Tonight begins the Jewish New Year! Happy 5770!
When I was growing up, Rosh Hashanah meant a day off school and a trip to Mobile to my Mama Molly’s house. Mama Molly was my great-grandmother on my maternal grandfather’s side. She had the most fabulous house! And every year, she had a huge family party complete with passed hors d’oeuvres, bartenders, and catering. When we arrived, I always ran straight for the kitchen to ask the catering ladies to save me some kreplach, a specialty of my other great-grandmother, which always went quickly. Cheese straws and shrimp were also a staple. Yes, shrimp. I have no excuse for the shrimp.
She passed away many years ago and although my great uncle continued the parties, I haven’t been to one since I graduated from college. As I’ve moved further and further away from the family, it gets harder and more expensive to travel. Mr. Butterpants and I have to choose carefully so Christmas/Chanukah is often the winner.
I miss those parties.
I’ve been wanting to celebrate in my own way here in Los Angeles. I’m joining friends for services tomorrow and my friend, Buffy (in the process of converting!) is hosting a break-the-fast next week on Yom Kippur.
I wanted to go a little more traditional than shrimp and it’s traditional to eat apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah to usher in a sweet and prosperous year. So I figure this honey cake works, right?
Majestic and Moist Honey Cake
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking
via Smitten Kitchen
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (I used a tsp.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 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 (I used a Pomegranate/Raspberry Tea)
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey (I used brandy)
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional- I didn’t use these)
I also added 1 small diced Gala apple into the flour mixture.
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 made mine in two full-size loaf pans plus two miniature ones.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) 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.
Pour 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.
Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.
This cake is a perfect fall cake, whether you’re Jewish or not. This would be a lovely Thanksgiving Day/Christmas morning breakfast cake. It tastes like a slightly sweeter spice cake and it’s astoundingly moist.
Deb mentioned she had a problem with sinking. After reading her comments, I decided to use 1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda and managed to avoid it. Of course, I didn’t wait long enough for one of them to cool in the pan and it fell apart a little. But who cares? It still tastes awesome.
Whether or not you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, I hope you try this cake. It’s a yummy way to welcome fall.
L’shana tova tikatevu! Shabbat Shalom!
Be excellent to each other,