A taste of Bermuda honey will haunt you with its strong and quite unique flavour. What makes it different from the honey of other countries is that here the bees are free to roam and extract nectar from a wide variety of blossoms instead of the usual practice of concentrating on just one particular type of flower.
Scattered throughout the island are about one hundred hives, owned by some thirty five members of the Bermuda Beekeepers Association. Although some members keep bees just as a hobby, others keep bees in order to pollinate their citrus trees.
Most members have their own separators in which the honey is extracted from the frames. From the separator the honey runs to a settlement tank, and after twenty four hours a bottle is put under the tap, the tap is turned on, and out flows the honey. Sounds simple, but bee-keepers know a great deal of work is involved, far more than in this basic version of honey-making.
The Beekeepers Association has an exhibition in October and also puts on a display with the Citrus and Poultry Association in January. At still another show, the Agricultural Exhibition in April, the Beekeepers Association presents a cup to the lucky cook who produces the best cookery products made with Bermuda honey.
Bermuda honey because of its strong and definite flavour is ideal for spicy cakes such as: --
HONEY SPICE CAKE
3 eggs separated
1 cup sugar
¾ cup honey
½ cup salad oil
Juice and grated rind of ½ lemon
½ cup very strong coffee, cooled
½ cup raisins
¾ cup coarsely broken walnuts
2 cups flour sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Beat egg yolks until thick. Add sugar; beat until well mixed. Add honey and beat. Add oil and mix. Stir in juice and rind. Sift flour and other dry ingredients. Use part of this to flour the raisins. Add flour mixture and coffee alternately to honey mixture beginning and ending with the flour. Add nuts and raisins with the last addition of the flour. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.
Line 9 X 13 inch pan with foil. Pour batter into pan. Bake in moderate oven of 350 degrees for 65 minutes or until done.
When cake is partially cooled, invert on cake rack and peel off foil. When completely cooled, frost lightly with a lemon flavoured icing.
Source: “What’s Cooking . . . in Bermuda” by Betsy Ross, Hamilton, The Island Press, 1974.
Note: A man up and awake in the middle of the night desperately trying to complete a piece about Bermuda honey and a sweet, spicy cake ahead of a journey into what and who knows where? Why? I don't know . . . . maybe.