Not Your Average Honey Cake Recipe

Apple and honey cake, honey and cinnamon babka, and a moist cake with apricots: Take a different approach this Jewish New Year.

No Rosh Hashanah meal is complete without a really good, moist honey cake. It’s true that most of us have a trusty, venerated recipe that’s been handed down from one generation to the next, but the new year also provides us with an opportunity to do something fresh and new - even in the kitchen. So, in honor of this Jewish New Year, we’ve collected some particularly good honey cake recipes – some traditional, some a little more daring.

Apple and honey cake

Courtesy of Pastry Chef Omer Zernitsky Dromi of the Israeli Institute for Culinary Arts

Ingredients for English cake:

1 egg (50g)
150g oil (3/4 cup)
110g sugar (1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp)
165g honey (1 cup minus 2 tbsp)
75g egg whites (egg whites from 2.5 eggs)
40g sugar (2 tbsp)
215g flour (1 cup plus 1 tbsp)
4g baking powder (3/4 tsp)
4g baking soda (3/4 tsp)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
½ tsp ground ginger
150g instant coffee (1 tbsp instant coffee with ¾ cup of water)

For the apple filling and apple garnish:

4 apples
40g butter
2 tbsp honey
100g sugar (1/2 cup)
100g water (1/2 cup)

Directions:

Apple filling: Peel two of the apples and cut into 1-centimeter cubes. Heat the butter and honey in a saucepan. After the mixture comes to a boil, add the apple cubes and cook until they turn golden brown. Remove from fire and let cool.

Apple garnish: Slice the other two apples thinly (best to use a mandolin). Boil the sugar and water into a syrup. Place the apple slices in the syrup and let cool. Remove the slices from the syrup, place them on parchment paper, and dry them in the oven on the oven at 100 degrees Celsius for about 80 minutes. Leave the oven door ajar throughout.

Cake:

1. Using a mixer equipped with a flat beater, mix the honey, eggs, oil and sugar into a uniform mass.
2. Mix the flour and all other powders together.
3. Mix the instant coffee granules with hot water.
4. Add the flour mixture very slowly into the egg-oil-sugar mixture.
5. Add the coffee.
6. Whip egg whites with 40 grams sugar and fold into the batter.
7. Grease a 26-centimeter-long English cake pan and pour half the batter into it. Add the apple filling, add the rest of the batter, and top with the sliced apple garnish.
8. Bake in an oven preheated to 165 degrees Celsius for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is dry and springy to the touch.

Apple, honey, pecan and cinnamon babka

Courtesy of Uri Scheft and the Rinat Tzadok Bread Bakery

Ingredients for cake baked in a 24-diameter bundt pan:

120g butter
60g sugar (1/4 cup)
3 eggs
150g sour cream (3/4 container)
150g sifted flour (1 1/3 cup)
4g baking soda (3/4 tsp)
5g baking powder (1 tsp)
Vanilla extract
2 green apples (such as Granny Smiths), peeled and cubed
2 tbsp sugar and 2 tbsp Calvados or other apple-based liqueur
Nut and sugar mixture:
20g cinnamon
60g pecans
60g white sugar
60g walnuts

Place walnuts, pecans, sugar and cinnamon in a bag and break the nuts into bits using a meat tenderizer, rubber mallet or rolling pin.

Honey syrup:
50g honey
50g water
Heat in a saucepan.

Directions:

1. Peel the apples and cut into small cubes. Mix with the sugar and Calvados. Set aside.
2. Grease the pan with 20 grams softened butter. Evenly distribute 50 grams sliced almonds or sliced hazelnuts around the pan’s sides and bottom.
3. Cream the butter and sugar using the flat beater blade of your mixer until fluffy and white.
4. Add the eggs slowly until they are fully incorporated.
5. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sour cream, alternating between the dry and wet ingredients, to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and blend until smooth.
6. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apple pieces on top and press them lightly into the batter.
7. Scatter 1/3 of the nut mixture on top of the apple pieces.
8. Add the second 1/3 of the batter. Top with the second 1/3 of the nut mixture and follow with the last 1/3 of the batter.
9. Top the cake with the last of the nut mixture.
10. Bake for 35-40 minutes in an oven preheated to 170 degrees Celsius.
11. After the cake is removed from the pan, infuse it with the honey syrup.

Moist honey cake with apricots

Ingredients for cake baked in a 24 cm springform round pan:

1 cup wildflower or citrus flower honey (depending on personal preference)
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp pure apricot preserve mixed with ¾ cup water
4 eggs
½ cup olive oil
½ cup almond flour, almond meal or ground almonds
½ tsp baking soda and 3 cups flour sifted together
1 tsp high-quality vanilla extract

For syrup topping:

Over a small flame, cook 2 tbsp pure apricot preserves with ½ cup water; strain.

Directions:

1. Grease and flour baking pan thoroughly.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs, adding the sugar until the mixture increases in volume and become fluffy and pale.
3. While continuing to mix, slowly drizzle in the oil until it is incorporated, and follow with the water-preserve mixture and vanilla extract.
4. Working at slow speed, add all the flour and almond flour/almond meal/ground almonds, mixing only until the batter is uniform.
5. Pour batter into baking pan and bake at an oven preheated to 175 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. Test cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. When it comes away clean, remove from the oven.
6. After 10 minutes, carefully release the cake from the pan using the dull edge of a paring knife.
7. Drizzle the syrup evenly over the top of the cake.

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Shiran Carmel
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