Cakes/ Dairy-Free/ Dessert/ easy/ quick

Honey Cake

January 15, 2018

This easy, dairy-free, moist honey cake will fill your house with a wonderfully sweet and spicy scent. It’s my family’s favorite recipe!

Honey Cake

In the Jewish culture, especially in my family, there is one noticeable thing that happens during the holidays, and that is nonstop eating. There’s no blame for how much food you shove into your mouth since “it’s a holiday!” and it’s time to celebrate. Most people start planning their post-holiday diet before the festivities even begin for this exact reason.

When it comes to holidays and family events, my mom always goes over the top. She’s either having some serious trouble with math (and she’s not), or she deliberately makes enough food for triple the amount of people actually coming. Her excuse is that she does it just in case someone surprises her with a visit during the holiday (which never seems to happen). I guess it’s fine, though, since she clearly secretly enjoys it. Besides, thank to that, my fridge is full of food for another week. This is mom’s honey cake recipe, by the way, that she’s been making us every year since we were kids.

Honey Cake

If you’ve never tried a honey cake before, then this will be the perfect time to try something new. It’s both warm and comforting, sweet and spicy. It is perfection.

Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Jewish New Year, is one of the most meaningful holidays in the Jewish culture. The honey in honey cakes, one of the traditional sweets of the holiday, symbolizes the beginning of a sweet year.

How to Make This Easy Honey Cake

Since there’s no butter in the recipe, only oil, basically you could mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. But since this cake can be quite heavy, I start by whisking the eggs with the sugar and honey, which helps to make the cake a bit lighter in texture. Then slowly add oil and vanilla extract. Then alternate the dry ingredients with the coffee/tea until all is blended together. Easy!

Flavor and Texture

The signature honey gives the cake sweetness and a delicious flavor, but it’s also packed with other flavorful ingredients such as coffee/tea, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom so it’s wonderfully scented. I suggest not skipping the cloves as they go perfectly with the honey and help to enhance the flavor, unless you don’t like cloves at all.

The edges of this cake are crisp and sticky, and the interior is moist and sweet. The honey helps to keep this cake moist for several days. The cake tastes better a day after it’s made, when the flavors have had time to mellow.

To take this cake a step further, you can fold some apple cubes (peel and core an apple, then cut into cubes) into the batter, especially if you make it for the holiday, as apple cakes are also popular in Rosh Hashanah.

Honey Cake

More Holiday Recipes:

5 from 18 votes
Honey Cake Recipe
YIELD: 1 loaf

I highly recommend to make the cake 1-2 days ahead of time. It will taste better and the flavors will be stronger. Keep it in the fridge but serve it at room temperature. If you want a super fluffy and airy cake, you can use the same recipe but separate the eggs. When the recipe calls for mixing eggs with sugar  and honey, use only the egg yolks. After mixing all the ingredients, whisk the egg whites with a mixer until they form soft peaks, then gently fold into the batter using a spatula. 

  • 1 and 1/4 cups (175g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves , optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or nutmeg , optional
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) honey
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) canola oil (or vegetable, safflower)
  • 1/2 cup warm coffee or tea (mix 1/2 cup hot water with 1 teaspoon instant coffee or 1 tea bag)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (25g) sliced almonds, pecans or walnuts, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 340°F/170°C. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom/nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together eggs, granulated sugar, and honey on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. On low speed and with the mixer running, slowly add the oil and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Turn off mixer. Beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the coffee/tea in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Beat until smooth. Do not over mix.

  4. Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with nuts. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top is browning too fast while baking, cover pan loosely with aluminum foil. Allow cake to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and set on a wire rack to cool completely. 

  5. The cake tastes better a day after it’s made. It's best served at room temperature. Cake will keep for 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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  • Reply
    Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    September 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    This honey cake is divine! My family is the very same during the holidays, we can’t stop eating!! This looks like the perfect sweet cake to celebrate with! 😀

    • Reply
      September 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

      I’m glad to know it’s not just my crazy family 🙂

  • Reply
    September 15, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    This looks really good!! As soon as it stops being boiling temperature here I will try it out! 🙂

  • Reply
    September 16, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    Hello, I’m super excited to make this cake. I love all those spices with honey! I’m a pretty terrible cook so will be following the recipe really closely. There is brown suggar mentioned in the method but not in the ingredients is it supposed to be the honey?

    • Reply
      September 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Ellee! Making this cake is quite simple, so don’t worry 🙂 Just follow the recipe and you’ll be fine! Make sure your oven is hot enough, and that you remove the cake out of the oven once a toothpick inserted into the center is clean (overbaking will make the cake dry). You are right, there’s no brown sugar in the recipe and it should be honey instead. Thank you so much for pointing this out!

  • Reply
    September 19, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Baked it today for breakfast – very good!!!!! I used whole wheat pastry flour and flax eggs. Light, fluffy and honey scented. Thank you!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Thank you Liza! 🙂 I’m glad you liked it, and that the substitutions you made worked out for you!

  • Reply
    October 14, 2015 at 10:27 am

    When do you add the vanilla extract?

    • Reply
      October 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm

      After adding the oil. Sorry about that! 🙂

    • Reply
      October 9, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      This is a wonderful recipe. The cake is delicious, and easy to make. The only problem I have had is
      it sometimes sticks to the pan and falls apart. It’s still tastes great, but it’s not suitable to take to someone’s house. Any tips for getting the cake to release more easily?

      • Reply
        October 13, 2019 at 3:29 am

        Yes! You can line the pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the sides for lifting the cake out after baking. Make sure to chill it before so it will firm up and won’t fall apart.

  • Reply
    September 28, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    Cake was good but when cut a slice it fell into pieces. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      October 6, 2016 at 4:13 am

      Hi Roxy, it probably happened because this is a very moist cake, but if you bake it long enough and let it cool completely (or even refrigerate it), it shouldn’t fall into pieces.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe Shiran! The cake turned out so incredible, I think it’s my new favourite!

    • Reply
      October 6, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      That’s so great to hear, thank you! 🙂

  • Reply
    December 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I actually made it today.It came out fantastic.Thanks! First time I ever added coffee to a recipe too.

    • Reply
      December 27, 2016 at 3:35 am

      Thank you Mandy!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    Thank you for this recipe. My cake is in the oven at the moment.
    I used 1/4 c white sugar and 1/2 c brown sugar as well as the honey. Thank you ?

  • Reply
    March 18, 2018 at 6:49 am

    I was looking for a good honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashanah and my sister found this.
    It was one of the best honey cakes I’ve tasted, I’m going to make this as well next time!

  • Reply
    Linda Walsh
    May 19, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Everyone loved this honey cake. I used by Kitchen Aid with the whisk, which really lightened it up; also, local dark honey. I made it for my library groups’s book, “A Gentleman in Moscow” to coincide with the honey bees on the roof of the Metopole Hotel.

  • Reply
    Aimee Line
    June 7, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I’m a Language Arts teacher in Naples, Florida. My middle school class will be studying the book The Bronze Bow next year. I would love to print your recipe for the class so that kids can make this at home. May I make 16 copies?

    • Reply
      June 10, 2018 at 8:25 am

      Sure Aimee!

  • Reply
    S Zet
    September 3, 2018 at 1:45 pm

    Do you think it will be ok to leave out the cloves?

    • Reply
      September 4, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Yes, you can leave out the cloves.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Your recipe sounds delicious. I want to make it for Rosh Hashanah 2018. I would like to make it using date honey rather than bee honey. What changes to your recipe needs to be made?
    Thank you in advance.

    • Reply
      September 5, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Thank you Maxine, I haven’t tried it with date honey, but the flavor will be different. If you want to try it, replace the honey with date honey without changing anything else in the recipe.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Can I make mini muffins using this recipe?

    • Reply
      September 5, 2018 at 11:33 am

      Yes you can.

    • Reply
      October 24, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Made this recipe exactly as stated and it is wonderful! Perfect moist crumb. Don’t be afraid the use the cardamom – it makes these really special. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Shiran!

    I would like to wrap this cake as a gift once baked, but cannot find a paper loaf pan in that size. If put the batter in a 9.25 inches x 3.1 inches x 2.5 paper pan, and put that in the 9×5 you think it would bake ok? I would put a bit less batter- but my concern is, would it the inside of the cake bake properly? I am also doing that for your carrot loaf.
    Thank you so much

    • Reply
      September 8, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Hi Sivan, I don’t recommend placing the paper pan inside another pan. Use the pan that you want, and fill it no more than 3/4 full with batter.

      • Reply
        April 20, 2020 at 9:44 pm

        This cake is divine! My new go-to.

  • Reply
    September 7, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Hi Shiran! I made this cake for Rosh Hashanah 2018 and it’s amazing! I’m going to make it again during the holiday. I made it a day in advance like you said. Thank you and happy holidays

  • Reply
    September 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Can I substitute the sugar for more honey?
    Try to stay away from white sugar

    • Reply
      September 8, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Hi Esther, this amount of honey gives the best flavor. You can replace some of the sugar with more honey but I don’t recommend replacing all of it, it would affect both the flavor and texture.

  • Reply
    Helen Kelly
    September 8, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    Hello Shiran. I am making this cake for Rosh Hashana with adjustments for people with osteoporosis. I reduced the honey, compensated with molasses, used coconut oil and half the sugar. So this to request permission to reproduce the adjusted recipe as a modification of this one with a link to the original.

    The Heathy Bones Group.
    Thanks for the recipe and for considering my request.
    Best, Helen

    • Reply
      September 10, 2018 at 7:26 am

      You can share the recipe Helen, thank you for asking!

  • Reply
    September 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    Just made this cake. It smells great and can’t wait to have for dessert. Any suggestions to avoid the sinking in the middle?

    • Reply
      September 11, 2018 at 5:35 am

      Hi Renee, over whipping the eggs could cause that, or that the cake is undercooked in the middle. Also, make sure you measured the ingredients correctly, if the cake doesn’t have enough structure it can sink.

  • Reply
    Carrie Goldman
    September 10, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    Have you ever made this with buckwheat honey?

    • Reply
      September 11, 2018 at 5:21 am

      I haven’t tried this recipe with buckwheat honey.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Hi Shiran
    I made this cake today and it is fantastic and moist..
    I wish I could post it to my family in Iran..?
    Thanks for your delicious recipe ❤️

  • Reply
    Ana Pimenta
    January 26, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    This recipe is fantastic. We produce our own honey and was looking for some honey cake recipes. Thought this one sounded interesting. Used decaf coffee as I was doing it for our kids as well. I thought the kids might not like it because of the different intense flavours but they love it!!
    I love the texture of the cake too.
    Already added it to my recipe book

  • Reply
    Felice Durazo
    March 18, 2019 at 6:59 pm

    Can you bake this successfully in a binder pan. Not sure it will cook through.

  • Reply
    Cramen Todman
    May 9, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    Can I add zucchini to this recipe? If yes what do I omit?

  • Reply
    July 9, 2019 at 4:28 am

    I made this yummy cake without the cinnamon, cloves etc. Loved it. Thanks a lot.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2019 at 11:41 pm

    Would this cake be suitable for stacking?

  • Reply
    September 1, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    I made 2x the recipe yesterday for my hubby to take into work. It was all gone in a mattter of minutes, we are lucky enough to get given lots of natural raw honey which I like to turn into honey flavoured things and give back to the bee parents. Was a huge hit and I’ve been told I need to make again very soon.
    Thanks for a great recipe!

  • Reply
    September 11, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    made these in mini loaf pans and they came out adorable and delicious!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Shriram,

    Could you tell me how can I make this eggless.


  • Reply
    September 25, 2019 at 8:42 pm

    Hi Shiran!
    I’ve made many of your recipes and they all turned out fantastic!
    I’ve never had honey cake before but I think my family will love it so I want to give it a try!
    Was wondering what kind of tea you recommend to add…
    Also, if I add coffee then is it black coffee?
    Thank you!! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 27, 2019 at 2:13 am

      Thank you so much, Miri 🙂 I use English breakfast tea or black tea.

  • Reply
    Maury Cohen
    September 28, 2019 at 12:48 am

    This cake is delicious, but both times I’ve made it there’s been a big sunken crater area in the middle, Any idea what might cause this? Maybe it’s an altitude issue since I’m in Denver at 5280 feet .

    • Reply
      October 28, 2019 at 4:17 am

      It might be it. It’s hard to know what went wrong without being there!

  • Reply
    Ruth S.
    October 1, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Just made this today and haven’t yet sampled it as it’s cooling. I made the basic recipe with a few simple additions and subs, though I could tell the original recipe was already excellent. Here’s what I did: I subbed about 3 tablespoons of maple syrup for some of the honey, used grape seed oil instead of canola, and added some raisins, a chopped apples, and orange zest. I baked the batter in a lined muffin tin (it made 12) for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees. The muffins look pretty awesome with sliced almonds sprinkled on top! Can’t wait to try them!

  • Reply
    October 4, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Lovely recipe. I couldn’t resist trying it on the same day I baked it and it was delicious. Can’t wait to see how it tastes tomorrow. I didn’t have ground cloves but used ground ginger instead. Great taste!

  • Reply
    October 13, 2019 at 10:54 pm

    I have made this 5 or 6 times already and I have a batch in the oven now. Incredible – thank you!

  • Reply
    October 17, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    Hello, do you think I could double this and use a large square cake tin?

  • Reply
    November 11, 2019 at 3:25 pm

    Just made this recipe today and I ADORED it. Would highly recommend to anyone considering trying it out. I didn’t have any cloves on hand so left that out and I chose to use nutmeg over cardamom. I also halved the recipe because I was a bit low on honey.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Tried this for the first time and the batter was very thin. Soupy,
    Even. Is it supposed to be like that? I followed the recipe with no substitutions. Thanks

    • Reply
      March 16, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Hi Amber. It shouldn’t be that thin or soupy. Maybe if using hot tea/coffee instead of warm.

  • Reply
    shprintza goldberg
    March 3, 2020 at 10:10 am

    I doubled this and baked it for 1 hour in a 9×13 pan. I make honey cake every year for Rosh Hashana, and I’ve tried lots of recipes, and this is the BEST honey cake ever!!!! amazing.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2020 at 2:28 am

    This cake is just so delicious! I stumbled upon this recipe only 2 weeks ago and have already made it 3 times! Thank you thank you thank you!

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