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Honey Cake and High Holiday Menu Ideas

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?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sprinkling of Sugar September 27, 2011,

    Thank you so much for the inspiration!!!! I was in desperate need! Shanah Tovah

  • Paddy Link September 27, 2011,

    Hi, could you provide the quantities for the ingredients for the honey cake glaze? I’m also going to make your brisket recipe, which sounds delicious.

    • rivka September 27, 2011,

      Hi there Paddy Link, apologies for the delay here! I’ve added the quantities for the glaze. Shana Tova!

  • sarah.a September 27, 2011,

    looks like a great menu!

    i made a brisket in a mushroom wine sauce to be accompanied by polenta, roasted asparagus and cauliflower (because i didn’t see pearl onions in the store), spinach and apple salad (with pomegranate and toasted pecans or almonds) and broccoli soufflé. then honey cake! i also just made leek swirls (sautéed leeks rolled in puff pastry) and a zucchini pasta for a lighter, dairy meal.

    shana tova!

  • Erin @ A Nesting Experience September 28, 2011,

    What a great looking meal! Happy holiday.

  • Liz September 28, 2011,

    i made the honey cake last night, very good! cept’ i had (what i now realize) was a smaller bundt tin, and the overflow of batter into the oven after 10 minutes or so of baking was insane. i had to bail out the batter into an 8×8 pan, and once I fixed the mess ended up having two! what are the exact measurements of the right size pan? still delicious, thank you!

  • Katherine Martinelli September 30, 2011,

    Such a great menu! That honey cake looks wonderful – I love that there’s coffee in it! My friend makes a wonderful version with whiskey. I made an applesauce cake with pomegranate glaze (I can’t get enough pomegranate either!) to bring to a potluck. Shana Tovah!

  • Beth September 30, 2011,

    Rivka – Sweet and sour cabbage and honey cake were delish. (I was also going to do carrot/ zucchini bread but went with Kosher Palate’s Carrot Kugel instead. Hmmm….). Thanks for filling our table! Happy new year!

  • Hannah October 4, 2011,

    Our tradition is to have lamb stew with dates for Rosh Hashanah. Love your braised red cabbage! I’m going to make it for Sukkot. L’Shana Tova!

    • rivka October 4, 2011,

      Hannah, that lamb stew with dates sounds incredible. would you share the recipe?

      • Hannah October 5, 2011,

        Happy to! I tweaked my recipe (again!) so let me make the changes and I’ll send it to you.

  • Paddy Link October 17, 2011,

    Rivka, I had hoped to bake your Honey Cake, along with your brisket recipe, before posting another comment. I haven’t gotten around to the Honey Cake, even though I will someday. BUT I wanted to share that your brisket recipe was ABSOLUTELY UNBELIEVABLE! Our family loved it, and it will be a treasured recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing it.

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