Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (from now referred to as HFW) is well known in the UK. He has a River Cottage 'empire' and a regular column in the Guardian. He has campaigned on a number of important issues (Chicken Out!, Hugh's Fish Fight among other) and has a number of books too. But this cake isn't really all that much to do with HFW. There is a series of River Cottage 'Handbooks' published by Bloomsbury, of which I have a couple. The one that this recipe came from is 'Cakes' by Pam Corbin. Pam appears to be a very talented lady; the other book I have by her is the 'Preserves' book of the same series - her nickname is 'Pam the jam'. You can find out a little more about Pam here and here.
The cake came about because I was browsing simultaneously through my (very disorganised, overflowing) cupboards and the aforementioned Cakes book. The unopened jar of honey and the recipe for a spiced honey cake coincided and this cake was baked. You may think this is a slight simplification of the process, and indeed it is, but this cake really isn't all that difficult to put together. Pam notes that it is a family filler type of cake from the 1950s remembered by her friend as a 'beach and picnic' type of cake. I love the Enid Blyton scene that this creates in my mind - jolly outings where the family pile into the car, Father driving, Mother supervising and children excitedley chattering in the back seats. No seatbelts of course. It's the kind of cake you can imagine being handed out after exploring the woods, swimming in a river and having fish paste sandwiches. Easy to make and easy to eat.
This is a lovely old-fashioned cake, the honey combining with ginger and helped along by a little cinnamon and a pinch of cloves. The yogurt in the cake makes it light and moist (I used full fat Greek yogurt as this is what I had in the fridge, but I think in future I'd just use a normal or low fat standard plain yogurt). Pam notes that the cake keeps well in an airtight container for a couple of weeks, which makes it handy to have around for if you are expecting visitors but don't know how long they'll stay or how much cake they'll eat, or for if you need to provide cake on a Thursday but need to bake on Sunday.