It Smells Like Christmas in Here

6 Oct


From Honey Cake


It smells like Christmas in my house, which is ironic because I made a Jewish Honey Cake. It is not really a cake, it is more like a bread because, well, because I made it in a loaf pan. If I would have made it in a bundt pan I would be telling you wholeheartedly that it was a cake. Funny how that works.

This cake is full of spice and flavour, and the spices are what pull my mind to Christmastime and days of baking in the kitchen with mom. My mom always told me to double the spices in Christmas-type goodies, to go hefty on the cinnamon, all spice, cloves, ginger, and all things alike. Now, as I begin to use more sophistocated recipes by foodies who make them and write about them and maybe even have a taste for spices as much as my mom and me, I am finding  I can trust other’s spice recommendations. This cake is perfectly spiced.

This cake has many of my favorite things in it…honey, coffee (who would have known?), orange juice…It seems, from Deb’s description, that Honey Cake is traditionally something like the Jewish rendition of a Fruitcake, just never, ever good – but she found a recipe that is great!


From Honey Cake

Jewish Honey Cake

3 1/2 cups cake flour (she used all-purpose and it seemed to do fine)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey <<I didn’t have either on hand, so I used vanilla coffee syrup!

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. I halved the recipe and made mine in one full-size loaf pan plus one miniature loaf pan.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease pans with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.


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