How to Make Roman Honey Cakes
Updated: May 18
The Romans loved cake!
In fact, cake has been a popular addition to life throughout all of the Ancient World. Romans did not have refined sugar or butter. These two ingredients are thought of as essential in modern cake making, but The Romans still had a diverse array of desserts that they would enjoy throughout the year.
The closest things that we have to a Roman cookbook is a collection of recipes from the 1st century known as Apicius. This recipe collection has a number of references to cake, however, whilst the ingredients are provided, the quantities and the directions are not, meaning that we use educated guessed and experimentation to work out what the Romans would actually have done.
Some of the cake recipes involve a long list of ingredients including things such as pepper, wine, yeast and various spices. As the Romans did not have sugar they used honey to sweeten their cakes. Spelt flour is more similar to the type of flour that the Romans would have used so if you want your cake to be as authentic as possible then use this, if you don’t have any spelt flour then plain flour will work fine.
The recipe we have here is a simple adaptation from one of these recipes.
200 grams Honey
50 grams Spelt Flour (or plain flour)
I. Preheat your oven to 170°C (150°C fan)/330°F/Gas Mark 3
II. Lay out paper cupcake cases on a tray.
III. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them hard and well until getting stiff, creating lots of air bubbles. Use an electric mixer or blender if you have one.
IV. Gradually mix the honey into the beaten eggs. The mixture will thicken.
V. Sift the flour and gently fold into the honey and egg mixture. Don’t beat too hard as you want to keep all the air that you have worked in.
VI. Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake cases. You can either carefully spoon the mixture into each cake case or put the mixture into a jug and pour some into each case.
VII. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. When done a toothpick in the middle should come out clean. Leave to cool and then it is time to enjoy!