I’m going to create a blog section on ancient Roman cookery with pics from my Saturnalia cooking fests. It will be cross-posted with another blog, so don’t be surprised if you see it elsewhere 🙂

To start with, here’s a sweet and easy recipe for honey cakes.


  • 1-1/2 lb soft goat or sheep cheese, or ricotta or mascarpone
  • 1-1/3 cup fine spelt flour
  • 3 TBSP high-quality honey suitable for an altar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 dozen bay (laurel) leaves
  • olive oil for pan

Libum: honey cakePreheat oven to 350°F/170°C.

Whisk egg into a froth and add to flour. Mix in cheese—you might need to use your hands to knead and combine it thoroughly. Add honey and blend well.

Lightly oil a small loaf pan or earthenware dish and layer it thickly with bay leaves. (The bay leaves both impart flavour and prevent the cake from burning on the bottom.) Pour in the batter.

Bake in the oven, or on the hearth in a lidded dish, for 40-45 minutes, checking after a half hour (poke with a thin wooden skewer; if the skewer comes out clean, your cake is done). The cake will rise slightly and cook to a golden brown and a bread-pudding texture.

You can vary the texture with more flour or more honey. With more flour and a stiffer mixture, you can form the dough into several round flat cakes and cook them faster (10-20 minutes) on an oiled, bay leaf-lined cookie tray.

Serve for Saturnalia or any festive occasion!