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 Recipezaar.com.
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.
1 cup honey (I used Lancaster county wildflower honey)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
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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