August 15, 2021
I am usually not a honey cake person. Not only is honey cake often heavy like a brick, overly or under(ly) spiced, but it also has a reputation for tasting like cardboard. If this cake wasn’t a pre-requisite at all Rosh Hashanah tables to help jewish families bring in the sweet new year, I’m sure recipes for this traditional cake would be scarce by now.
But lo and behold I found the answer to the perfect honey cake. Not only is this honey cake moist and delicious but it has a BANG, POW, BOOM that no other honey cake has. The secret to this honey cake. . . and I can only whisper it . . . is Mike’s Hot Honey - honey infused with chilis!! If you have never heard of this product, or seen this product do not worry. Amazon to the rescue. It can be on your doorstep in 24 hours! Mike’s Hot Honey will give your honey cake the zip it has been missing. And yes, this honey is even kosher! And no, Mike’s Hot Honey is not sponsoring this post. I just think it is a superior product that is the answer to your honey cake woes. Hot honey can also be made in your own kitchen! See note below if you prefer to make it yourself.
Now if you want to pass on the BANG, POW and BOOM, and just want a delicious honey cake that people will actually eat and ask you to make again next year, just substitute regular honey for my secret ingredient. My basic recipe is thanks to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen fame. She in turn has thanked Marcy Goldman, author of the Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking. You see a good honey cake is hard to come by. And when you find one you hold it tightly in your hand and don’t let go.
Note: If you want to take your own spicy honey combine 1 cup honey with 2-3 red jalapeños or serrano chilies (stemmed and thinly sliced) with 2 one inch strips of lime peel in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let the mixture get very hot. Let it simmer and start to foam, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a small heat-proof bowl and set aside. The honey can be made several days in advance. Store at room temperature, covered.
BANG POW BOOM Honey Cake
3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (340 grams) Mike’s Hot Honey (see introduction- you can use regular honey or make your own hot honey)
1 1/2 cups (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (235 ml) warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup (120 ml) orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) rye or whiskey - if you are not using the alcohol substitute with additional warm coffee or tea
Preheat oven to 350º F. Generously grease two loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Create a sling out of parchment paper, lining the bottom of each pan.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt cinnamon, and allspice.
Make a well in the center and add the vegetable oil, honey, both sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice and whiskey or rye, if using. (Hint- If you measure the oil before the honey it will be easier to get the honey out.)
Using an electric mixer on low, or a wire whisk, stir the ingredients together making sure nothing is stuck to the bowl.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Place the loaf pans on a baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 60-65 minutes. the cake is done when it springs back when you gently touch it, or a skewer inserted into the cake comes out dry.
Let the cake cool for 15-20 minutes. Before lifting it from the pan, run a knife along the edges that are not covered in parchment so it is easy to lift out of the pan.
Note - These cakes can be made in advance and frozen until you need them! Just wrap completely cooled cakes tightly in plastic wrap and then tin foil before freezing.