A honey cake to die for…
Please welcome our guest today, my good friend, Barbara Fradkin. Barbara is the author of the award-winning Inspector Michael Green series and has won back to back best novel awards from the Crime Writers of Canada. Today, she's offering a wonderful dessert for a very special occasion, in her case Rosh Hashanah, but it will make a fabulous end for any meal. I know from happy experience that Barbara is an excellent cook, Lucky us!
And now over to Barbara.
It has taken Inspector Green (and his creator) many years to learn to like honey cake. Honey cake is the traditional dessert served at Rosh Hashanah dinner, to welcome in a sweet New Year. The honey cake Mike Green’s mother made using the traditional Eastern European recipe given to her by her neighbours in the immigrant area where they lived, was so sweet and heavy that it plummeted to the nether regions of the intestines where it took a week to digest. It was made with walnuts, raisins, spices, and a strong, bitter honey that permeated everything.
After much cajoling, his wife Sharon persuaded him it didn’t have to be this way. The secret to a light, moist honey cake is threefold; reduce the spices by half, beat the batter continually to incorporate air, and forget the walnuts and raisins. This is the recipe she, and her creator, came up with after much experimentation. It produces a great cake without too much fiddling.
1 cup white sugar
½ cup oil
4 eggs (room temperature)
1 cup white or pale honey (“summer” honey)
2 ½ cups white flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly, finely grated orange rind
1 cup orange juice
icing sugar for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour an angel food or bundt cake pan. The key to preparation is to have all ingredients measured and ready to add, so that they can be mixed in without losing the air from the previous mixing. Measure and combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices, then set the bowl aside. Measure the orange juice and grate the rind. Measure the honey into a cup with a spout for easy pouring.
Beat oil and sugar together at medium speed, and add the eggs one at a time, beating until frothy. Continue beating while adding the honey gradually until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in orange rind. Alternate dry ingredients and orange juice in thirds, blending between each addition, until the batter is smooth and fluffy. Do not overbeat at this last stage. It will be very soupy. Pour it immediately into the pan, ensuring it’s not more than 2/3 full, as it will rise. Excess batter can be poured into a loaf pan – a special treat!
Bake for 50-60 minutes, depending on what pan is used. To ensure the insides are cooked, the top should be deep golden to amber. When cool, invert on a plate and sprinkle lightly with icing sugar for effect. The cake is already very sweet, so frosting is not needed.
Here’s to a sweet and happy New Year. Best of all – you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy!
Barbara Fradkin is a retired psychologist and multiple award-winning mystery author whose work with children and families provides much of the insight and inspiration for her stories. She has an affinity for the dark side. She has many short stories including in all the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, but she's best known for her Inspector Green novels which have twice won the Arthur Ellis award for best novel from The Crime Writers of Canada. She recently embarked on a series of easy read mysteries for reluctant readers, featuring handyman, Cedric O'Toole.
Good news: You can look for None so Blind, the tenth Inspector Green novel on October 18th! or
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