Jewish Honey Cake
About a week ago I became obsessed with the idea of honey cake (some weird association between Winnie the Pooh and healthiness). Anyway I had a search around and found that, excluding Turkey and Backlava… the most culturally dominating honey soaked baking is to be found in Israel. Apparently honey cakes are a tradition for Jewish New Year because honey brings you luck (who knew?).
Recipes for Jewish honey cakes were everywhere and NONE of them were the same. Then in my growing bewilderment and indecision I stumbled onto one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen and there I found it, a perfect adaptation of Marcy Goldman’s Jewish Honey Cake (except Deb’s ones sunk for some reason – so not quite perfect).
The cake is beautifully spicy. I served it up with a dollop of yogurt mixed with orange zest. It’s also great toasted with butter later in the week. Highly recommended for all Winne the Pooh honey lovers.
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey … I didn’t have any so used brandy
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Generously grease pans with non-stick cooking spray (I used two loaf tins and lined the bottom).
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye/ whiskey/brandy, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)
Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. If you want sprinkle the tops of the cakes evenly with almonds. AND MASSIVE TIP FROM SMITTEN KITCHEN: Place cake pan on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).
Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cake stand for fifteen minutes before you remove it from the pan.
Source: Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking by Marcy Goldman .. via Deb from Smitten Kitchen.
Best cooked to… I was going to post a link to Mariah Carey’s Honey, but then thought that is going TOO far in the name of song title food association. What I actually cooked this cake to was Lady Antebellum, who I discovered on my sister’s iTunes playlist 3 months ago… you have to be in a romantic, dramatic, countryesque mood to enjoy them (and don’t be cynical about their overt emotion, okay?) … UPDATE: 2 minutes later … Haha I just checked out their MySpace and guess what they’ve just posted – a song called American Honey.
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