I used to bake cakes for money in a Previous Life. I'm not a chef, I'm not trained at all, in fact I am the World's Most Basic Cook, but I love to bake. My cooking is seriously no frills, especially to look at. For me, it's all about the taste. Like my mother and her mother before me. In fact, this is one of only a handful of recipes I have from my mother, modified slightly by me, in Good Folk Tradition.
Honey Almond Cake
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 cups farina/semolina
1 ts cinnamon
1 cup ground almonds
Cream butter and sugar (I do it by hand, but I'm a purist). Beat in eggs, one at a time. Fold in (definitely by hand) farina, cinnamon and ground almonds. Spoon into a prepared tin (greased and floured) and bake in centre of a moderate oven (180 centigrade or 350 farenheit) until a skewer or knife comes out clean when inserted.
I use a 23cm koog tin, and, because it has the hole in the centre, it takes about an hour in a conventional oven or about 40 minutes fan-forced. But that's going to depend entirely on what tin you use and the character of your oven. I find that they're all different. You could also use a pan or baking dish, and then cut them up into diamonds when it's cooked. Or Hell, (it's all the rage), make cupcakes. But you're on your own for cooking times, I have no idea. I just use my nose. Or kids' noses, I can always rely on them to run and tell me it's ready.
Let stand for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack or plate. Then put it back in the tin and allow to cool. It will be heavy and not a bit springy, and that's a Good Thing.
Bring 2 cups honey, 1 cup water, 2 cinnamon sticks, and a couple of cardamom pods (optional) in a saucepan large enough to allow the syrup to boil up (and don't leave the syrup alone, if it decides to boil over you are going to be really sorry). Simmer for 10 - 20 minutes (don't hurry this, it will make your house smell fabulous). Remove spices and take the cake and the syrup to the sink.
With a skewer, poke holes in the cake, at least a dozen, all the way to the bottom. Pour as much syrup evenly over the cake as the tin will allow. Leave until it's soaked in (time will vary for this depending on the temperature of your cake - if the cake is still hot, it will take awhile. Cold cakes are much faster). When the syrup is absorbed, repeat until all the syrup is in the cake. Leave to stand for half an hour or so.
I usually make the the cake the night before and then do the syrup thing not long before I want to serve up. The syrup is so hot that it heats up the cake all over again, and makes for particularly good eating. But it's nice cold, too.
The almond honey cake was a big seller, and is still requested to this day. It's a bit more expensive because it takes so much honey (and ends up weighing a ton - don't make this if you're planning to carry it a long way), but it keeps so well that I suspect you could lock it in an Egyptian tomb and it could quite possibly provide a charming afternoon tea for the archeologists arriving 2000 years later. It's a good cake if you want to knock people out, without really going to any trouble. It's a cinch.
So there now, you have one of my Trade Secrets. Don't say I don't love you.