Normally, the recipes I publish here are tried and true favorites that I know without a doubt will turn out just as I say they will, without so much as a single surprise for my readers. And if I have a recipe I've never used before but think it might be of interest to others, I do a dry-run before I put in on my blog so I can tweak anything that's off and be certain that I'm not telling people how great something is when it could potentially be a total disaster. But given the fact that I've been beyond-busy lately (as you can see by the unusually sporadic posting of late), and the fact that Litha is just eleven days away, I thought I'd throw caution to the wind and post a couple of recipes for the sabbat that I've never tried myself. The bread recipe does come with high praise, albeit those kudos came from complete strangers, and the mead recipe is a total shot in the dark. Together we can decide if this was a good idea or a bad one. Here's hoping it's the former.
1 quart of water (preferably spring, not tap)
1 cup of your favorite honey
1 large lemon, sliced
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Boil all the ingredients in a (preferably) non-metallic pot, stirring constantly and scraping the foam scum from the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon. When the liquid boils clean and isn't clinging to the sides of the pan, remove from the heat and add:
a pinch of salt
the fresh-squeezed juice of half a lemon
Strain into a clean bottle or pitcher and cool in the refrigerator. This gentle, non-alcoholic mead can be served with cold, fresh slices of lemon in each glass.
HONEY CAKE makes approximately 24 little squares of cake
4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/3 cups honey (I'm going to use a jar of lavender honey I got at my local farmer's market)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325f degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 cake pan. Beat the eggs and honey together. Add the vanilla and butter and beat again. Beat in the sugar. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet mixture. Mix well. Turn into prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes to an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely, cut into squares and serve.
Photo of gorgeous honey cake courtesy of smittenkitchen.com