LEMON, LIME & HONEY LOAF + Our Backyard Bees

Lemon, Lime & Honey Afternoon Tea Loaf

I have made this loaf three times in the past week. It is quick to make, with a delightful sweet and tart play of flavours. In the recipe, I use olive oil as it is less rich textured than butter. It does mellow with the accompanying strong citrus notes, however, if you find it too much in sweet recipes, use a neutral tasting oil such as grape seed or rice bran oil.
Servings 8 -10
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes


  • ½ cup 125ml olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons mild honey or ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • Juice of 1 lemon about 3 tablespoons
  • Juice of 1 lime about 2 tablespoons
  • Finely grated zest of lemon and lime each
  • 1 cup almond flour meal or ground almonds
  • ¾ cup standard flour or white spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

Citrus syrup

  • Juice of 1 lime and lemon each about ¼ cup total
  • 1 tablespoon mild honey
  • Edible flowers such as blue borage and violet to decorate


  • Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a 10 x 20cm loaf tin.
  • Place the olive oil, honey, eggs, and lemon and lime juice and zest in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and fold together. Pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Place the tin on a cooling rack and use a small sharp knife to pierce the loaf six times – I do this in line with the cracks so not to disfigure the top of the loaf too much.
  • Prepare the syrup: place the lime and lemon juice and honey in a small saucepan. Heat gently, mixing just until the honey dissolves then drizzle evenly over the hot loaf. Once the loaf is only warm, lift from the tin and cool completely. Decorate with borage and violet flowers – both of which are bee-friendly flowers to plant in the garden. This wonderfully moist loaf will keep well for two to three days in a container in the pantry.

I’ve been learning a bit about honeybees recently. This is thanks to the beehive now residing under our fig tree. There wasn’t much activity during winter, but with the longer days and spring blossoms, the garden has become abuzz with activity. *Scroll down for photos of our backyard bees – bonus points if you can spot the queen bee 🙂

Although the bees require very little attention, in a way they feel part of the family. My children seem quite tuned in with the bees, often coming in from the garden to tell me about their comings and goings. They have noticed on sunny days how lively the bees are compared to grey days, and that rain stops them in their tracks.

Our neighbour, a beekeeper, and whose hive we are giving a home to, regularly shows up in his white suit with smoker in hand to check the hive. Eager to know more about the honey harvest, I recently quizzed him during an inspection.

I discovered that in our locality – Nelson – the main harvest is around late December into January. This is dependent on tree flowering and position of the hives. If there is an early flush of blossoms, particularly willow and kamahi in our area, a box may be full by November.

This would explain the light-coloured floral honey I have found at the markets during late spring. This is the type of honey I love using in baking, as it doesn’t overpower like darker aromatic honey. Mild flavoured honey works particularly well with tart citrus such as lemons and limes.

If mild flavoured honey isn’t available or you are not a fan of cooking with honey, replace with a liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, or use sugar. A note when replacing honey with sugar in recipes is that honey – being heavier in volume – is sweeter. As a general rule – per ¼ cup honey use ⅓ cup sugar.

Scroll down for more bees in the garden…

Can you spot the queen bee in the photo below – she is twice the size of the worker bees.

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