Can I tell you a secret?
I don’t like honey cake.
Sometimes when I say this, people look as shocked as if I told them that I don’t like chopped liver (I don’t) or smoked salmon (I don’t like that either). Sometimes they go on to ask if I’m really sure I’m Jewish (yes, I am).
I might have caused a whole new generation to perpetuate my sin, too. Because I don’t make honey cake for Rosh Hashanah, my children did not grow up eating it, and so they don’t like it either (but they do like smoked salmon, so that makes it ok).
I make carrot cake instead. Sometimes, I make pumpkin cake too. Both of them are delicious, and brown, and although they don’t contain honey they certainly include enough sugar to fill a whole new year with sweetness. I used to feel a little bad about this, and then a few years ago, someone gave me a cookbook from the My Most Favorite Dessert Company. On the page with her carrot cake recipe, Doris Schechter wrote:
‘I even sold this cake as “honey cake”. I worried, but only a little. A week or so later, the customer I had sold it to came back into the store, and then I really worried.
She said ‘That was the best honey cake I’ve ever eaten. What’s in it?”
“It must be the almonds,” I said.’
That put all my fears to rest. If Doris can do it, I thought, then I can too.
For the curious, here is Doris Schechter’s, aka My Most Favorite Dessert Company’s, recipe for “Honey” Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
11/2 cups canola oil
3 cups finely grated carrots (about 8 medium carrots,
peeled-see A Little Piece of Advice)
1 cup very finely chopped (but not to powder)
Confectioners’ sugar, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch straight-sided tube pan with a removable bottom.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar on medium speed until lemon colored.
Pour in the canola oil and beat until combined.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Stir in the carrots and the almonds until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, distributing it evenly and smoothing the top.
5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for I5 to 20 minutes before unmolding it to cool completely.
6. When cool, serve the cake as is or dusted lightly with confectioners’ sugar. This cake keeps well, wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you want to make it ahead and freeze it, you can do that up to I month in advance.
For delicious, non-honey-cake honey recipes, see our collection of Out The Box Honey Recipes