Traditional Rosh Hashana Honey Cake

A traditional honey cake for Rosh Hashana. © Miri Rotkovitz
  • 70 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: Serves 12 to 14

Many honey cake recipes contain so much granulated and brown sugar that it's hard to detect the flavor of the honey. In this version of the Rosh Hashana classic, I've reduced the amount of sugar, bumped up the honey slightly, and swapped coffee for tea so that the honey really shines through. 

I like the way this recipe showcases the unique flavor profiles of various raw, single-source honeys, though you can certainly use clover or wildflower honey.  

Tip: To minimize sticking, measure the honey in the same measuring cup you used for the oil -- it will be much easier to pour into the batter! 

What You'll Need

  • 3 1/2 cups (440 g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1-1/2  teaspoons ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (145 g) sugar
  • 1 cup neutral oil (235 ml), such as grapeseed or canola oil
  • 1-1/4 cups (425 g) honey
  • 1 cup (235 ml) strongly brewed tea, cooled to room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

How to Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease a tube pan with a removable bottom and set aside. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg. Set aside. 

3. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, oil, honey, brewed tea, and vanilla extract until well combined. 

4. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 4 additions, whisking as you pour.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix well before each new addition. Continue whisking just until the batter is smooth and lump-free. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown, springs back to the touch, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  

5. Allow the cake to cool in its pan on a rack for 20 to 30 minutes. Run an offset spatula or thin, sharp knife between the cake and the pan to loosen before unmolding. Transfer carefully to a cake plate. If desired, mix the confectioners' sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl, place in a fine mesh strainer, and sprinkle over the cake. Leftovers may be stored, well-wrapped in foil, for up to a week at room temperature, or for 3 months in the freezer. Enjoy!