“Made By Mail” is a DXD Original Series and ongoing experiment where random (and unfortunately sometimes unruly) ingredients are sent out via post to friends and fellow bloggers with hopes of learning what the heck to do with them. This week Sarah Coates of The Sugar Hit is challenged to figure out what the buzz is all about on bee pollen. Fact blast! A tablespoonful of bee pollen contains about 45 calories and consists of 35% protein, 55% carbohydrate, 2% fatty acids and 3% minerals and vitamins…which is just crazy amazing ….even more so is that these golden granules are an easy and delightfully visual addition to a number of sweet treats we can’t wait to try out on, including this mind blowing (not to mention gorgeous) cake. Now, Let’s dig in! ~Kristin Guy
BEES! We all know how important bees are, right? Did you know they pollinate over one third of the global food supply? Neither did I, until I read it on a jar of bee pollen. Yes, bee pollen. An unfamiliar ingredient to me, but that’s because I’m not riding high on the superfood wave.
If you are, then you might already be familiar with the stuff. Tiny pieces of goldy-yellow rubble, that has a rounded, slightly bitter flavour – certainly not sweet like honey. It tastes kind of like a not-sweet caramel, if that makes any sense?
Health-wise the science is out. As in, there have yet to be any conclusive studies proving the health benefits of bee pollen. But if you’re looking for un-proven benefits, then you are in for a TREAT! According to the internet, bee pollen can cure you of just about anything, from eczema to addiction, allergies to infertility. There is literally nothing bee pollen cannot do.
Including enhance your cake game!
Honey Hazelnut & Bee Pollen Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
¾ cup caster sugar
¾ cup honey, divided
1 ¼ cups hazelnut meal
2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp bee pollen
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup milk
For the topping:
2 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup heavy cream
Extra bee pollen and edible blossoms
To make the cake, grease and line 9 inch cake tin (or fluted tart tin) and preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream the butter, sugar and ¼ cup of the honey together for a good five minutes, or until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Dump in all of the dry ingredients, including the bee pollen, and then stir until just starting to come together. Finally, add the milk and stir to a smooth, thick batter. Scrape into the lined tin, smooth the top, and place into the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Set the cake aside to cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes, before turning it out onto a serving dish. Pour over the remaining honey, letting it soak into the cake. It may help to warm the honey up a bit in the microwave, if it’s very thick.
To make the topping, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until completely smooth. Add the cream and whip to soft peaks. Spoon the topping around the edge of the cake, sprinkle on a little more bee pollen, and dot with edible flowers. Serve.
Of course, as we all have surely learned by now, it’s important to take the internet’s advice with a grain of salt (season your bee pollen!). Who knows whether this bee pollen is going to cure my addiction to the Gilmore Girls or not? The point is that it’s a pretty funky new ingredient, and you never know – maybe it is a cure-all? Can’t hurt!*
For my first foray into bee pollen baking, I went with the philosophy of ‘what grows together goes together’. So this is a lush hazelnut sponge cake, drenched in manuka honey (another miracle food – but it’s also delicious), and topped with whipped cream cheese mousse. Add an extra sprinkle of bee pollen and a couple of edible blossoms, and you have a beautiful springtime cake, that may just be a superfood.
But then again, I always feel like eating cake is doing me good.
*If you have pollen allergies, then this stuff could definitely hurt you – consult your GP if you’re not sure!