This deeply flavored cake is made with buckwheat honey, which has a spicy molasses character. The cake is wonderful served warm, but its flavors intensify overnight.
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4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for buttering
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons anise seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buckwheat honey
3/4 cup hot water
3 tablespoons Cognac
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda, anise seeds, ginger, cinnamon, salt and pepper.
In the bowl of an electric standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine 3/4 cup of the honey with the water, Cognac and melted butter; mix until blended. Add the flour mixture and mix at medium-low speed until incorporated.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, microwave the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey until fluid, 20 seconds. Turn the cake out onto a rack then right side up. Brush the top and sides with the honey. Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
The cake can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature, wrapped tightly in plastic.
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