Teissennau Mêl are Welsh honeycakes. (In fact, that’s just what ‘tiessennau mêl’ means in Welsh.) My family doesn’t have many traditions (from the Welsh side or from any others, honestly) but one of mine is to make these every year on St David’s Day – which is today!
This is an old recipe that I have tweaked a bit myself. (Is anyone surprised?) As one might expect for honeycakes, the batter can be quite gooey and sticky! It’s definitely worth the trouble, though, and it is not nearly so challenging to work with as I anticipated the first time I made them.
The cakes themselves are not too sweet, but thick with the flavour of the honey (so make sure you use a honey with notes you enjoy) and a little too delightfully easy to nibble on. I always wind up snagging one (or three) from the platter every time I walk through the kitchen!
This recipe makes around 40 little cakes.
⅓ cup honey (4 ounces)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick of butter (4 ounces)
½ cup brown sugar (4 ounces)
1.8 cups flour
⅓ cup milk (roughly)
Confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
Preheat oven to 400° and grease a mini muffin tin.
Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, and bicarbonate of soda.
Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
Separate the egg, keeping both the yolk and the white.
Beat the egg yolk into the butter and sugar, then gradually add the honey.
Mix in the flour mixture, gradually adding as little milk as necessary to keep the batter combining well.
Whisk the egg white into a stiff froth, then fold into the batter.
If you can remember/have the patience (I honestly never remember this) leaving the completed batter to sit for up to ten minutes will make it much easier to work with.
Spoon into the muffin tins, keeping them less than half full. Lightly dredge the tops with confectioner’s sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes.
When removed from oven, allow to cool for a minute or two before removing them from the pan.
Let them rest on a cooling rack and lightly dust with more confectioner’s sugar while still hot.
If you are reusing the same tin to bake further batches (I do, as I only have one mini muffin tin) remember to regrease the tin before filling with more batter, but it need not cool completely first.