, but it sounds delicious.
(Bonnie Hometchko 11:25am July 29, 2015)
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