Honey Cake and High Holiday Menu Ideas

by rivka on September 27, 2011 · 12 comments

in cake, menus

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The High Holidays are upon us! For those celebrating, it’s a time to cook up a storm, get those pomegranates on the table, slice up the apples, and of course, pull out the stops with an awesome brisket. For the rest of y’all, it’s a chance to read all you ever wanted to know – and more – about honey cake. Here, then, are my menu ideas for this time of year. They’re great for Rosh Hashana, but they’re also pretty delicious for any old day.

photo courtesy of Gourmet Live

First things first: I teased my Twitter followers with the promise of an awesome honey cake in the pipeline. Now, I deliver. I made the Gourmet Live honey cake this week, and let me tell you, it is the best honey cake ever. I have to save the cake for a meal later this week, so I haven’t yet glazed it (hence the stolen photo from Gourmet and none of my own, yet), but i made a miniature to taste test, and it passes muster and then some. It’s an interesting take on a honey spice cake, made with plenty of honey, ginger, cloves, orange zest… and coffee. You won’t be able to put your finger on any one flavor in the cake, but its beguiling flavor will keep you coming back for another bite, then another. Gourmet says your guests will ask you for the recipe; I’ll let you know if my hosts ask me.


Honey Cake
barely adapted from Gourmet Live

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups corn or canola oil
1 cup pure honey
3/4 cup lukewarm coffee
1 1/2 teaspoons packed grated orange zest, optional

For chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shaken canned unsweetened coconut milk (not light)
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet (60% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped

For garnish:
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Generously spray pan, including center tube, with baking spray, or wipe with olive oil and sprinkle with flour, shaking out excess.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs well in another large bowl and whisk in sugar, oil, honey, coffee, and zest (if using) until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the honey mixture, then stir with the whisk until the batter is smooth.

Pour batter into pan (it’s liquid enough to level itself in the pan), and bake in oven until springy to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Loosen cake from the pan with a thin rubber spatula, then invert cake onto the rack (see Cooks’ Notes) and cool completely.

For glaze:

Bring coconut milk and corn syrup to a simmer in a small heavy pan, stirring until combined.

Remove pan from heat and add chocolate. Let chocolate stand 1 minute, then stir until chocolate is melted and glaze is smooth.

Let glaze stand, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, but still pourable.

Transfer cake to a cake plate and slowly pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. If desired, let the cake stand at room temperature until glaze is set.
Just before serving, sprinkle glaze lightly with flaky sea salt, if using.

Pomegranate Brisket

I first posted my brisket recipe on another blog post about Rosh Hashana menus. It really is the best brisket ever – plus, it’s made with pomegranate syrup, and pomegranates are a traditional Rosh Hashana food. You can’t go wrong with this recipe.

Sweet and Sour Pearl Onions

A great side dish to accompany the brisket, requiring minimal enough work that you’ll have enough time to bake those challot. Speaking of which…

Couscous with Pistachios, Sultanas, and Mint

The perfect summer-to-fall transition dish, and one of my all-time favorite ways to use couscous. This recipe is a winner, and it can be served warm, cold, or at room temperature – perfect for those unpredictable meal times.

Carrot-Zucchini Bread

For those who love their sweet side dishes, this carrot-zucchini bread will hit the mark. For the Brits and others who think we Americans with our marshmallow-buried sweet potatoes are crazytown, this is a great dessert.

Braised Red Cabbage

An oldie but goodie, this dish always gets loads of compliments when I serve it. It also features pomegranate seeds; apparently I can’t get enough.

If you’re looking for other menu ideas, look no further.

To all of my readers, new and old – I hope you all have a wonderful New Year, filled with happiness and health, and lots of new, exciting things.

Enjoy! Oh, and do share your menu ideas in the comments: what are you making this holiday season?

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