Honey cake recipe: How to make honey cake for Rosh Hashanah

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Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, will be celebrated by millions of Jews across the globe this weekend. The Jewish New Year begins on Friday, September 18 and ends on Sunday at sundown.

The Jewish holiday consists of many elements, including prayer services in synagogues and the blowing of a rams horn called a “shofar”.

However, perhaps the most popular tradition at Rosh Hashanah is to eat symbolic foods.

Jews will eat delicious and sweet foods throughout the holiday.

The foods eaten during the Jewish New Year are meant to symbolise the hope for a sweet and happy year ahead.

How to make honey cake for Rosh Hashanah

This “majestic and moist” Rosh Hashanah honey cake is by Marcy Goldman and can be found in her book A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.

Marcy says of her recipe: ”I like a New Year’s honey cake to be extra moist and sweet, as good on the day of baking as it is days later.

“This one is queen of the realm—rich, nicely spiced, in a word, majestic in taste and stature.

“I went through many variations and tasting sessions until I was satisfied with this definitive cake. One tester gave the ultimate compliment, saying ‘this one is worth the price of the book.’

“Like most honey cakes, it is a good keeper and can be made a couple of days ahead.”


  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon 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 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon 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)

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Preheat the oven to 350C and lightly grease the pan.

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.

Combine the ingredients well to make a thick batter, making sure no ingredients are stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top of the cake evenly with the almonds.

Place the cake pan on two 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 to 70 minutes and for loaf cakes 45 to 55 minutes should be enough.

For sheet-style cakes, the baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let the cake stand for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

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