Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    12 to 16

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C, then 325°F/160°C

My fellow writer, talented friend, and poet from Montreal, Marcy Goldman, is the authority on Jewish baking in Canada. She has developed the first honey cake I have ever loved, in good part because it is moist, flavorful, and not too sweet. The cake is pareve (“without dairy”), which means it can be served following a meal that includes meat, according to kosher practice; however, if you are not serving it after a meat meal (or if you do not keep kosher), crème fraîche is a perfect accompaniment.



4 large eggs, at room temperature ¾ cup plus 2 teaspoons (187 ml) 7 ounces 200 grams
canola or safflower oil, at room temperature 1 cup (237 ml) 7.6 ounces 215 grams
strong black coffee, at room temperature 1 cup (237 ml) 8.4 ounces 237 grams
orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large oranges) ½ cup (118 ml) 4.3 ounces 121 grams
whiskey or rye (see Notes) ¼ cup (59 ml) 1.9 ounces 55 grams
pure vanilla extract 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (20 ml) . .
superfine sugar cups 8.8 ounces 250 grams
light brown Muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar ½ cup, firmly packed 3.8 ounces 108 grams
all-purpose flour, preferably bleached cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off) 14.1 ounces 400 grams
baking powder 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon 0.6 ounce 18 grams
baking soda ¾ teaspoon . 4.1 grams
fine sea salt ½ teaspoon . 3 grams
unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder 1 tablespoon . 5 grams
ground cinnamon 4 teaspoons . 8.8 grams
ground ginger ½ teaspoon . .
ground cloves teaspoon . .
honey 1 cup (237 ml) 11.8 ounces 336 grams

Special Equipment

One 9½ to 10 inch (12 to 16 cups) one-piece metal tube pan, preferably nonstick (for extra preparation for a two-piece metal tube pan, see Notes), encircled from the bottom with 2 cake strips, bottom coated with shortening and topped with a parchment ring, then lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray | Two stacked baking sheets


Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Combine the Liquid Ingredients and Sugars

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, coffee, orange juice, whiskey, and vanilla until lightly combined. Add the superfine sugar and brown sugar and whisk until dissolved into the liquid mixture.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves on low speed for 30 seconds.

Remove the bowl and whisk beater. Add the liquid ingredients and sugars and stir with the whisk beater until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the honey. Place the bowl back on the stand and reattach the whisk beater. Start on low speed, then gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1½ minutes. The batter will have the consistency of a thick soup. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set it on the stacked baking sheets.

Bake the Cake

Bake for 45 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Lower the temperature to 325°F/160°C and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted between the tube and the sides comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. During baking, if using the 12 cup pan, the center will rise to a little above the top of the pan, but on cooling it will be almost level with the pan.

Cool and Unmold the Cake

Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. To loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, use a rigid sharp knife or stiff metal spatula, preferably with a squared off end, scraping firmly against the pan’s sides and slowly and carefully circling the pan. (If using a nonstick pan, use a plastic knife or spatula.) In order to ensure that you are scraping against the sides of the pan and removing the crust from the sides, leaving it on the cake, begin by angling the knife or spatula about 20 degrees away from the cake and toward the pan, pushing the cake inward a bit. It is best to use a knife blade that is at least 4 inches long and no wider than 1 inch. Dislodge the cake from the center tube with a wire tester or wooden skewer. Invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the bottom and center tube and peel off the parchment. Reinvert the cake onto a serving plate or cake carrier.

Let the cake cool for 2 to 3 hours, or until cool. (The cake can be served warm, but the pieces will be fragile. Slice with a sharp serrated knife and lean the cut-side piece against a pancake turner to move it for plating.)


Airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 7 days; frozen, 2 months.