Choosing the right Manuka Honey is a piece of cake for BBC’s Jonathan Agnew

BBC Cricket Commentator Jonathan “Aggers” Agnew has revealed his love for Manuka honey live on Radio 5’s Test Match Special this week during England’s match against India.

The 58 year old said he “takes a spoonful of Manuka honey every day and hasn’t had a cold in 18 months” since he started using it.

He went onto explain that his wife Emma has had treatment for cancer so he “lived on Manuka honey” thanks to its immune boosting properties as he “daren’t get a cold”.

Famously the commentators on BBC Radio 5’s Test Match Special programme enjoy a slice of cake whilst reporting on the cricket, so this week our friends at Holland & Barrett delivered Aggers a special one-off Manuka Honey cake made with Manuka Doctor MGO certified honey.



The golden cake, in the shape of a column, was made from buttercream with sugar paste bees and hand delivered to Aggers on the Friday of the test match. Jonathan was so pleased with the cake made from his favourite New Zealand Manuka that he tweeted pictures to his near half a million followers which received more than 2,000 likes and comments from fellow cricket fans.

As well as saying the cake “smelt amazing” Jonathan told listeners that he “hasn’t had a cold, a sore throat or anything since last June, which is quite rare for me with the size of my nose!”

He also read out a message which said “we’d had heard the TMS box gets a little chilly this time of year, so here’s a Manuka honey cake to keep the colds away”. Aggers’ fans on twitter were quick to praise the Manuka cake, with many people posting that they had to logon on to see it after hearing about it on the radio during their drive home from work.

Feeling inspired? Why not try this dairy and gluten free chocolate cake with Manuka Honey from our favourite food blogger Lucy Parissi.

This rich chocolate cake is both pretty and delicious. It also happens to be dairy and gluten free with a totally addictive avocado frosting. Bake it as a layer cake in the oven or use your slow cooker to bake it as a steamed pudding (see notes).

Manuka Honey Cake

Most cooking chocolates are dairy free but if allergies are a real concern look for brands that are certified dairy-free - usually found in health food stores and online.

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook 20 minutes in the oven | 2 hours in a slow cooker

For the cake

  • 180g (5 1/2oz) dairy free dark chocolate, chopped
  • 70g (2 1/2oz) Manuka Doctor Honey, warmed until runny
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 70g (2 1/2oz) caster sugar
  • 60g (2oz) ground almonds, sifted
  • 40g (4 level tbsp) gluten free flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • vegetable shortening or coconut oil to grease the cake tins

For the frosting

  • Flesh of 2 medium ripe avocados
  • 5 tbsp Manuka Doctor Honey, warmed until runny (or more, to taste)
  • 5 level tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

To decorate

  • small punnet fresh raspberries
  • Dairy Free chocolate shavings (use a potato peeler on a chocolate bar)
  • icing sugar to dust

Manuka Honey Cake Recipe


1. Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Grease 2x20cm (9inch) cake tins and line the bottoms with baking paper.

2. Place the dairy free chocolate, honey and coconut oil in a small bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water and allow to gradually melt. Stir together until smooth and set aside to cool slightly.

3. Beat the egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and salt until you have soft peaks.

4. Stir the egg yolks into the dairy free chocolate and then add the ground almonds and flour. Mix together until smooth.

5. Add a third of the egg white mixture into the batter and whisk in to loosen.

6. Fold in the rest of the egg whites until you have a smooth batter.

7. Divide among the cake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cakes start to shrink from the sides of the cake tin.

8. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes and then carefully turn out. Cool completely before frosting.

9. Make the frosting: add all the ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until smooth. Check for sweetness and add a bit more honey if desired.

10. Use a knife to smooth frosting over the bottom cake layer, top with the second layer and then frost the entire cake.

11. Decorate with fresh raspberries, dairy free chocolate shavings and dust with a little icing sugar.

To cook in a slow cooker (crockpot)

1. Grease a small pyrex bowl and line just the base with baking paper.

2. Follow the method above until step 6. Pour the batter into the pyrex bowl until it is almost full

3. Place a a jam jar lid on the bottom of your slow cooker. Balance the pyrex bowl on top and carefully pour in enough boiling water into the slow cooker to come halfway up the side of the bowl.Place some baking paper on top of the bowl to avoid condensation dripping on the cake.

4. Cook on high for 2 hours. Remove from the slow cook and carefully turn the pudding out onto a baking paper lined wire rack to cool.

5. Frost the cake as above.