As Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) approaches, I always like to bake a few honey cakes, the cake of choice for Rosh Hashana. We use honey because it signifies a ‘sweet’ new year. We also have a prayer before the meal where we dip apple slices in honey, so honey is in abundance for us at this time of year.
I bought a whole heap of organic honey from the shop at the Hare Krishna Temple in Watford, and used that. Funnily enough, I actually don’t like the taste of honey uncooked, I’ve never been able to put it on porridge or cereal because I really hate it (one of the very few tastes I don’t like), but in the cake it’s amazing. It’s a strange thing not to like, really, isn’t it?
This is a healthy take on my mum’s original Rosh Hashana honey cake and it really is just as delicious as the original. It’s free of gluten, dairy (it’s usually free of dairy anyway) and refined sugar, but it does contain eggs so isn’t vegan. You should really bake it a few days, even a few weeks, earlier because the honey kind of congeals (is that the right word here?!) and it becomes even more delectable. It’s super moist, sweet and melts on the tongue.
Honey cakes are really touch and go when it comes to baking. They often sink in the middle and this was my third attempt this year. I’ve been so busy that I didn’t have time to focus on it so it took a few attempts but even the ones that sank a bit were fine. I’ll be giving them to family. They still look ok just not blog-worthy!
As a lot of you know, my dad is Moroccan, and Raine who used to be part of this blog suggested the idea of using rose water and cardamom in honey cake and it works so well. It gives it a real Moroccan-y sort of flavour. I’ve left these two ingredients as optional in the so you can decide if you want to use them or not. Just as delicious without but it adds something extra. Perfect with a cup of mint tea!
Shanah Tova to all my Jewish followers – may you have a sweet AND healthy year! And to those who are not Jewish, I hope you will try this cake and enjoy it as much as we do 🙂
225g clear runny honey
2 large eggs
110g coconut palm sugar
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp applesauce (optional, for added moistness and really works, but if you don’t have it or can’t get it you can omit this step)
250g ground almonds
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
150ml warm water
2 tsp rose water (optional)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional, if using rose water)
Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
Grease and line a 25cm square cake tin.
Warm the honey in a thick-based saucepan until it thins.
Beat together the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy and stir in the oil and honey, then the applesauce and rose water if using.
Mix together the ground almonds, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cardamom (if using).
Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the warm water.
Fold the dry ingredients and water alternately into the beaten mixture.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in centre of oven for about 1 ¼ hours but check after 45 mins as all ovens will bake this differently. It will be treacle-like.
Leave the cake in the tin for 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool. The cake can be served plain or brushed with honey and sprinkled with flaked almonds.
Happy new year!
Love & health,