Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year


3½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup strong coffee
1¼ cups honey
4 eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup golden raisins or chopped dates
1 apple, grated
Icing sugar for dusting


Preheat oven to 300 F. Heavily grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
Combine flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in large bowl. Set aside. Stir together coffee and honey in a separate bowl. Set aside.
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in brown sugar. Stir in vegetable oil until just combined.
Beat together half of flour mixture and all of honey mixture into egg mixture. Stir in remaining flour mixture, raisins and apples.
Pour batter into prepared bundt pan and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes or until cake is springy to the touch, has begun to come away from the edge of the pan and releases a cake tester cleanly. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Run the point of a flexible knife around the edge, unmould onto a rack, cool fully and leave in a cool place, covered, for 24 hours to allow flavours to mellow. Dust with icing sugar just before serving.


Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

Jews, including me, celebrate Rosh Hashanah this week. It’s the Jewish New Year, a two-day holiday that begins at sunset on Wednesday, September 28, and continues until sunset on Friday the 30th to usher in the year 5772 on the lunar calendar.

Rosh Hashana is a quiet, serious holiday for Jews. No vodka shooters. No silly hats, no noisemakers. Rather than merry-making, we are encouraged to reflect on our deeds of the past year, and to ask forgiveness for whatever sins we may have committed, either against God or people. Not a bad thing, of course.

We don’t make this forgiveness thing easy, however. No intermediaries to get us off the hook. Rather, we’re suppose to either talk directly to god to ask forgiveness for moral transgressions of the ethical kind, or go directly to the people we have transgressed against. We can’t ask God to put in a good word for us. We’ve got to clean up our messes. It’s not easy, I’ll tell you. I’d rather walk anonymously into a little dark booth to get things off my chest than walk up to a friend or family member, remind them of the shitty thing I did to them, and then ask them to forgive me.

Fortunately, there’s a light side to Rosh Hashana as there is to all Jewish holidays. The food. To affirm our hopes for a sweet new year for our loved ones and ourselves, sweet foods are staples on the Rosh Hashana dinner table. So much so, my husband, a non-Jew, is never really sure when we’ve finished main course dishes and moved onto dessert since the sugar content of each isn’t all that different.

But he’s learned. When the glazed carrots and honey-roasted chicken have been removed from the table, it signals time for dessert. And that dessert, in most Jewish homes, is a rich, dark, dense, spicy, moist, and I must say, delicious honey cake. You don’t have to be Jewish to love it. You just have to have the right recipe, make sure it’s cooked all the way through before taking it out of the oven, and allow it to sit for a day before eating.

There are a million Jewish honey cake recipes in Jewish cookbooks and on the internet, so I’ll spare you the trouble of finding the right one. Toronto food writer, Lucy Waverman printed her honey cake recipe this past week in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, and it’s a winner. Lucy’s recipes always have a flavourful punch because she never stints on the spices needed to bring foods alive.

I wish you and your loved ones a sweet and healthy new year.

Servings: Serves 10 to 12, but lasts for 2 weeks well covered.

Other Names:

Rosh Hashana Honey Cake


Servings: Serves 10 to 12, but lasts for 2 weeks well covered.


Saturday, September 24, 2011 - 4:56pm


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