But just the first part. The honey cake.
As many of you know, my dad keeps bees. Which means I have been blessed with a steady stream of mild and wonderful honey. I can barely stomach the stuff that comes in those plastic bear bottles anymore. It’s because I’m a privileged and entitled brat and nothing but the freshest honey will ever do for me.
That said, I can’t use my family’s honey in baked goods. I just can’t. It’s like liquid gold to me, and putting it into an albeit delicious baked good feels like…encasing gold in…play-doh. Wow I am as good at analogies as Michael Jackson was at staying black (too soon?).
But I’ve made honey cake before. And I’ve used the good stuff. Because when “honey” is in the title of the recipe, I know it’s not just in there for the sweetness. It’s there for the flavor. And the spices in this cake play up the dense sweetness of honey in a really lovely way.
That said, this recipe isn’t perfect. Mine fell a bit in the oven, which was partially my fault (I bumped one into the other while taking one out to test it), but mostly I think it’s that this batter is so liquidy and heavy that the leavening is really tricky to nail. Plus here I think the spiciness could be upped quite a bit…with delicious results.
Basically this cake demands you sit down on some sort of soft surface with a cup of earl grey tea (with milk in it) and some sort of fire crackling in the background. Which is really what all of November should be.
Jewish Honey Cake
from Moosewood Restaurant Desserts
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
2 tbsps vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup honey
1 cup warm, strong, freshly brewed coffee
1/2 cup almonds or walnuts, chopped (i omitted these, i wasn’t feeling the nuts)
Preheat the oven to 325˚F.
Butter and flour a 5×9-inch loaf pan and set aside. (mine fit in 2)
Beat the eggs and sugar until well mixed. Add the oil, stirring until smooth. Sift together all the dry ingredients and spices and set aside. Dissolve the honey in the coffee. Add the dry ingredients and the coffee mixture alternately to the egg mixture, about half of each at a time. Stir until the batter is smooth. Then, add the nuts.
Pour the batter into the load pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and remove from the pan. Dust with powdered sugar.
This cake keeps very well if tightly wrapped or covered and often tastes even better one or two days later. We like it with a shmear of cream cheese or a scoop of ice cream.