Honey Cake is a traditional dessert for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), & it’s great for brunch or afternoon tea. Give this delicious Fall cake a try!
This time of year always reminds me of beginnings. Yes, I know it's not even close to New Year's, but for me September is filled with new pencils, shiny lunch boxes, and packages of college-ruled lined notebook paper.
It doesn't matter how old my girls get...if it's their first day of school, they know I will want their picture. Case in point: my younger daughter is starting her first week of graduate school in Savannah this week, so I had her text me her first day picture...she looks cute, young, yet grown up at the same time.
Autumn holidays and foods
I also love Autumn recipes that feature the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (a divine trinity if ever I heard one, typically found in bourbon). You know it's Fall when you start seeing the words "Pumpkin Spice" applied to almost any foods imaginable.
In the Jewish tradition, this week we also celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Food is an obvious way to celebrate a holiday (Christmas dinner, anyone?), and we Jews have a slew of traditional foods to serve at our Rosh Hashanah gatherings (don't ask me how many a "slew" is...).
Customarily, dishes that are sweet (both entrées and desserts) are served at Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing culinarily the wish for a sweet New Year. Roast chicken with apples and almonds is one example of a sweet, savory entrée, while the ubiquitous brisket usually makes an appearance at the holiday table.
But this blog is about baking, so it's the desserts on which I want to focus, specifically Honey Cake.
Honey Cake...a tried & true recipe
Apples and honey are the traditional symbolic foods for Rosh Hashanah, so desserts that feature one or both of those ingredients are usually on the dessert tray.
My go-to Honey Cake recipe (one I've been making since 1993) is sweet without being cloying, studded with pecans, and definitely not the dry, tasteless versions to which I've sometimes been subjected.
This year I decided to dress it up with a special ingredient that I found at Trader Joes...Apple Cider Jam. Apples...check! Honey...check! We're ready to bake!
How to make Honey Cake
As with all quick breads, making a Honey Cake recipe is simply mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, then mixing them together. Nothing too complicated here.
The combination of the honey cake with the chunky cinnamon apples and finely chopped pecans was a wonderful finish to our holiday meal.
This cake tastes even better when it's made one or two days ahead, but you can also serve it the same day it's baked. You can serve it with freshly made whipped cream (please, not the stuff in tubs or in a can!), or on its own. Either way, it's a delight to serve.
And to all, whether you celebrate Rosh Hashanah or not, I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous, and sweet next 12 months.
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes for quick breads & bundt cakes
Most quick bread & muffin recipes can be made as bundt cakes, and vice versa. A tip is if the recipe makes one loaf in a standard loaf pan, use a small 6-cup bundt pan. If the recipe makes two loaves (or one extra large loaf), use a standard 10- to 12-cup bundt pan. You can also adjust the recipe you're using (doubling or halving it) to fit the pan you'd like to use. Don't be limited to one shape for a recipe!
- Kahlua Cake
- Limoncello Cake
- Sourdough Pumpkin Cake
- Eggnog Bread
- Glazed Sourdough Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Orange Vanilla Pound Cake with Fiori di Sicilia
Honey Cake with Pecans & Jam
- parchment paper
- 1½ tsp espresso powder
- 6 Tbsp hot water, (3 oz, 85g)
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour, (6-1/4 oz, 175g)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg, optional, but why not?
- dash ground cloves
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup sugar, (3-1/2 oz, 100g)
- ½ cup honey, (6 oz, 170g)
- ⅓ cup canola oil, (2-1/3 oz, 65g)
- ¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped, divided (3 oz, 85g)
- ½ cup Apple Cider Jam, or enough to cover the top cake when warmed
- Take 1/4 cup (1 oz, 30g) of pecans and chop them finely. Set aside for topping.
- Dissolve instant coffee in cup with hot water. Let cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg (if using), and cloves.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat the eggs lightly on low speed. Add the sugar and honey to the eggs and beat on medium speed until mixture is very smooth and lightened in color. Gradually add the oil and beat until blended.
- Mix in the flour mixture and coffee in 2 batches with the mixer on low. Stir in the 1/2 cup (2 oz, 57g) coarsely chopped pecans.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then lift out of the pan onto a wire rack using the partchment paper as a sling. Remove the parchment paper, and cool cake completely.
- After the cake has cooled, warm the jam in a small saucepan on low heat until loose and runny. Drizzle the jam onto the cooled cake, allowing it to drip off the sides (you can place a paper towel under the cooling rack to catch the drips). Sprinkle with the reserved finely chopped pecans. Serve & enjoy!