Monday, September 26, 2011

Cake #34 Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Wednesday September 28th and it is a tradition to have honey cake to ensure a sweet year to come. I thought it would be nice to make honey cake for my Jewish friends.

The recipe is incredible. There are so many complex and diverse flavors represented and the batter smelled so good my stomach started grumbling. I was a little concerned about how it would all meld together but decided that that was the oven's problem; I'd just have a little faith.

Majestic and Moist Honey Cake via Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking

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 (I used 3/4 cup oil and 1/4 apple sauce)
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
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

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 or whiskey, 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 pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) 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 fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

Because I was sending these in the mail, I waited until they were completely cool and then double wrapped them in waxed paper.

Next Came two layers of plastic wrap and some wrinkle ribbon plus a tag for decoration.

Then I placed them in a ziploc bag and folded it over and secured the excess plastic underneath with tape.

After that I wrapped the cake in bubble wrap and placed them in a box. Maybe it was a little overboard on the five layers of wapping but I wanted it to get to the destination fresh and in one piece. This cake is especially good for mailing because it tastes best after sitting a few days.

I can't confirm this, as the cake we kept was gone before it even had time to cool completely. It had marvelous flavor and the honey taste was very present - not an easy thing as honey tends to get lost in most recipes. The spice blend was perfect and while I worried about the coffee, orange juice and whiskey tasting weird, it just came together into a heady, undefinable greatness. We'll definitely make this again.


Jenna Bayley-Burke said...

I have never thought to make it with tea. I love tea. Great idea.

Robbiegirl said...

I was lucky enough to be a recipient of this amazing cake. I have had many honey cakes in my lifetime and it's the truth ,this us the best I have ever had.
Thank-you for the cake and the recipe but most of all,thank-you for your friendship,Nicole.