- 400g/14oz butter, softened
- 400g/14oz sugar
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 lemons, zest only
- 7 free-range eggs (preferably organic)
- 400g/14oz self-raising flour, sifted
For the decoration
Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 15cm/6in cake tin and a 18cm/7in cake tin. Grease a 15cm/6in oven-proof glass bowl or similar. Cut out a small circle of baking paper to fit in the bottom of the bowl. Flour the sides.
Cream the butter and sugar until it is very pale, light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest and honey.
Add eggs slowly plus a little flour if the batter looks like it may curdle. Fold in the remaining flour with a large metal spoon.
Divide the mixture between the cake tins and the oven-proof bowl.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, checking the smaller cakes after 30 minutes. The cakes are done when a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the baking paper carefully.
For the decoration, beat the softened butter in a free-standing mixer for 5-8 minutes until very light and soft. Add the icing sugar in gradually, beating all the time, until it is all incorporated. Loosen this buttercream icing mixture with the lemon juice and flavour with honey, to taste. Beat the golden-yellow food colouring into the buttercream icing to achieve your desired shade.
Dust the work surface with icing sugar. Knead the yellow fondant icing until soft and pliable, then roll small amounts of the yellow fondant into rugby balls to form the body of the bees. Knead the black icing until soft and roll out on the dusted work surface into very thin ropes to create stripes. Brush the bees very lightly with water and stick on the stripes. Roll tiny balls of red for noses, and little balls of white with black dots for eyes. Stick these on with a very little water. Push two slices of almond into each bee for wings. Set aside to dry.
Roll out the white fondant icing and use a daisy cutter to cut out white flowers. Cut small circles from the yellow fondant for the centres of the daisies. Set aside to dry.
Roll out the green fondant icing to cover the cake board.
Place the largest cake on the green lined cake board. Spread a layer of the buttercream on the top, then top with the smaller cake. Spread a little more buttercream on the top and then finish with the round bowl cake.
Spread a thin layer of buttercream all over the outside of the cake. Set aside to harden (preferably in the fridge) for 10-15 minutes.
Transfer the remaining buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a plain 2cm/¾in nozzle. Pipe the icing around the outside of the cake in concentric circles to create a hive shape. On the top, pipe a spiral and smooth with a palette knife.
Place a few bees on skewers or cocktail sticks and stick into the cake. Attach other bees directly to the hive. Place daisies on the cake and on the green board.