Baking History

A Taste For The Past

Honey Cakes, No. 1

Posted by bakinghistory on September 11, 2007


Honey cake is one of the traditional sweets served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This recipe is one of the best versions ever: it produces a moist, mildly spiced, golden cake with a deep honey flavor. It is best made one day ahead and it just improves over time.

Shanah Tovah–5768

From the original recipe by Florence Kreisler Greenbaum

In The International Jewish Cook Book” 1919-USA


1 lb (1-1/3 cup–454 g) honey

1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar

4 large eggs

1 tbsp (6 g) ground allspice (see note)

3 tbsp salad oil + extra for the cake pan

4 cups (1 lb–454 g) all-purpose flour

3 tsp (15 g) baking powder



Preheat the oven at 350°F (180°C). Generously oil a cake pan (I used a traditional Bundt® pan–if you prefer you can use two 5.4 x 9.1-inches loaf pans (13.6 x 23.2 cm).

Pour the honey in a pan, and warm it up, on low heat, taking care not to let it boil.

Beat the eggs with the granulated sugar at medium-high speed for 20 minutes, until light and pale yellow in color. Add the oil and beat until well incorporated.

Sift the flour with the ground allspice and the baking powder, then add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Finally add the warm honey and beat well.

The batter will be creamy and glossy and golden in color. Pour it delicately into the prepared mold(s) and bake for about 1 hour–a toothpick must come out clean when the cake is ready. Take care not to bake the cake at too high a temperature (not above 350F–180C) or it will brown too quickly on the outside and remain raw inside.

Let the cake cool in the pan placed on a rack for about 10 minutes. Then take it out of the pan(s) and let it finish cooling on the rack. When completely cold, wrap it in aluminum foil (not plastic wrap) or place it in an airtight container for one day before serving. It lasts a long time and improves.

Note: if possible, it is best to use whole allspice berries. Toast them lightly in a pan (not non-stick) on low heat stirring with a wooden spatula until the fragrance rises. Take immediately off the heat and let cool. When cold, grind the allspice berries in a spice or coffee grinder, then sift the spice powder into the flour using a fine strainer.




15 Responses to “Honey Cakes, No. 1”

  1. burekaboy said

    looks great 🙂 using whole allspice must improve the flavour greatly. with a gazillion honey cake recipes out there, it’s hard to make a choice.

    thanks for your comment on my blog and adding me to your blog roll 🙂

    shanah tovah – a healthy and happy new year to you!

  2. bakinghistory said

    Thanks Burekaboy! 🙂

  3. Janet said

    I don’t believe I have ever had honey cake, but it looks really good.

  4. bakinghistory said

    @ Janet: Thanks! It is indeed a nice cake and this particular recipe is simpler than most in terms of ingredients, but it turns out really very good. My whole family likes it. 🙂

  5. […] I read alot. Food is such a basic thing it is cool to prepare recipes from the past. The recipe for Honey Cake is no exception. From a 1919 cookbook it is a wonderful dessert, traditional to Rosh Hashanah. 49. […]

  6. Chiara said

    Questa torta sembra davvero favolosa e vorrei provarla…ma…non ho capito in cosa consistono le allspice berries. Potresti spiegarmelo per favore? Thanks.
    PS sono in attesa di altre ricette!!! 🙂

  7. Chiara said

    PS: mi sorge il dubbio: è pepe???

  8. bakinghistory said

    Ciao Chiara 🙂

    L’allspice e’ il pepe della Jamaica(o pepe garofanato) so che in Italia si vende nelle drogherie ben fornite. Altrimenti si puo’ approssimare con cannella noce moscata e garofano…

    Ancora qualche giorno poi postero’ molte ricette nuove 🙂

  9. Chiara said

    Ciao Bakinghistory,
    grazie, lo cercherò! Accidenti lo avevo rimosso dalla memoria: ricordo di aver provato a creare l’allspice approssimativo (diciamo così) quando mi ero cimentata nella preparazione dei gingerbread cookies ma erano risultati pressochè immangiabili…Ah, le dosi…!!!

  10. bakinghistory said

    Ciao Chiara,

    potresti provare con 4 g cannella, 2 di noce moscata e solo un “pizzico” di chiodi di garofano 🙂

  11. Chiara said

    Grazieeeeeeeee smack! 😉

  12. bakinghistory said


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  14. jeena said

    Hi there you have a great blog,lovely recipes. Feel free to visit my blog too 🙂 Click Here For Food Recipes

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