Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

Before you ask: no, I’m not Jewish.  (I get that a lot.)

I have, however, been lucky enough to get to know some wonderful Jews who have kindly included me in a few of their traditions.  I’ve always been fascinated by Jewish traditions and the ways they’ve been adapted and kept alive in different ways by diverse groups all over the world.  Jewish holiday foods, in particular, are rich in history and lore.  They’re also amazingly rich in flavor, and this honey cake is an excellent example.  Foods made with honey are a tradition at Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing sweetness in the new year.  I got this recipe from 

I used local honey, eggs and flour and locally roasted coffee, so I’m thinking this is my second entry in the September Philadelphia Eat Local Challenge.

Honey Cake

1 cup honey (I used Lancaster county wildflower honey)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup strong coffee

In a large bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the wet stuff, alternating with the coffee; beat well. Put into one greased 9″x13″ pan (or, alternatively, three 8″ square pans). Bake at 325F– 90 minutes for the large pan, 60 minutes for the three smaller pans.

I found that this cake rises a lot more than you might expect, and then falls during the course of baking.  This resulted in some batter around the edges of the pan that burned slightly.  I’d also recommend putting parchment paper in the pan instead of relying on greasing alone– this is, after all, a honey cake, with all the stickiness that implies.  Also, be sure to keep an eye on it while it’s baking– 90 minutes is a long time, and ovens and pans vary.

The flavor of this cake is very dark and deep; it’s not a ton of cinnamon but the end result is definitely a spice cake.  It’s a little sticky and fairly rich, and it goes really well with coffee at breakfast.  And in allergy-friendly Jewish tradition, it’s dairy-free!  Enjoy, and happy new year.

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10 Responses to “Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake”

  1. moveablefeast Says:

    Yum. I love honey-based deserts. Is this one dry, or does it keep pretty moist? Have you ever heard of a similar recipe with lemon rind?

    phil @

  2. Jennie Says:

    Hi Real Potato (gosh, I forgot your real names already)! Glad to have met you at the Headhouse Market this weekend! Nice blog – so many recipes! 🙂 Feel free to stop by Weavers Way table again to chat and see what we’ve got to offer.

    Jennie @

  3. therealpotato Says:

    Moveablefeast– This one is pretty moist. The texture is a bit sticky and crumbly, but not to the point where it’s dry. Haven’t heard of the lemon rind version, but it sounds really good.

    Jennie– Hi! Thanks for checking out my blog– it was great to meet you. I’m Sarah, by the way, and my husband/co-blogger is Joe. I’ll definitely stop by, and hopefully I’ll manage to write something up to post about the Headhouse Market as well!

  4. thesixthofseptember Says:

    Oooh, I too am not a Jew, but am quite a big fan. Hee hee! I’m going to have to bookmark this or something and make it, it sounds lovely.

    Thanks for making a comment over at my blog, I was happy to discover your blog (and I don’t remember how that was now — alas), and am eager to keep up with it. Reeeeal food, who’d have ever thunk it?

  5. therealpotato Says:

    Thanks, thesixthofseptember! I appreciate it. And your tomatoes look deee-licious.

  6. chughes Says:

    i am a companion to a Jewish woman who will be turning 95 next Saturday. i may try to make this for her. It sounds fabulous.

  7. gonzodamnpage Says:

    now thats good, i luv these kind of cakes ill try makin it u know!!! Take a look at my site please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. therealpotato Says:

    chughes, that’s wonderful! I hope you both enjoy it. (Just FYI, it makes a pretty big cake.)

    Welcome, Gonzo!

  9. chughes Says:

    Well, i did it. My two daughters helped me out, reading me the directions from the computer, cracking eggs and measuring. It came out beautifully. Thank you so much. Carole’s going to love it, i’m sure! You’re right in saying it’s pretty big. i’ve decided to bring her half of it, just in case she’d like to share with her housemates.


  10. therealpotato Says:

    Oh, cool! Thanks for making my night– I’m so glad!

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