Sweet Like Honey

Dear Reader,

Once in a blue moon, the stars will align and the ingredients in your pantry will exactly match up with the recipe you endeavor to make. Whenever this happens, take it as a sign that the kitchen gods have blessed the dish that you aim to prepare and have at it! I was recently so lucky when I stumbled upon just the right honey cake recipe.

Have you ever even heard of a honey cake, Dear Reader? While I am positive that I have tried honey cake before, I did not search for a ‘honey cake’ recipe because I was looking for something specific. In fact, I was just curiously wondering whether I could put my new 32 oz container of raw honey to good use and decided to ask the internet about potential options. Through my searches, I learned that honey cake is a popular Jewish dessert and a staple of Rosh Hashanah celebrations. Without too many additional key-word searches, I was able to find a recipe that called for almond flour (all that I have at the moment), instead of the traditional all-purpose variety. When I looked at the recipe (and then read it twice to avoid any stupid baking errors), I knew that this recipe was one that I wanted to pursue.

I followed a recipe for honey cake with raspberries and pistachios, I opted to omit these flourishes and stick to the original (with the addition of walnuts). The recipe called for almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cardamom and ground ginger (I had neither and decided to use allspice for flavor), salt, eggs, honey, extra-virgin olive oil, orange, and powdered sugar. I have had problems following directions in the past, which has led to more than a few baking mishaps. For this reason, for this recipe, I was extra careful and made sure to follow all steps to a “T” (with the exception of my necessary substitutions) including mixing the dry and the wet ingredients separately–a step which I usually find superfluous.

In the oven, the loaf modestly rose, browned around the edges, and firmed up in the middle. After forty minutes (and a few crisp edges), I removed the pan and began to make the cake topping. The warm glaze was a mixture of orange juice and honey. While the concoction was sweet, I was reluctant to dump the liquid onto this delicate little cake that actually turned out better looking than I had hoped. Regardless, I did as the recipe said and the nice liquid soaked right in and the cake had a sweet citrus aroma. Lastly, I mashed up a few pieces of walnut and sprinkled those along with powdered sugar on top of the cake.

The cake both looked and smelled delicious. For the first time ever, I felt good about something I had made. While I usually find my baking adventures to be an amusing way to use leftover ingredients, this time, I found the cake to be something worth serving to others. For example, my blueberry bread (more here) and cinnamon bread (more here) turned out to be abstract, child-like imitations of their models. However, this honey cake is something that I would be happy to present to a larger group, or just sneak in at a potluck event. Baking is fun for me; however, it is most rewarding when the outcome of your efforts makes you smile and want to share the fruits of your labor with others.

If you are looking for an almond flour recipe—I highly suggest the gluten-free one that I found. Baking gluten-free can be a challenge at times, however, the recipe that I followed was simple and even gave the option to only use three eggs (most almond flour recipes require 5 – 6!), which is helpful when you are sparing with your egg supply (during the time of the coronavirus pandemic).

As always, Dear Reader, I wish you the best of luck in your creations in the kitchen.



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