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!
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.
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 spicy and 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.
More Holiday Recipes:
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
- Preheat oven to 340°F/170°C. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom/nutmeg. Set aside.
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.
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.
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.