Whenever Hercules and his family had to self-isolate – for instance due to a bad outbreak of Stymphalian bird flu – they would happily pass the time baking honey cakes. These dense, moist, syrupy cakes are perfect for keeping the lockdown blues away!

You probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry, saving you from yet another treacherous journey to the supermarket. These days, that can feel as daunting as making your way through the Gorgon’s garden, without so much as a face mask to protect yourself from her stony glare.

I hope you have fun making Hercules’ favourite snack, the perfect thing to much on while sitting at home with a good book (or ten)!




250 g butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 cup semolina

1 cup self-raising flour

1 cup desiccated coconut

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


2 ½ cups sugar

3 cups water

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey


  1. Place syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Boil over medium heat for 20 minutes, then take the syrup off the stove and allow it to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in well.
  4. Stir in the vanilla essence.
  5. Add the semolina, self-raising flour and coconut, and fold in along with the milk.
  6. Spread the thick batter into a medium-sized buttered slab cake tin.
  7. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 45-50 minutes, until the cake is golden brown.
  8. Take the cake out of the oven and immediately poor the cooled syrup over the hot cake. Allow the syrup to soak in.
  9. When the cake has cooled, cut it into squares or diamond shapes for serving.
  10. Keep out of reach of Greek heroes, big and small, or you won’t have any left for yourself!

3 thoughts on “recipe: Hercules’ Honey Cakes

  1. Yum! Hercules eating honey cakes in an exotic garden filled with Hera’s peacocks! Elysian Fields?

    1. Stella says:

      Also known as my kitchen!

      1. Does Zoe get her own treat too?

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