Showing posts with label honey cake. Show all posts
Showing posts with label honey cake. Show all posts

Sunday, September 14, 2014

A honey cake to die for…

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.

 Learn more about Barbara HERE!

 Barbara's latest book is The Whisper of Legends, the ninth Inspector Green novel. 

Good news: You can look for None so Blind, the tenth Inspector Green novel on October 18th!  or



Friday, May 24, 2013

Honey Cake

by Sheila Connolly

Oops, I did it again—I went to Brimfield (that's the huge antiques fair in central Massachusetts, held three times a year).  Yes, I am addicted to stuff.  In the past I have bought a wide range of items there, including some furniture, but now I try to restrain myself, and mostly I focus on vintage/antique cookware, which is affordable.  Well, there was that nice antique apple basket I just had to have, but that was my only indulgence.

I love old baking pans, and there is such a wonderful variety of shapes!  This year I learned something new (see? It's educational!).  One vendor had a cast iron pan with half-sphere compartments—I'm sure we've all seen them somewhere.  I've always wondered what they were supposed to be used for, but this one actually had BR-OW-NI-ES cast right into the metal across the bottom.  Made me wonder when brownies stopped being round and became square.  (No, I didn't buy it.)

But I did buy one new/old baking pan, so I had to find an old recipe to try it out. This is actually a recipe developed by Proctor & Gamble in the 1950s (a bit younger than the pan), shared by Julie Richardson in Vintage Cakes, with a few changes.  It worked in my cake pan (I had to adjust the baking time), but this sounds delicious in any pan.


2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¾ cup plus 2 Tblsp unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup honey (any variety you like)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk, at room temperature
¾ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9x2" round cake pan or 9x3" springform pan (mine was a bit smaller).  If your pan has a flat bottom (mine doesn't), line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

Dry ingredients in my mother's
vintage Pyrex bowl
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla on low speed until blended.  Then turn the speed to high and cream until very light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle a few times while mixing.

Blend in the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, quickly.

Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk.  Mix only until blended, and scrape down between additions.  Do not overbeat!  Do the last bit of the mixing by hand with a spatula.  The batter will be thick.

Spread the batter evenly in the greased pan.  Place in the center of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, until the cake is golden on top. 


½ cup honey

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter

In a small saucepan, stir the honey, sugar and butter over medium heat until combined.  Bring to a bare simmer.  Turn off the heat but do not let cool.

After 45 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the top with a wooden skewer.  Pour half the glaze over the cake, letting it sink in.  Then bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Cool the cake on a wire rack for about an hour.  Then carefully turn it upside down onto a plate.  Pour the remaining glaze over the top.

Let me tell you, there was a bit of prayer
involved when it came to umolding it!

This cake will last well if you keep it covered, thanks to the honey.

(I sneaked in a new
ebook last week!)