Honeysuckle Rose Cake

This one’s for Django; the Romani swing guitarist and father of gypsy jazz. And for you too, to cure your Thursday woes. Are you climbing the proverbial hump day hill? Take comfort, for you know not hardship (Hardtship?); the tale of Django Reinhardt is a terrible but inspiring one.

When we listen to Django’s lightening arpeggios, seamless phrasing, and distinctive rhythm, it’s hard to believe that he only had two good fingers on his left hand. One fateful night in 1928 in the outskirts of Paris, Django’s trailer went up in flames, leaving him badly burned. He defied doctors by overcoming his injuries, however; inventing a whole new innovative style of guitar playing due to the two smallest fingers on his left hand being paralysed from the accident. Django went on to inspire the world of music by conquering his physical limitations to pioneer and master a whole new style of playing music.

So to you on this Thursday morning, suffering from mere midweek misery or a more sinister adversity, I wish you my best. Take comfort in the fact that although you may be suffering, I’ll bet your fingers haven’t been burned off in a gypsy caravan fire (if they have you have my sincerest sympathies).

Highly perfumed honeysuckle is in bloom right now, filling the air with its bewitching fragrance. The curly trumpet-shaped flowers contain a sweet nectar, and range in pastel colours from cream to gold to bright pink. The flowers are edible, but the berries (which ripen later) are highly poisonous. I think that the honeyed fragrance pairs well with rose, in keeping with the theme, and also in season.

This cake is grain-free, sugar-free, low-carb, and high-protein. It is very easy to make, and is lovely garnished with fresh honeysuckles and some extra glaze: a perfect summer cake.

Note: This cake, like many of my flower cakes, is a two-step process — the blossoms will need to be infused in advance for at least 5-6 hours, preferably overnight.

3 medium free-range eggs
100g cottage cheese
40g coconut flour
20g ground almonds
50g erythritol + approx 15 drops stevia (or sweeteners of choice)
20g coconut oil
15g vanilla protein powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
Dash of sea salt

Honeysuckle Rose glaze
2 large handfuls of honeysuckle flowers
1 handful of rose petals — fresh or dried
Sweetener of choice — I suggest 50g vitafiber or 60g erythritol, but you can use sugar, honey, etc.

1. To make the glaze, rinse the flowers in cold water, and steep them in hot (but not boiling) water overnight or for at least 5 hours. Strain out the flowers, and add the liquid to a small saucepan with your sweetener. Simmer for about ten minutes and allow cool. Set aside.
2. Preheat your oven to 180C and line a cake pan with parchment paper.
3. Add all wet ingredients to food processor or stand mixer and combine.
4. Add in dry ingredients.
5. Scoop mixture into cake pan and pour approx ½ cup honeysuckle rose glaze on top.
6. Bake for around 30 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and pour a little more glaze on top. Allow to cool before eating.
8. Grab yourself a slice and listen to some Django Reinhardt.