These delicious soft and chewy honey cakes came about, like so many recipes, because of a mistake when a baker named François Rins made a mistake whilst cooking the much harder couque de Dinant. This story, and the recipe itself, are from Regula Ysewijn’s Dark Rye & Honey Cake, a cookbook focusing on baking from the Low Countries (including Belgium, Flemish France, and the Netherlands).
Find out more in our comprehensive review of Dark Rye & Honey Cake by Regula Ysewijn.
Couque de Rins (Honey Cake with Sugar)
The couque de Rins is a honey cake variation of the couque de Dinant, with the addition of sugar to make the couque soft instead of rock-hard. The result is a sweet chewy cake full of honey flavour.It was invented by couquier François Rins in the 19th century, by mistake. He added sugar instead of honey, then added honey and cinnamon, trying to cover it up. I can’t tell you how many origin stories of bakes resulted from ‘mistakes’! Today both types of couque are sold in Dinant. The couque de Rins is usually sold in stacks, tied together with a ribbon. This recipe is based on one I found tucked into one of my old cookery books.
Makes15 large couque
- 300 g (10½ oz) runny honey
- 100 g (3½ oz) demerara sugar
- 270 g (9½ oz) plain flour
- 3 g (1⁄8 oz) potassium carbonate powder (* see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* Potassium carbonate is sometimes sold as crystals, but you can crush them to powder using a mortar and pestle.
Start a day ahead of baking.
Heat the honey and sugar in a medium saucepan over low heat and remove from the heat just before it starts to boil, at the moment when the honey starts to move inward. Put the flour, potassium carbonate and cinnamon into a large bowl and make a well in the centre, then pour in the hot honey mixture and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon. The dough will seem too runny, but will firm up after a night’s rest. Set aside to rest overnight.
Preheat the oven to 210°C (410°F). Do not use the fan setting. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Scrape the dough out of the bowl and knead on a floured work surface until it is no longer crumbly and sticky.
Roll out until 5 mm (¼ inch) thick and use a 7 cm (2¾ inch) diameter cutter to cut out rounds. Lay them on the baking tray with ample space between them, as they will spread to 10 cm (4 inches) diameter.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden, not golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then keep in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
Kavey Eats was provided with a review copy of Dark Rye & Honey Cake from publisher Murdoch Books. This recipe and its photo are reproduced with permission from the publisher.