Every Jewish festival comes with a traditional cake. Rosh Hashanah – which is the Jewish New Year, is Honey cake. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated over two days and it’s one of the biggest festivals in the Jewish calendar. We get together and eat – a lot, gathering for big meals and lots of honey cake.
Traditionally honey cake is a really dense and heavy cake but I’ve been making lighter versions for years now. This one is made with syrup. Now I know what your thinking. If it’s made with syrup why is it called honey cake? Well, Syrup makes the cake a bit heavier than honey and that’s what my mum does and what her mum did and what her mum did. Get the picture? So I thought I’d give it a go. I didn’t want my cake to be too heavy so I made it the Genoise way. Still light but with a superior moistness! Yummarge!
Line an 8″ baking tin well. This cake mix is more like batter than cake so it will run out of any cracks in a loose bottom tin. It’s also quite sticky once baked so I always bake in cake liners. It also makes it easier to give the cakes as gifts.
Heat your oven to 180ºC (Fan oven160ºC)
Make the strong tea and set aside to cool a little.
In a separate bowl measure out all the dry ingredients
Measure the egg whites and sugar into a heat proof bowl and place over a bain-marie. You want to warm the mixture not heat it up. If it gets too warm you’ll have scrambled eggs – yuck! Whisk the ingredients to add air and make the mixture double in size. Remove from the heat and carry on whisking with a hand held whisk or in a stand mixer. Stand mixer is easier.
Measure the oil into a jug and while whisking the egg whites slowly add the oil in a slow and steady trickle. Add the egg whites and the oil and whisk further.
Add the cooled tea and whisk again.
Sieve the dry ingredients over the cake mix. Avoid pouring the dry contents into the bowl in one go as the weight of it will burst loads of air bubbles and we need them to give the cake lightness. Fold the dry ingredients into the mix until completely combined then pour the ingredients into the cake tin. The mix will resemble a very wet batter. It will rise into a deep cake so fill the case to ¾ full.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 45minutes or till the cake starts coming away from the sides. This cake is incredible light so if you press the top with your finger it will leave an indent even if the cake is baked.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a rack before removing from the tin.
This cake tastes great on the day of baking but even better the day after
Happy New Year to all my Jewish readers. Chag Sameach
I’ve been mega busy the last few weeks shooting Halloween (I know. I know! It was Christmas last time and now it’s Halloween. I’m all over the place! No wonder my head’s spinning) and as the kids are off for the Summer I have literally been here there and everywhere. Can you believe the little ones are half way through their 6 weeks hols already? Slow down time. Plllleeeassse!!!
Anyway, I nearly forgot to tell you all about my exciting mention in Delicious Magazine. Back in May the lovely Rebecca Smith, Deputy Editor over there asked me if I had a recipe that had been handed down to me for Rosh Hashannah (the Jewish New Year) which would fit in with their September issue. Each issue has a feature where there is a really lovely personal story of a favorite recipe being handed down from generation to generation or from special friends. It’s really sweet. Well, my first thought was to give her my Honey Cake recipe but as they had featured that cake last year I sent her my Challah recipe instead which I got from my brother Robert. It’s not one of those long time family traditions – rather just a nice to share story. It really takes me back to when he was in London (not Australia) and his first daughter was born. He tried so many recipes to get it right and would send everyone photos of what he had made each Friday night. You’ll have to pick up the current copy to read it in full and get the recipe- or I may just share it with you in a few weeks in time for Rosh Hashannah, but really I just wanted to share my excitement at having CakesBakesAndCookies.com mentioned in such a prestigious foodie mag. And just look how amazing Bex’s shot of it is in the mag!!! It makes my mouth water. Beautiful.
I do love a handed down recipe. Don’t you? What recipe have you been handed down that you go back to time and time again? I’d love to know.
I used to think that Honey cake was so hard to make! You would think that after years and years of making it I would have it mastered but no. Last year I decided to go all out and make a huge batch for the whole family, tennis mums and work colleagues alike. It was no mean feat seeing as I only had one evening to do it in and an oven with a thermostatic mind of its own.
I set off with my tins and disposable metal containers and started to make 5 times the recipe. It took an age to prepare and I didn’t listen to my own advice – three times any mixture is the most you should do in one go! Apart from anything the trusty Kitchen aid can’t handle any more than that, but it also messes with the ‘science of baking’. Anyway, It took me so long to get it all whisked, folded and in the tins that my old oven got way too hot. Within 10 minutes of putting the mixture in the oven they were burnt on top and still all liquid mixture underneath. It was a mess. That’s when I started again and came up with this recipe, oh and got a new oven!
The lesson learned from last year is take your time with the mixture and don’t let your oven get too hot!!!!
The winning Honey cake formula
I’ve tweaked this cake so that it’s extra light and fluffy but still a bit firm and sticky -definitely not too heavy. It’s totally moorish and I make it mainly for Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year, but it makes a great tea cake too.
Light and fluffy Honey Cake Ingredients
90g plain flour
100g Self Raising flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
4 eggs (separated)
100g caster sugar
110ml sunflour oil
110ml tea (the stronger the better)
To make the cake
Preheat your oven to 150 C / gas mark 2. Line a round 25cm tin or two loaf tins with baking paper.
Sieve the plain flour, self raising flour,baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground cinnamon together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl mix the egg yolks and sugar.
Add the oil and honey in a steady stream to the eggs and sugar mix, beating the whole time.
Whisk up the egg whites till they form soft peaks.
Add the flour and dry ingredients and tea to the mixture.
Gently fold in the egg whites. Be careful not to over mix. Fold until the whites are no longer visible. The more you mix the less air there will be in the cake and the heavier it will be.
Pour the mixture into the tin. Don’t overfill the tins as this cake rises quite a lot during baking.
Bake the loaf tins for 25 minutes and the 25cm round tin for 40 minutes.
A skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. You can also press lightly on the centre of the cake. If it springs back it’s ready.
When it comes out of the oven the cake will be well risen. As it cools down it will sink. Don’t worry. This is normal.
This is the lightest Honey cake recipe I’ve ever used. My mum uses syrup in her cakes which makes a much more sticky cake (which is also delish) and lots of people add a handful of walnuts or raisins, which are also good additions,but I like it plain and simple.