Honey cake is a traditional dessert served around the high holidays, to encourage a Shanah Tovah, a sweet new year. My mom bakes and sends honey cake all over the country to family, and every year they await her delivery of the sweet (but not too sweet) seasonal treat. This is my mom's easy recipe, altered extensively from kosher cookbook classic The Taste of Shabbos, originally published by Feldheim in 1987.
Among other tweaks, what my mom stressed in changing the recipe is to add the ingredients in the correct order, and above all, don't overmix the batter. Just combine the ingredients until there are no lumps of flour; otherwise you run the risk of the cake becoming tough. There are two leavening agents already in this recipe (baking powder and baking soda), so there is no need to mix any more than necessary, or else you will develop the gluten in the flour.
I often make a triple batch of this close to Rosh Hashanah, in the hopes that it will last, with some fresh, some refrigerated and some frozen, until Simchat Torah. But every morsel is usually gone long before that time, and I often have to bake one or even two more times to get through the season. Enjoy!
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup honey
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1 cup strong brewed decaf or regular coffee
Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Beat eggs in mixing bowl. Combine slowly with sugar, oil and then honey. Add coffee, alternating with your dry ingredients, taking care to mix only until the dry ingredients are combined.
The mixture can be poured into one 9”x12” cake pan, or two loaf pans or in mini-loaf or cupcake pans. Fill the pans halfway or a little more. Bake at 375 degrees. The baking time can be anywhere from 15 to 35 or 40 minutes, depending on the depth of your pan. Test for doneness by piercing with a toothpick; if the toothpick comes away clean, the cake is done. If you don't have a toothpick, just wait until the middle of the cake doesn't jiggle when you move the oven rack. The recipe doubles well and freezes well.
By Elizabeth Kratz