Majestic & Moist New Year’s Honey Cake Recipe

This advance preview from Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (on sale mid-October 2009) is a traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert, also perfect for fall and winter entertaining.

I like this cake best baked in a 9″ angel food cake pan, but you can also make it in a 10″ tube or Bundt cake pan, a 9″ x 13″ sheetpan, or three 8″ x 4-1/2″ loaf pans.

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whisky
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Note: If you prefer not to use the whisky, replace it with orange juice or coffee.


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the pan(s). For tube and angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper. For gift honey cakes, I use “cake collars” designed to fit a specific loaf pan. These give the cakes an appealing, professional, look.

Step 2: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, orange juice, and rye or whisky.

Step 3: Using a strong wire whisk or an electric mixer on slow speed, combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

Step 4: Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s) and sprinkle the top of the cake(s) evenly with the almonds. Place the cake pan(s) on 2 baking sheets stacked together and bake until the cake springs back when you touch it gently in the centre. For angel and tube cake pans, bake for 60-70 minutes; loaf cakes, 45-55 minutes. For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40-45 minutes. This is a liquidy batter and, depending on your oven, it may need extra time. Cake should spring back when gently pressed.

Step 5: Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Reprinted with permission from Marcy Goldman’s A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (2009 Whitecap Books). On sale mid-October 2009, but you can advance-order a copy from chapters.indigo.ca.