Honey Cake

Shana Tova to all! I know it’s already passed, but honey bread is the essential dessert for any Rosh Hashanah dinner, so I just had to share my experience making it last week. I spent the first evening of the New Year at my mom’s new apartment in Brooklyn. Going there reminds me that there is a world outside of Manahattan – only 20 minutes away mind you – that feels like a completely different city. Small brownstones on every street, a main road with small shops and so much less noise than outside my window. It’s quite amazing.

Honey cake is incredibly simple to make, but care must taken after it’s put in the oven so as not to over-bake and becoming dry, which it tends to do. I used a pretty generic store brand honey, but I’m sure it would be very tasty to test out some more interesting farmers market honeys to see if there is any difference. I doubled the batch, as we were having multiple meals and had to juggle the ingredients in many different bowls as my mother does not yet have a proper set of mixing bowls. This is certainly a true holiday cake that fits at any Rosh Hashanah table.

HONEY CAKE

(Adapted from epicurous.com)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup honey (preferably buckwheat)
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee, cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whiskey or bourbon (I left this out, since my mom didn’t have any)

DIRECTIONS:

1) Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 350°F. Oil loaf pan well and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

2) Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and ginger in a small bowl.

3) Whisk together honey, oil, and coffee in another bowl until well combined.

4) Beat together eggs and brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add honey mixture and whiskey and mix until blended, about 1 minute.

5) Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Finish mixing batter with a rubber spatula, scraping bottom of bowl.

6) Pour batter into loaf pan (batter will be thin) and bake 30 minutes. Cover top loosely with foil and continue to bake until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 minutes more. Cool on a rack 1 hour.

7) Run a knife around side of cake, then invert rack over pan and invert cake onto rack. Turn cake right side up and cool completely.

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