For as long as I can remember we have been making Honey Cake, or Lekach, for Rosh Hashana. My father used to tell me how his mother used to make it every year and she put coffee in it to get a rich color and flavor, so we gotta keep up the tradition, don’t we? And besides…its honey cake…do you really need an excuse?
Some short history of Honey Cake – evidence of honey has been found in ancient Middle East. It was used to sweeten things since its discovery. When Europeans went to the Middle East (mainly for a pilgrimage), it seems that they discovered the sticky sweet treats and brought them back to Europe with them where honey cakes as we know got further developed. In fact the commonly used word for honey cake “Lekach” is a German word which means “to lick” referring to the sweet treat. According to Gil Marks, even when honey become “out of style” in Europe it was something Jews kept on using. Additionally, because honey keeps cakes so fresh it was used more and more before refrigeration.
While I love honey cake I am rather picky with it: it must be moist, with a sticky honey top and lots of flavor. There are too many cakes out there that look like honey cake but don’t have the classic attributes that make it honey cake.
Now this one has all 3 of those – plus it’s just easy and yummy to make. Simple, nothing fancy or crazy going on. Just honey cake the way it should be.
I have been developing this one for a couple of years now and when I got that sticky top I knew it was ready. Make it Rosh Hashana or any other day of the week and add it into your cake rotation.
Yield: 1 loaf pan
1 C. Sugar
1/2 C. Oil
1 tsp. Vanilla or Vanilla sugar
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1 C. Honey
1 C. hot or warm Coffee
2 tsp. Baking Powder
2 C. Flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the eggs, sugar, and oil together. Add in the vanilla or vanilla sugar, baking soda and cinnamon. Mix to combine. Then add the honey and coffee and mix. Add the flour and baking power and whisk until there are no clumps.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 35-30 minutes, or until the cake has set.