For a birthday cake with a difference, I’ve just cooked up a batch of Valentine Warner’s Orangey Honey Buns. They’re from his 2009 spring/summer cookbook (What To Eat Now – More Please!), but I think a taste of spring in the depths of this cold, damp winter is no bad thing. I know Warner isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I find his goofy, greedy enthusiasm infectious – like Jamie Oliver, he’s the sort of inspirational TV cook who makes me crave fresh, seasonal food and gets me back in the kitchen even when I’m exhausted and short of ideas.
When I first saw these adorable little cakes, made from a sweet, yeasty dough, being prepared on Warner’s television show last year, I’ve been desperate for an excuse to make them. Heart-shaped silicone muffin tray procured, I spooned in the surprisingly small quantity of sticky dough, packed with egg for a lovely glaze on the finished buns, and left them to prove. My cakes did not reach impressive heights – perhaps one of the downfalls of a freezing cold flat – but rose satisfactorily in the oven. The next stage is to make a syrup of sugar, water, orange zest, honey, Cointreau, and a drop of orange flower water, before packing the buns into a sterilized jar and pouring over the syrup. They’re drinking up the fragrant, boozy liquid as I type, ready to be presented to the birthday lady tomorrow. Happy birthday, Jessie!