majestic-and-moist-honey-cake Recipes

majestic and moist honey cake

A few days ago, someone emailed me asking me if I had a recipe for honey cake. You see, honey cake is something traditionally eaten on the Jewish New Year, which falls next week as eating honey is supposed to encourage a sweet New Year, doubly so if paired with apples.

slow like honey

But every honey cake I have been forced to try has been wretched (apologies if it was yours). They were dry and never sweet enough. They were coarse and totally unloved. And if I find myself at an occasion where I see a honey cake, well, I wonder why they didn’t ask me to make dessert instead, but then I steer clear of it just the same. This life is too short to eat terrible cake.

I said as much to this reader, and that’s when it hit me: Right, this is my job! This is what I do! I take things that I think are terrible and I try to find a better way to go about them. That’s why this person emailed me, right? (Sometimes I forget.) And seeing as I don’t dislike honey, and I don’t hate spices and I don’t hate tradition or the Jewish New Year, well, it was time.

honey

I did a bit of research and learned that there was a recipe out there by one Marcy Goldman that people are quite mad for–in a good way. And I was feeling pretty good about the copious tastes I’d had of the batter (um, before remembering how much booze was in there and look at that! It’s party time in here!) when it went in the oven but then.

Well then something terrible skitted across the floor and I just don’t want to talk about it. I screamed–like movie starlet screamed, ungh–and dropped the spatula. And by the time I got off the phone with Alex [“Come home NOW. Come home NOW. Come home NOW.”] and somewhat talked myself off my I’m-leaving-NYC-and-never-coming-back ledge, I realized that the cakes had fallen in the oven.

sunken honey cakes

And now, dear reader, I am torn as to whether this recipe needs to come with a warning. Was it my scream and the ensuing trauma that made the cakes fall? Are there issues with my baking soda (quite likely, it’s old as dirt)? Is there something wrong with this cake recipe? (I doubt this, nobody else who has mentioned it made reference to a sunken midsection.) Are you completely horrified that I shared this story (despite my mother asking me nicely to spare you our shameless details)?

honey cake

I’ll tell you what I do know, though: This honey cake is perfect. It’s warmly spiced and crazy moist and soft and plush with a little crisp edge about the corners and if you know someone with a thing for honey cake, be they bringing in the year 5769 with revelry or not, you’ve got to wow them with this one. Concave or not, it is everything honey cake was once supposed to be, and with this recipe, might be again.

majestically moist honey cake

Majestic and Moist Honey Cake
Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking

Update 9/29/11: It only took me three years guys, but I finally got back to this cake today. My hunch was that the sinking was caused by too much leavener. I made this cake in a tube pan today with 1 teaspoon not tablespoon of baking powder (keep the baking soda level the same) and voila, no sinking! The cake has a beautiful, tall dome and my apartment smells like the heavens above. I now cautiously recommend you use this adjusted amount of baking powder instead; cautiously because I’ve only retested the cake in a tube pan and not the other sizes yet, but if you do with this adjustment, please let us know in the comments. Happy honey cake-ing!

3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (15 grams) baking powder [see Update above]
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons (about 8 grams) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup (235 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (340 grams) honey
1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (95 grams) brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1 cup warm (235 ml) coffee or strong tea
1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh orange juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) rye or whiskey
1/2 cup (45 to 55 grams) slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake. I made mine in two full-size loaf pans plus two miniature ones.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye or whiskey, if using. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan.

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680 comments on majestic and moist honey cake

  1. Oh this is great – i was actually scouring the web for honey cake recipe today! You must have read my mind. The New Year is less than a week away – how did THAT happen?

  2. Sunken or not, it looks absolutely delicious! Paired with a hot cup of coffee and what a perfect breakfast … snack … lunch … snack … or (and?) dinner it would make ;)

  3. Oh wow, yum. Honey is my favorite cake sweetener of all time (I use it in carrot cake, it’s grand) and this looks wonderful. Also love the story of how ‘this is your job’. *sigh* Jealous.

  4. I completely agree about all the honey cakes I’ve ever tried too, so you’ve intrigued me. I don’t like the taste of alcohol though–is there something I could substitute, or do you think I should just give up and serve some non-jewish, non-lucky dessert for Rosh Hashanah instead?

  5. rita

    you are so funny! i actually made this cake over the weekend in a 10 inch tube pan, and it was magnificent and delish. an absolute do over for the jewish holidays.

  6. Deb (not the author)

    Thanks so much – my grandma finally let go of total control over Rosh Hashana dinner and let my mom and I make dessert. I think this cake will be the perfect ending to our holiday meal!

  7. Amy

    I like the sunken look–it gives the cakes character, and I didn’t immediately judge them to be in the same category as zucchini bread or pound cake. And it’s all about taste, right?

  8. Carly

    This looks delicious! I don’t celebrate Rosh Hashana but I think this is in my future anyway.

    As for your creature, we just realized we have an unwelcome houseguest as well the other day. We even have a cat too, which blows my mind (though he is pretty lazy and friendly to all creatures, so maybe they hang out during the day). But we bought some of those no touch, no see traps the other day– when the trap is shut, our visitor is gone and we don’t have to see a thing. Highly recommended.

  9. This cake looks delish even sunken! I am sure it was a baking powder issue. I would serve it with a bit of vanilla ice cream on th side (although I am not sure it would be kosher! :-)

  10. Claire

    Mmmm… these do look fabulous – and it’s finally cool enough so i can start baking again! Yay!

    Do you think i can just leave out the rye/whiskey? Or should I substitute some other non-alcoholic flavoring instead (maybe more coffee/tea?)

  11. Anisah

    Looks so good….two questions though: Would the warm coffee start scrambling the eggs? Also, what would be a good non-alcoholic substitution for the rye/whisky? Thanks deb :)

  12. meh

    I very much love your site and think it is so delightful. I just wanted to let you know that Goldman is spelled Goldblum in the recipe section…I only noticed this because I was so excited to see Marcy Goldman’s name on your site (I have a six degrees of separation connection with her..well I suppose everyone does come to think of it!) Anyway, thanks for posting this (and many other) delicious recipes. They make my day!

  13. Kelly S.

    to replace the whiskey/rye you can use straight orange juice or apple juice and if its not the flavor you object to, toss in a bit of the extract.

  14. My sympathies about the little skittling nightmare–I just recently had my first encounter with one of this you know whats (assuming we are talking about the same thing) and all my mother could do to console me was say “Well, you ARE in New York City!” Truly terrible…but the cake looks truly delectable!

  15. Ernie

    I make this cake all the time, it’s by far the best honey cake. The only change I make is that I use Grand Marnier instead of the whiskey. BTW, my cakes always sink a bit as well!

  16. deb

    Okay, answers: You can replace the booze (btw, I used brandy because that’s what we had open) with more tea or more coffee. If you’d like to pick up the orange flavor, you might add a little of the zest of your orange, too. (I might do this next time.) The coffee should not be hot–that would scramble the eggs–warm coffee should not.

    It actually tastes a bit like zucchini or banana bread, because the spices and moisture level are so similar. In my mind, this is a very good comparison.

    Btw, if I had a husband who wasn’t totally raisin-phobic, I’d add them next time. Tossed in flour so they (hopefully) don’t sink.

  17. Absinthe

    Isn’t Marcy Goldman also responsible for “matzoh crack”–that addictive toffee-chocolate-matzoh treat? I’ll have to try this cake–sounds like the perfect autumn treat.

  18. deb

    Ooh my, you’re right! That stuff is a delight. Though I had it first made with Saltines which is even better. I should refresh that before Halloween, hmm…

  19. Bekkah

    You mentioned pairing the cake with apples, which sounds fantastic… If you add some diced apples to the cake, would you recommend reducing some of the liquid(s)?

  20. deb

    I don’t see why maple syrup wouldn’t work. The only thing I’d warn about is that I find it a lot harder to get the taste of maple syrup–even in that quantity–to come through, which always feels like a waste of something with such strong flavor right from the bottle. But it would still be delicious.

  21. Michelle

    Oooh. Not a honey cake fan, for the reasons you spoke of – it’s sort of been the culinary equivalent of a desert. But this looks oooooooh.

    Love your site!

  22. Only because it’s you, Deb, will I try this recipe. I have never had a good honey cake in my life although Molli Katzen has a recipe for one that’s saved by chocolate and not too bad. But you’ve never steered me wrong so I’ll be making this next week.

    L’shanah tovah!

  23. deb

    A few people have mentioned substitutes above, such as more OJ or tea or coffee. This cake is very forgiving, and I suspect it would be fine even if you skipped it.

    Allie — I think you could just add them. You could cut them very small and toss the chunks with flour so that they (hopefully) don’t sink. Or, you could grate them, for added texture as well. My god, that sounds so good, actually. Will you share?

  24. Ooh, thank you! I’ve been looking for something honey to go along with Apfelstrudel (assuming I have the energy to stretch strudel dough, ha) for Rosh Hashannah this year.

  25. Kay

    Hey, at least they didn’t explode. My mother’s first attempt at cake baking resulted in four hours of scraping chocolate box cake mix out of the inside of our non-self-cleaning oven.

    We’re still not sure how she made box cake explode.

  26. When I lived in Washington, a mouse did a similar skitter across the kitchen floor while I was putting away dishes. I screamed so loudly i gave myself an instant headache, then called my husband hysterical — he could not come how right away, so I went and hid, and I mean hid, at Starbucks for like 3 hours, then went to a yoga class, then met up with my husband and went home with him because I was too scared to go home alone.

  27. Rachel

    This is perfect!! My father keeps bees as a hobby so we always have a supply of golden, local honey. He loves honey so much but I have not been able to find a recipe where the honey is the true star. With 1 cup of honey, I’m sure the mild flavor of his fresh clover honey will really shine!! Thank you.

  28. Merav

    My mom has a recipe that’s pretty similar except it doesn’t use alcohol and has grated apple in it. It’s amazing…really really flavorful and super moist. It’s even better the next day. Thankfully it’s a big recipe…otherwise it wouldn’t last. For the past two years I’ve actually asked her to make it as my birthday cake (to my credit, though, I WAS born on Rosh Hashana. :D).
    Your recipe looks amazing though. I might make both (yours and my mom’s)…after all, here in college, there are hungry students abound. :)

    Shana tova!

  29. I have added grated apple and pear to many a tea bread without hardly any blip in the finished product other than an amped up ‘OMG!!!’ factor. I just recently made zucchini bread with grated Honeycrisp apple in it. FAB!

    I need a dessert recipe for this week and am seriously thinking about this cake. Seriously, but….a cup of oil??? My arteries!!

  30. this is so funny! I just saw your cake’s picture on Flickr and I said to myself: okay, so another honey cake recipe to try before Roch hashana and just to compare with the wonderful honey cake I baked yesterday.. Guess what? it’s the exact same recipe, I just had to read the title of your post!!
    This cake is incredibly moist, full of flavor (i used more coffee instead of whisky not because I don’t like alcohol in my cakes.. I DO love alcohol in my cakes lol, I used a flavorful spanish honey), I used only 1 tsp of cinnamon and substituted the other spices by 1/2 tsp of Piment de Jamaique. This cake is soo good, but let’s face it, it doesn’t look good. I bake mine in a Kaiser springform pan (what was I thinking..??) and although well greased, I had a hard time unmolding it.. yours look much much more better!!

  31. I don’t think I should be allowed around honey. I buy it in the huge 1/2 gallon size at Sam’s Club. There is no savoring honey in my house, it’s on everything. I love it and adore it, and now I have to make this cake.

  32. Purnima

    Thank you for this gorgeous recipe. I absolutely hate the taste of tea/coffee (sorry!) – do you have a suggestion for a substitution?

  33. Susan

    Wow, there sure is a lot of moisture in this cake! There’s 3 3/4 cups of liquid not including the eggs and the moisture in the sugars! It sure looks mighty good! I’ve never had honey cake before.

  34. Your timing could not be more perfect! (No, I am not referring to the Jewish New Year.) I just started field-testing honey cake recipes for a baby shower-themed tea I’ll be hosting on November 1st.

    My testing phase may well now be over! Would this cake adapt well to double layer “sponge-type” cake construction or is it best left as a loaf cake?

    If two slim, round, stacked layers are achievable, what would you use for the filling?

    I will be making this honey cake tomorrow, pronto! Can’t wait to try it! Here’s hoping that you will offer up a few suggestions…THANKS for all the great recipes, and especially for this latest one.

  35. Dwilah

    This looks delicious. It reminds me of a “honey cake” recipe I saw on a website two years ago when I was researching WWII-era recipes. That honey cake was based on ingredients you could use limited rations on and was probably really different. I love honey though–sometimes I just eat a spoonful at a time, and I drizzle it over cereal–so both of the recipes sound good. Truth be told though I’m addicted to cloves, so I’d probably just pile so much cloves in this recipe it’d come out tasting like gingerbread.

  36. Amy

    thank you, thank you, thank you. I was just starting to make a mental list of the baking I need to do this weekend (challah, honey cake) and thought to myself, “I hate my honey cake recipe. I must try to find a new one” and here you are, with a new one just for me!

    Shana Tova U-Metukah!

  37. oh, my sympathy for your kitchen trauma. I am terribly, terribly disturbed by such things, and unfortunately, there’s no getting away from it (especially in New York apartments…)

    I’ve never had honey cake (these holidays were always just apples and honey in our house) but I do love that honey-seller in Union Square…

  38. I am so happy you did this post. I can’t wait to make it for the new year!!! And I have the same feelings when those little fury creatures trespass (or are we). Don’t worry, I refused to sleep one night when I saw one.

  39. deb

    I have not made this cake with whole wheat flour but I generally recommend starting with a half-swap of whole wheat before going 100 percent. I am sure it won’t be terrible.

    IsDahara — The first line of the recipe tells you all of the different sizes and shapes you can make the cake in. It can definitely be made thinner.

  40. Jessica

    Maybe it’s the Montana girl in me coming out, but when I was in high school and would be laying on the couch late at night, I’d see an occasional furry thing run across the floor and it never really bothered me. Now, if it’s a spider or a roach, I’ll be on the counter shrieking. :-)

  41. natalie

    I hate that my first comment is a meanie -this year will be 5769, not 5770. more importantly – the cake looks yummy and I’ll totally try it this year! thanks!

  42. Barbara

    Don’t panic about it falling, and don’t assume it was the scream or “old” baking soda/powder. You may be right, but there’s another possibility that’s familiar to those of us who live at high altitude. (Colorado Springs is at 6,000 ft, and the northern half of the city is higher.)

    You may have had too MUCH leavening, especially with the sugar, honey and alcohol which feed the leaven. In Colorado, we have to reduce sugar and fat somewhat, add more flour & water, and drop leavening in HALF, or our cakes look like a truck ran over them.

    Why is a flat/fallen cake fixed with LESS leavening? When there’s more leavening and “rising food (sugar),” the cake rises a little too fast, and the cells of air try to keep expanding. The cell walls (that’s the flour/eggs/etc) are fragile, and end up bursting, and the cake collapses. Since it rises the highest in the center, the center is most at risk. Despite being totally counter-intuitive, it may take less sugar, less leavening, and a little more flour/liquid to solve the problem.

    Since you live at sea level, I wouldn’t go so far as we do to adjust recipes. Since you like the flavor, add maybe a tablespoon or so of flour per cup of flour, maybe a tablespoon or two more coffee or tea, and drop the leavening by 1/8 or 1/4. It might surprise you.

  43. oh yum. and uh that happened to me too…the something terrible skitting, i was baking cupcakes. though i don’t know if it was the same something terrible. still, terrible. cakes looks sooo gooood though, even if its a bit sunken.

  44. I’m so glad you posted this….I was just about to begin my quest for the perfect honey cake recipe and now I don’t have to look anymore! I can’t wait to try it out. L’Shana Tova!

  45. The cake looks lovely! About the falling in the middle — I had the same problem when I was developing some citrus tea cakes a few months ago. I looked in the Cake Bible — and according to the amazing Rose Levy Beranbaum, that can be caused by too much baking powder. (I thought leaveners made things rise, who knew??) I cut back on the bp, and poof! The cakes rose just perfectly. So if you’re inclined to try this again, I’d cut the bp and see what happens. Hope that helps!

  46. mmmm. this looks incredible, and I’m going to make it with raisins this weekend, plus I’m gonna see what happens when I sub canned, pure pumpkin for the oil (usually works out gorgeously in my experience, plus ups the fiber content). Thanks for persevering through a terrible fright–I once opened a drawer and discovered evidence of a visitor much like yours. I also screamed. You have my sympathy (btw, my entire pantry–other than canned food– is now completely in tupperware boxes b/c of this experience. ugh).

  47. Thanks for this wonderful post. Could you tell me how long this cake will keep? I am baking things to send to my boyfriend who is currently in the Middle East with the army and knowing his love of honey this would go down a treat, but don’t want to send something that will arrive a mouldy mess – lol.

  48. Sandy Z.

    Your cake looks great! I just tried a fabulous apple honey cake (all traditions in one dish) from allrecipes.com that used 3/4 cup honey and three apples (called Apple Honey Bundt cake on the site). Easy, delicious, moist and surprisingly light and — unusual for me — not sunken. As others suggested, I substituted some of the oil with applesauce and chopped the peeled apples. It made two pretty tube cakes, one of which will go to my daughter in college (I think it will travel well) and one of which is half gone already.
    Your recipe will be in my oven this weekend — love a bakeoff!

  49. Santadad

    When I was a child, the synagogue across the street used to have a “kiddush” after morning services on Shabbat (Saturday). Three staples were always there: Sweet kosher wine, honey cake and sponge cake. I always ate the sponge cake because the honey cake had nuts in it, and I still feel to this day, that nuts spoil the consistency of both cake and ice cream. I’m probably in a minority on this, but so be it. Having said that, sans nuts, I would have loved the honey cake.

    So … not just for Rosh Hashonah. :-)

  50. Wendy

    I can’t wait to try this – looks wonderful! Will probably substitute about 1/2 cup wheat flour (can’t ever bring myself to do a complete swap of 1/2 the flour, total; usually just a little wheat, some wheat germ and maybe, hmn, some oatmeal … and diced apples?). Anyway, thanks so much.

  51. Kathy

    You don’t mention the whiskey in the body of the recipe, only in the list of ingredients. I assume it gets added at the end with the rest of the liquids?

  52. Erika

    I made this cake last night, and just had my first piece for breakfast. It was very, very good. I left out the alcohol and just added more coffee. It is very moist, and baked beautifully in a bundt pan.

  53. Nicole M

    Ooh I have to try this! My husband and I LOVE honey and always keep a stash of this amazing Colorado honey called Western Slope Ambrosia. Looks like another baking weekend for me.

    Barbara,
    I’m in Denver and I’ve found that lowering the baking temperature helps prevent the dip in the middle of my cakes. I might have found that idea on this site!

  54. Lisa

    I’d like to bring this to a Rosh Hashanah dinner I’ve been invited to next week. Making it in 9-inch layers would be more impressive…any ideas on what to use for frosting? It sounds like the cake is already sweet.

  55. deb

    Natalie — You’re right. I did Google it, but the site was either wrong or I read it wrong. Fixed now.

    Deliceux — Goldman says this cake actually gets better with age. I think you could have it at room temperature for at least a few days, if your place wasn’t too warm. However, longer than that, I like to store mine in the freezer. I wrap it in either waxed or parchment paper and then in plastic wrap. I’ll sometimes slide that package into a freezer bag, too. I’m terrified of freezer smells affecting my precious cake.

    Dad — You’ll get to try some in a few days. You can tell me how it compares.

    Kathy — Yes, add it with the other liquids. I’ve fixed the recipe now.

    Lisa — I think that cream cheese frosting could be a natural flavor pairing, but it might be quite intense/sweet. However, you could dial down the frosting sweetness a lot, and it would be a nice balance.

    meh — My sister pointed out to me that I didn’t respond to your comment! Thanks for noticing and I fixed the error right away. It is Goldman, not Goldblum. I think Goldblum is someone I went to summer camp with!

  56. So, to this Gentile,it sounds like honey cake is the Jewish version of fruit cake!Or should I say fruit cake is the pagan version of honey cake? (har har)

    I once woke up and went to step in the shower only to find a tiny mouse jumping in the tub trying to get out!!! I took a digital photo in order to explain my tardiness at work! Uh, photo of the mouse, not me- although I bet that would have been a funny picture!

  57. Erin

    I’m so excited about this recipe! This semester’s been so busy that I haven’t baked in WEEKS. Now that the high holy days are coming up, I’ve got en excuse to procrastinate for a bit and enjoy the new year.

  58. Petra

    The LA Times just posted a honey cake recipe in the food section yesterday too. Now I want to bake both and have a honey cake party this weekend.

  59. Susan

    I love LOVE your site and have even gotten my computer-illiterate mom into it! (She loves your barley, haricot vert, arugula and corn salad.) Re: the honey cake, I’m thinking of making it for the holiday but am wondering what kind of honey I can use – just plain old honey, or would you experiment with other varieties, i.e. buckwheat?
    Thanks, and Shana Tova!

  60. Honey is definitely amazing in the right baked goods! I made honey cookies one time that baked up very strangely, but were absolutely loved by everyone that wrapped their lips around them! I will have to give this recipe a try! Thanks for the recipe and the story!

  61. Jenny

    Omitted the whiskey, added more coffee, added zest from 1 orange…and couldn’t be happier. The cake is tender and not too sweet (suprisingly). I want to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I baked mine in a 9X13 pan and still had major sinkage in the center after 70 minutes of baking. This recipe is a keeper!

  62. This looks wonderful! I don’t celebrate Jewish New Year, but I think I might have to make this in time for it anyway…with some kind of substitution for the eggs.

    I hope that situation you don’t want to talk about gets sorted tout de suite! :-)

  63. Hannah

    You echo all my feelings about honey cake — always dry, dry, dry! And tasteless! Then I came across this recipe — and I’ve been making it every year for the past four years or so. It is a seriously good cake. One suggestion: if possible, use buckwheat honey. It makes a tremendous difference.

  64. Lindsey

    I just made this cake and yes, it fell, but it was in a bundt pan so no worries! I also substituted the whisky for a tiny bit more OJ, a bit more coffee, and added floured raisins and a brushing of an OJ glaze. SO. VERY. GOOD. I’m not Jewish, but I may have to be after this.

  65. O.k., I just went out to Lyman’s Orchard and bought 40 pounds of apples, with intent to make a pie this weekend. Now that I see this, I want to make this cake! I guess I will have to wait a week to try it…..but it is going to kill me!

  66. prklypr

    Wow this looks awfully good. I’ve always avoided baking honey cakes b/c they just taste so darn yucky despite good ingredients. The result never seems to equal the sum of the parts. But this version looks awesome, I can’t wait to try it for the holidays this year.

  67. deb

    Hey everyone — So, in regards to the sinking-in-the-middle issue. I at first thought it was just me, but it seems that early test/commenters (#87, #90) are having similar results, leading me to think that there might be too much baking soda and baking powder in the recipe. One tablespoon plus one teaspoon is a lot, even for three loaf pans.

    If you’re feeling like taking a risk–I sadly won’t be able to test this level, or at least not before the holiday–you might consider these options instead: a) Using one tablespoon of baking soda, and no baking powder. This is the level I used for my perfectly-domed banana bread, adjusted for this volume of batter, or b) simply dialing back the baking powder to two teaspoons instead of a tablespoon, and leaving the baking soda level as is.

    If you want to get even more bonus points, if you try either adjustment and want to let us know how it went for you, I am sure many others trying this cake this weekend will appreciate it. As will I. I figure it’s a near win-win, as we know that the cake in its current format is a little sinky.

  68. deb

    Btw, I read a lot of honey cake recipes before trying this one out, and I noticed something: the vast majority have just one to four tablespoons of oil. I am not sure the reason it would be that way, but I do know that it could definitely be one of those things that makes most traditional honey cakes so dry.

  69. Jelena

    I find it comforting to know that your baking soda is old. I always assume that everyone else is positively saintly when it comes to pantry staples.

    I think I’ll make this because it sounds like a fabulous way to ring in 5769.

  70. deb

    Jelena — Also old in my pantry: Self-rising flour I didn’t even know I had, or why I’d need it; three bottles of sesame oil chucked yesterday; lentils in three different colors; sad, dried out vanilla bean; I could go on and on.

  71. Angela

    That looks delicious.
    I once found a mouse in my washer. I ended up putting towel on the bottom and a snap trap on the towel. I know the snap traps sound awful but they are very fast…I don’t think the mouse knows what’s happening.

  72. Amy B.- Portland, OR

    A NYC apartment is not a real NYC apartment unless it has at least one uninvited guest AKA a mouse. Even my dogs were resigned to this fact when the occasional freeloader ran though the living room. This honey cake looks fabulous. I can’t wait to make it. Thanks and I love your site….from an ex-pat NYC’er in Portland, OR. Happy New Year.

  73. Jinxie

    I can weigh in on the baking powder issue, I think–I made it this evening [the cakes are just cool enough to dig into, though I would’ve let them cool a little longer if my roommates hadn’t been begging to be allowed to eat them]. I followed the recipe almost exactly* as is–1 tbs. baking powder plus 1 tsp baking soda, baked in 3 loaf pans–and the 3 cakes turned out beautiful, with a pretty little cake-ridge on each loaf. Also, it was freakin’ delicious. Perfectly moist, perfect flavor…I’d make this cake again in a heartbeat [though next time I might scale down the recipe, as I rarely need 3 loaf cakes all at once.]

    *The only change I made was in the sugar. I was running low on white granulated, so I used only 1 cup of that and added an extra 1/2 cup of brown.

  74. Meilin

    Oh. my….

    You know what gets me? It’s this part
    with a little crisp edge about the corners

    The photo of the honey in the cup is outstanding but when you add the little crisp edges… well this one’s totally getting made in our household. :-) Thanks for the gorgeous photos and recipe!

  75. Josh

    I tried the recipe and it tasted wonderful. Big hit at the office. But, it came out fluffier than expected. I mean FLUFFY! Anyone have tips on how to produce a slightly denser honey cake?

  76. Wendy

    I made it! My experience: I followed the instructions almost to the “T”. I replaced 1/2 cup of flour with wheat flour, but otherwise, everything else was as stated. I had the recipe with the bourbon omitted from the instructions, so I added it with the rest of the liquids. The batter wasn’t as thick as I was expecting; it wasn’t “spoon”able – it poured. I used a greased 13×9” glass baking dish and sat it on two stacked jellyroll pans and baked it for 40 minutes;it was still liquid in the center. Then I baked it 10 more minutes and it was still liquid in the center. So… I added 10 more minutes and yet, 10 more … then my cake started to smell as if it was burning. I took it out after it had been in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. The center was bounce-back finger tested “done”, but slightly sunken (gee…!) It didn’t have much time to cool, I didn’t remove it from the pan and we ate it warm – after baking it extra long, it was nearly 9 p.m. and the kiddies needed to go to bed. YUM. It did have sort of a crunchy shell to it, good flavor, moist. NOT burned, by the way. I whipped some heavy whipping cream and a dash of sugar to go with it, since nothing else sounded good at the time. I think it took so long to bake because it pretty much filled, as it rose, my cake pan — not kidding, it’s at the top ledge of the edge of the dish. If I make it again, I think I’ll split the batter between the 13×9 pan and my 7×11 pans, so it will be thinner and bake quicker. Thanks, Deb, for the recipe!

  77. jamie

    while my honey cakes baked in the oven, i sat at my computer reading all of the comments about this recipe. once i got to the posts about the “sinking-in-the-middle” issue, i realized that i wrongly read the recipe and only put in one teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda (instead of one tablespoon of baking powder and one teaspoon of baking soda). oy. but, shock! my honey cakes came out perfectly plump. no sinking. (i did however, bake them in two loaf pans instead of three. i don’t know if that matters.)

  78. Maggie

    Thank you so much for this recipe! My partner and I have been enjoying your recipes pretty much on a daily basis for the last month, but we seriously love us some honey. I have a loaf of this in the oven right now, and I am thoroughly enjoying eating the batter left in the bowl *hic*.

    Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes!

  79. Becky

    Deb-Thank you so much for the recipe. I will try it as per your suggestions.
    P.S. We have had uninvited “kitchen visitors” also. We were told by animal control to clean all shelves and cabinets with light bleach solution. Also, do scrub down every surface with same light bleach solution. It helps eliminate the urine the mice leave as a marker for other mice. Their “free food and goodies here” signage is interrupted that way. Then traps need to be laid out, which for me the setting up of them is as stressful as catching the little guys (or gals). I feel so bad, but..this really worked for us. Now, I just keep traps activated and in several cabinets and check daily. They are smart enough to go elsewhere because they do sense danger from traps snapping and that just may translate to the little critters staying out of your apartment entirely.

  80. Becky

    Oh, I forgot to add I do not use traps with bait. I only did that the first few days (drop of peanut butter, or tiny piece of Goldfish cracker), but then I started to get a slight ant problem. So, I removed all food from traps. I also bought a variety of traps.

  81. Linda

    I’m so confused. After googling this recipe there appears to be two sets of levening amounts. There’s Deb’s amount 1 T bp and 1 t soda. The other recipe uses 4 t powder and 1/2 t soda. I really don’t want the belly buttons so I am still unclear what to use. Should we still reduce the levening or change it to the other version?

    If you want to test your levening agents, the instructions are as follows:

    for powder 1 t powder + 1/3 C hot water = foaming action (if not, discard)

    for soda 1-1/2 t soda + 1 T vinegar = fizzing action (if not, use in fridge for odors)

  82. deb

    Hi Linda — When a recipe is passed around and reprinted as often as this one, it’s not odd to see different versions of it. I would not think that an additional teaspoon of baking powder would be a good idea–I suspect this suffers from too much leavening.

    However, I still don’t have one conclusion about getting it not to sink. I made a few educated guesses in comment #95, but also consider jamie’s comment (#116) wherein she accidentally used only one teaspoon each of baking powder and soda and the cakes didn’t sink. (Thanks, jamie, btw, for the feedback.)

  83. So disappointed to hear of everyone’s dry honey cake experiences. I have my grandmothers recipe somewhere written in her handwriting which makes it so special as she is not here anymore. It IS very much like this recipe. Good honey cake has a thick ,sticky gooey top, a little less than a quarter of an inch thick and then nothing but sweet spicy orangy moistness below. It looks like this one. I am going to search for my recipe.
    Thank you so much Deb for such a great and inspiring blog. After 19 years of cooking for a family I am pretty well burned out but the combination of the season of local goodies and your blog have re-inspired me…. totally. I look forward to every weekend of not letting myself work but just cooking and baking and feeling warm and cozy. I just hope I don’t gain weight. I might have to cook those brownies again this weekend…. and the honey cake. (I’ll give half to my parents)

  84. francy

    hii lost my honey cake recipe and found this one today and made it. i used self raising flour which is flour with raising agent in it 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teasponn of baking powder and it didnt sink. i think i tablespoon of baking soda is too much. i also used ground ginger makes because i like it. i cooked mine in an aga at about med warm for about 50 minutes and it is yummy. might not make it to rosh hashanah may have to make another one.thanks for the recipeam off to browse the site.

  85. prklypr

    oh my lord, just made this and it is yummy! I used my adorable {huge} sunflower cake pan but there was so much batter (and it was NOT thick, more pourable than spoonable) that I ended up making 6 small fluted muffins as well. Well the muffins came out after 30 mins and you can guess what happened to them – gone before the cake came was even done! Like the previous poster, mine was not very dense but nice crust and delicious none the less. Not much sinking – I used less than a T of baking powder. Subbed 1/2 applesauce for the oil, left out the booze and added orange zest and a grated apple. Thanks!

  86. Barbara K

    Back to the apple discussion…the Washington Post published another Marcy Goldman honey cake recipe in 1999. It was this recipe except that it did not include the whiskey but did call for 1/2 cup shredded, peeled apples. I usually squeeze most of the juice from the apples, cut down a bit on the oil and add more shredded apples. Delish!

  87. Sonia

    Love your blog. It’s one of the first things I do when I get in to the office every morning. Thanks so much for the honey cake recipe! I can’t wait to bake it for Rosh Hashannah dinner.
    About your furry friend…I live in Boston and we have the same problem. I’ve found that peppermint oil is a harmless way to get rid of furry little pests (and it makes the house smell nice to boot). Sprinkle a bit of peppermint oil wherever you think they’re getting in, where you see them, and where you find droppings. Do this every other day for 2 weeks, and then 2-3 times/week for another two weeks (do it whenever the smell disappears) and then weekly for another 2 months. The peppermint oil is so aversive to rodents, that they should disappear totally after the first week. Continuing with the peppermint oil serves as a reinforcement in case they try to come back after a while. Hope it works for you as well as it did for me.

  88. Amye

    I love reading your blgo. I made this cake, put it in 2 loaf pans, and no falling or shrinkage occured. This cake is delicious. I omitted the whiskey and subbed 1/2 of the oil for applesauce. Next time I make this, I will add chopped apples and pecans. It definitely gets better as it sits, and is great with coffee! Thanks for sharing!

  89. Mary in Sao Paulo

    I just made this tender and delicious cake, spreading the (rather runny) batter between a 6×9 loaf pan (45″), a 3/4-cup 6-cupcake pan (30″), and a 4×2 ramekin (35″)–the last one a prize for the baker. All turned out beautifully, with no peaking or sinking. I plan to try it next with shredded apples.

    For tomorrow’s Rosh Hashanah, I will bring the loaf to colleagues and the small cakes to a Brazilian Jewish family who has generously invited (Gentile wife, Jewish husband) to their home to celebrate. Thanks for the timely post and for your terrific blog, which I consult regularly.

  90. Sharon

    My cake just came out of the oven. I used just shy of 1 T baking powder, and baked it in a bundt pan. No sinkage whatsoever, and it was done in 75 minutes. The cake looks good and smells amazing. I will say that I buttered and floured the heck out of the pan, but it did stick a bit. Nothing terrible, just a few large crubs here and there. Also, it really rose to the top of the pan. Next time I’ll make a bundt plus two cupcake sized minis. I’ll comment on the taste another time – we’re saving the cake for tomorrows dinner. L’Shanah Tova!

  91. I made this cake today and made 3 loaves…used 1 tsp of baking soda and 1 tsp of baking powder and did not have any sinking. Delicious except I think it needs some kind of cream cheese frosting!!

  92. megan

    I just pulled this cake out of the oven about an hour ago, I used 2 tsp of baking powder instead of 1 tbs but kept everything else the same except that I used extra orange juice in place of the rye. I divided the cake between 2 8×8 pans and didn’t see any sinking in the center. It tastes great, thanks for the recipe.

  93. ~Sarah V~

    I followed Jamie’s suggestion (#116) and added one teaspoon each of baking powder/soda. Mine also turned out delicious and perfectly domed. Yum. Thanks!

  94. Becky

    I made this yesterday – it didn’t sink and it was delicious. Turns out I only had 1/4 c honey so used brown rice syrup for the remaining 3/4 c. I think this made the cake less sweet but with all the other sweeteners I don’t think the taste was compromised.

  95. Amanda

    i just took this cake out of the oven *NOT EVEN TEN MINUTES AGO* and everyone in my household has a already got a piece on a plate (i think it’s the allspice). i kept sqealing “wait til it’s cool, wait til it’s coooooool!”…..they wouldn’t listen. the piping hot piece i took from my mom was very tasty, though. i added shredded apples and did the 1 tsp. each of soda and powder and came out with a very nice fluffy texture although i think i a denser cake would be more my thing. maybe next time i will use even less leavener (or powder only) and 4 egg yolks…. and by next time i mean now, because i’m pretty sure i can hear my brother scraping the last bit off the bottom of the pan….

  96. Jackie

    I, too, just ate the first slice of this cake, about forty minutes out of the oven. Delicious!

    I followed the recipe as is, with no substitutions and it was wonderful. I had only the slightest sinking in the middle, and with the almonds on top I kinda like the way it looks.

    I also made mine in two loaf pans and two minis. Two minis go to friends, one big one for me and the other big one in the freezer.

  97. Lisa

    this recipe appeared on several blogs and i was quite enthusiastic but my cake did not turn out as well as i’d hoped and did not get raves from guests. i followed the instructions here pretty exactly (i used dark rum instead of whiskey because i had the former and not the latter), and baked in a 13X9 metal pan (on top of one turned-over baking sheet). my experience was that it did not over-rise and sink, but that it didn’t seem to rise fully — when i sliced it, the bottom of the slices were extremely dense, and then the top 2/3 of the slices had a good texture. it did rise a bit in baking and i took it out when the top sprang back to my finger. i’ve made honey cakes before and am a relatively experienced baker. the flavor was good (i let it sit for a day and a half before cutting). but i was disappointed in its failure to rise. the BP was quite fresh; i’ve had the baking soda for a while.

  98. Delicious! I did not grease my Bundt pan enough, so half the cake stuck to the pan, haha. But I just doused the whole thing in a caramel sauce I whipped up to glue the cake back together. No problems with rising, either. :-)

  99. Sarah

    I made this cake today and it’s absolutely gorgeous. My oven must be hotter than most (I really need to get a thermometer, shame on me) because it was done after 45 minutes and I used a bundt pan. No problems with it whatsoever. However, because I can’t leave a recipe alone, I think I’m going to tweak it a bit. More honey, more booze!

  100. Amy

    I just made three loaves of these this morning, which was perfect as I was able to leave one with my bf’s parents for the holiday — chaching! They all turned out delicious and looked great with the almonds on top. Thank you thank you Deb!

  101. Rajesh

    Hi Deb, The cake looks great and delicious. Can i halve the receipe and also what can i subtitute for egg as i am a vegetarian. Thanks in advance as i really plan to do this cake on Wednesday.

  102. I baked it in a bundt tin,…and I didn’t make any changes. It didn’t sink, rose perfectly and it’s divine…so much so that everyone in the house wanted a slice immediately.

  103. I’ve made this cake numerous times. Its great. You can also use warm, flat cola instead of the coffee/tea( I sometimes email with Marcy and she is the one who told me about the cola). She’s quite helpful if you ever have any questions for her. Do you have this cookbook? There are so many worthwhile recipes, its a great book for Jewish Baking.

  104. Mandah

    I made this last night for my Jewish coworkers – they were surprised! I also baked mine in a bundt pan, and there was *almost* too much batter! But it is delicious. I got to use the bamboo honey I bought at the State Fair this year, and then I sprinkled some powdered sugar on top. Very nice!

  105. Gerrie

    Yummy! I made two 9″ pans last night for the holidays and the hubby and I tucked into one that was freshly baked. My oven is so small that we have one rack and could just barely fit in the two pans, but I had not problem with sinkage… even with the fluctuating temp of oven.
    Is it just me, or does this cake smell really boozy? I used whiskey. Don’t get me wrong, I love it but I am wondering if what I used is too strong. The cake is too easy to not make again but next time I’ll use brandy instead of whiskey.

  106. puffynugget

    Hey…long time lurker, first time commenter. I made the cake last night, and brought in two loaves to the office, one will go to Rosh Hashana dinner with me tonight. I followed the recipe to the tee (whiskey? yes!), but used deb’s new proportion of baking soda/baking powder. Good news: No sinking, it rose beautifully for what is really a very wet batter. Bad news: I just don’t think it’s sweet enough…I can’t taste the honey at all. It’s moist, but I feel like I need to drizzle honey ON it. Anyway, bad jew that I am, maybe I just don’t get it. Thanks so much, Deb, you are absolutely my first go-to for recipes!! L’Shana Tova!!

  107. deb

    Hi Heidi — I mentioned a bit earlier (#77) that Goldman says this cake actually gets better with age. Longer than a couple days, I like to store mine in the freezer. It keeps just fine if wrapped well.

  108. Ryan

    Question: Can you taste the alcohol in this?

    There are going to be several people at the dinner that do not drink. I’m fine with the whisky adding flavor but I can’t have it taste alcoholic. (Especially since this is going to be my first Rosh Hashanah dinner since marrying into the Jewish faith…. I would hate to make a bad impression….)

    Any help would be Greatly Appreciated.

    Thanks!

  109. kb

    i use the evelyn rose recipie for anglo lekach which is much easier, less ingredients and takes 2 minutes to prepare. I made eigt this week and have only one left!

  110. Joelle

    Wowee…this is my mother’s recipe as well…except doubled (yeah, that half egg thing never worked so well for me) and with booze.

    And you’re right…it is seriously the best honey cake ever.

  111. eliza

    YUM! We made it as mini cakes for my daughter preschool class. One recipe made 16 mini loaves, but it could have made closer to 20 as many had “muffin” tops. It’s moist and takes like fall – perfect! Thanks! Oh, I did slightly reduce both leaveners and did not have any sunken tops.

  112. My favorite honey cakes don’t contain sugar, they get their sweetness and their name from nothing other then honey. They get their moistness from using moist flours like kamut, oat, and barley – and melt in the mouth with a caramelized honey crisp top. this is just a basic quick-bread recipe with some honey and liquor. Thoroughly disappointed.

  113. Jackie C – I rec’d lots of compliments on this cake – it was easy to make and turned out very well even with the following changes:
    — 3 tsp cinnamon
    — 1 c white sugar
    — 3 eggs + 2 whites
    — instead of coffee/OJ – I used the same volume (1-1/2 cups) of juices ( from fresh squeezed oranges (2) + lemon (about 1/2) + apple juice)
    — orange & lemon zests
    — instead of alcohol, I used 1/2 c of shredded peeled apple
    The batter poured beautifully into my bundt pan, and as it cooked, the cake rose to about 1/2 inch above the top of the pan (but did not spill). I think that using freshly ground spices made a big difference — the raw batter was the best I’ve ever tasted!

  114. another deb

    I made this tonight, following the recipe as written. It came out great, didn’t sink, and I’ve now eaten too much of it in one sitting… l’shana tova to those of you who are celebrating!

  115. Wendy

    Made the honey cake-filled two pyrex (glass) loaf pans, cut back just a smidge on the baking powder & baking soda, used apple cider to replace whiskey and grated in some organic orange peel. Absolutely delish, got rave reviews,as one very picky woman said, “just like mamma used to make” even though it took almost 2 hours to bake. I did use a heavy cookie sheet under the extremely thick pyrex.

  116. Adrian

    Baking SODA has four times the leavening power as baking POWDER. The recipe, as formulated here (1T powder, 1 t soda), calls for the equivalent of 7 teaspoons of baking powder. This is a huge amount—it certainly seems like enough to make the cake fall. I would expect, in a recipe this size, something more like 3 tsp of baking powder, so one possible experiment would be omitting the baking soda entirely.

    However, this would make the batter more acidic which will tend to prevent browning. It seems like the single teaspoon of baking soda (equivalent to 4 tsp baking powder) should provide sufficient leavening all by itself with no baking powder. Or perhaps a middle of the road approach with 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1.5 tsp baking powder?

  117. Zoe

    I made this cake for Rosh Hashanah and while completely delicious and yes, moist, mine also fell in the middle. Except that’s because it wasn’t cooked long enough. Mur :( We just cut around the unbaked parts though…my mother said this is better then Mimi Sheraton’s recipe! High praise haha

  118. Courtney

    We made this last night and it was amazing. The best thing about this cake is the aroma that fills the house! Should you ever need to create a wonderful, welcoming environmentin your house, bake this cake! And yes, it still smelled wonderful this morning.

  119. I made this last night. While I haven’t had time to take a bite myself, I did bring a loaf to my boyfriend last night and he said that between his midnight snack and breakfast, he ate 3/4 of it already! I was happy, because I’ve read so much about people not liking honey cake and I’d never had it so I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. Especially since it wasn’t until I was in the middle of making it that I realized I didn’t have quite enough honey!

    And I’m not Jewish, so I wasn’t completely sure when the new year was, but today when I got to work I saw that it is today! So it looks like I made it at just the right time. After sundown and everything :)

    Mine didn’t fall in the middle, I don’t know what to say about that! And mine fit into two loaf pans…Hmmm.

  120. laurie

    I just made my honey cake and it totally sank in the middle. I live in Denver, and I’m wondering if there is a tried and true high altitude honey cake recipe. For back up, I have apples & honey. But just once, I would like to have a perfect cake. Thank you!

    Regarding the mouse situation, we adopted a female Siamese cat from the Humane Society, and poof! no more mice.

  121. May

    I made this yesterday, and we just love it. its so good and delicious! My parents says its the best honey cake they ever had.
    Thank you! I’ll save the recipe, its a keeper for new years!

    BTW, my cake didnt sunk in the middle (maybe because my honey was quite runny?).

  122. Hildy

    This is the first year of at least 20 that I have made a honey cake that everyone loved. What a lucky find. I followed the original recipe exactly, rye and all. I did the 3 loaves and they turned out perfectly.

  123. Becky

    Update on my cakes: I made two 9′ round and delivered one to my landlord who lives downstairs. He asked me if I was professionally trained as a baker which is a testament to this recipe, not my ability to follow instructions.

  124. prklypr

    I made this not once but TWICE over the weekend – the second time I cut the baking powder to 1 tsp and it was definitely denser than the first version, which was lighter and fluffier. Maybe the tablespoon of baking powder is a typo? Well either way, everyone loved it, thanks!!

  125. because there was so much batter, i made two cakes: a bundt and a flat layer (in a pyrex pan). oddly enough, the flat cake sank, but the bundt was fine. maybe the cake needs more even cooking? with the hole in the middle of the bundt, perhaps this helps? the bundt was also more moist and more flavorful. interesting……

  126. Terry

    Interestingly, I was in a Mexican restaurant the other day in Houston, where I live, and they had Sopapillas on their buffet with the traditional honey…I thought, but turned out to be half honey/half dark corn syrup. It has a wonderful taste.

    Reading this recipe, I intend to make it with that Mexican Honey/Corn syrup in lieu of straight honey.

  127. Hi Deb – I made this cake in a bundt pan and it did not sink at all. My guests kept on asking for seconds and thirds. It was perfectly moist and spicy. It tasted like Autumn/Halloween – it was amazingly perfect.

  128. Meg

    OMG!This cake was incredibly delicious, I seriously couldn’t stop eating it! I made it on Tuesday and it’s already gone, I think I’m going to have to make another, thank you for this fabulous recipe, it’s so easy! too bad there’s a TON of sugar in it! Oh well, who needs slim thighs anyway :)

  129. kstickler

    Hi, I made this for Rosh Hashanah this week. I got the same recipe from epicurious. Mine also fell but in a big way. It’s nice to know others have had that problem. I baked mine in a angel food pan and it overflowed when baking and fell on only one side so it looked really odd. I cut it up to serve it. But it was good and easy otherwise.

  130. Katie in Berkeley

    I made a loaf of this last night (after sundown–not quite Rosh Hashanah but close). I didn’t see the comments here about reducing the leavening but I will make note for next time. There will MOST DEFINITELY be a next time. I cut the recipe by a third (approximately) and the single loaf was gone by breakfast today. YUM. Though next time I’ll skip the sliced almonds, as many of them sank to the bottom and I never did like nuts in my quick breads anyway.

  131. I just made the honey cakes using 2 t baking powder and 1 t soda. They were absolutely stunning and perfectly domed on top. I was bummed that a little bit stuck in one of the corners but that allowed me a little taste before tonight’s dinner. Yum. This honey cake is not like others. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  132. Beacon Mama

    I made this cake in an angel-food cake pan and it came out beautifully–but my 3 year-old was running around me in the kitchen and I forgot to add the almonds. This is the second year I made it and both times I swapped out the whiskey for dark Demerara rum. It just seemed to make more sense to me with all the spices. That and I have a hard time parting with good drinking whiskey!

  133. Eeek! Fail! Stupid tiny oven. I stupidly put it on the middle rack, where it rose precipitiously, then burned to a crisp before the middle was anything but goo. Adios, $12 dollars of ingredients!

  134. Katy Newton

    Oooh, this is a lovely honey cake – so much better than the ones we used to have when I was a kid. I used apple juice instead of orange juice because I didn’t have any orange juice and apples are sort of right for New Year, and went for tea instead of coffee because I just couldn’t imagine coffee working in a cake like this (although I may try it the next time I make it).

    Having seen the comments about leavening, I used a scant tablespoon of baking powder and left out the soda. The cakes rose a little in the oven, and then deflated but didn’t sink – they came out very slightly risen. I have to say, I wouldn’t expect a cake like this to rise very much anyway, any more than I’d expect gingerbread to rise. Overall, I was really pleased with it. Thanks, Deb.

  135. deb

    Hi Tess — I don’t think it matters, you should use whatever you like. Clover or orange blossom seem more traditional, but honestly, I just use whatever is on hand. Enjoy!

  136. The honey cakes were happily gobbled down, even by the most skeptical. One friend, acknowledging that honey cake is like Jewish fruitcake and generally received with only tepid thanks, could not get enough of this. This recipe was a huge hit and will be added to my special folder of holiday recipes as it looks bound to become tradition. Thanks so very much.

  137. This looks wonderful; with the story and pictures you’ve really made me want to stop what I’m doing and make this myself!

    Thanks for sharing this and presenting it in a very rich way!

  138. JENI

    I just made this last night. Boy is this A LOT of cake! i made 8 mini loafs, 6 small bunt, 4 more mini cupcake. I had to split it between my running buddy’s office, my office and hubby+me. the minis are super cute +less prone to collapsing =)

    I was went shopping for some honey yesterday afternoon but i didn’t realize i ran out of regular APF flour! so i used 1 cup reg. flour, and 2.5 whole wheat pastry flour and i also used a bit less oil (the office ladies whine). the cakes are a success! they are still perfectly moist and the flour mix gave it even more texture. very good crumb, moist and just the sweetness we need. the cake are a bit sticky coming out of their molds but they all got out okay. make sure they are still kinda warm though!

    I am new to this blog. Thanks Deb for this great find. I am making the PB+choc cake this weekend for my running buddies (post 22+ mile run nutrition) hehe.

    now i kinda miss it, now all the cakes are gone… i gotta make more friends to be able to make another batch..

  139. Courtney

    I made this last weekend and it was AMAZING. It really does get more dense and moist after a day or two.

    We made a few changes:
    1/2 c vegetable oil, 1/2 c olive oil because that was all I had.
    Woodford Reserve instead of whiskey (or is that whiskey? I don’t know).
    Nutmeg instead of allspice.

    My one note would be that this wa WAY too much batter for a regular bundt pan. We poured all the batter in mine – bad decision – and a cup or so poured over onto the baking sheet. Next time I would probably split between a bundt and a small loaf pan. (We did eat the extra batter – it cooked up fine on the pan!)

  140. Ryan

    Two things:

    1. I followed the recipe exactly, and used one 9×13-inch pan, and it baked perfectly. No falling cakes, no overflow. Just perfect moistness and light, delicious cake with Tons Of Flavor.

    2. Back in comment 157, I asked whether you can taste the alcohol in this, since there were going to be a couple sober alcoholics at my holiday gathering. Well, I gambled and put the whiskey in anyway… with mixed results. While I couldn’t personally taste any alcohol, one of the people could, and after two bites of the cake, decided he’d rather not have any more. The other person couldn’t taste it, and had no problem. So, fair warning: Do Not Add Alcohol if you are going to be serving this to people sensitive to it!

  141. Holly

    I just made this in 2 large loaf pans, and it is absolutely fantastic!!! I had enough to share pieces with several friends, and I gave it to them when it was still warm and they could smell all the spices. I used whiskey and followed everything else exactly, and I have gotten compliments galore and love it myself. This is the first recipe of yours I’ve made and I will be back for more! Great job!!!

  142. Hilary

    having failed too often with everyone’s mother’s favourite recipes, i searched the web for “best honey cake” for the jewish new year, and i certainly hit the jackpot with this find. it was a knockout winner, and has become this mother’s favourite.
    it didn’t sink at all. perfect.
    as i made it in australia, here are my metric conversions:
    • Fits in three loaf pans, two 22cm square or round cake pans, one 22cm or 25cm tube or bundt (ribbed ring form) cake pan, or one 22x33cm sheet cake.
    • 350°F = 180°C.
    thankyou marcy goldman and everyone else who handed it on!

  143. Brittany

    Great recipe! I followed your directions minus the whiskey, used brandy flavoring mixed with water (wasn’t going to go out and buy anything) and it tastes great! I didn’t have a problem with the cakes falling, and all my friends loved it!

  144. I made this today, and it’s really yummy. It did fall a bit, so if I make it again I’ll probably cut back on the baking powder.

    I halved the white sugar and oil, and replaced them with .5c apple sauce, and added 1t orange zest. Mmmm, my house smells great.

  145. melissa

    I talked my friend into making this for work today,and it was divine! I think it would have been better hot and fresh from the oven, but I’m sure it’s easy to reheat. I think the orange juice really made it for me – it definitely gave it that tang that brought everything together. She baked hers in two small loaf pans and a cake pan, and hers didn’t sink at all (not that it would have mattered!).

    Oh, and just to show that I’m not totally selfish, I made the whipped cream for the cake. ;)

  146. Made it in the morning and my house is still smelling great! I’ll probably cut back on the ground cloves (or eliminate them) and try one of those gourmet honey’s, lavender or lemon…. =)

    Thank you for your great recipes!

  147. Mel

    Oh my god, this looks amazing! It’s well past Rosh Hashana, and I’m not even Jewish, but I will definitely be giving this a try.
    How long does this keep?

  148. deb

    This keeps for a three to four days at room temperature. For storage longer than that, I always recommend that people freeze cakes, well-wrapped (at least twice in plastic, three times is better). It’s the best way to ensure it will taste fresh when you’re ready to serve it.

  149. These were really good, I made one loaf and about 18 cupcakes out of the batter. Mine were really moist, but yours look like they are oozing with honey, any thoughts? Add more honey?

  150. Karen

    Wonderful cake! I halved the recipe, used 2t. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. baking soda, and 2 eggs. Didn’t have o.j., but juiced a tangerine and used that (with coffee and no alcohol). Didn’t have allspice so I added a pinch of nutmeg with the cinnamon and cloves. Even with my little changes, it was outstanding and my 21 year old son kept asking, “Mom, when are you going to open up your bakery?” I used a 9″ round standard cake pan and the cake rose beautifully and looked great — the slivered almonds on the top helped.

  151. Rachel

    I just made this cake last night for my (Jewish) Dad’s 66th birthday and it was a huge hit!!! Thanks! I also thought I’d share a few changes I made that certainly did not hurt the end result:
    1.5 c. whole wheat flour and 2 c. white
    1.5 c. honey
    1 c. Rapadura (dried, ground cane juice – healthiest sugar product)
    I also frosted it with whipped cream. Yum!!

  152. Laurie

    Thanks for this delicious recipe! My family LOVES this cake! I made it last Rosh Hashana and my son loved it so much he wanted it again as his birthday cake! :)

    Do any of you you think it could be adapted for Passover use? I have no idea how to swap out the flour. I thought maybe almond flour…but would the quantities be the same as the regular flour? Maybe a mix of matzo meal and almond flour?

    Thanks for any advice! I’d love to make this for Passover for my dad who is a huge honey cake fan.

  153. Kay

    i would like to try this sometimes!!! it sounds delicious and moist!!! i usually go for the more carrot cake/pound cake, or ice cream cake, so i’ll be trying something new! -thanx :)

  154. Gaby

    After reading this post I just had to make the cake, and let me tell you, it didn’t sink, the timing in the oven for both, a loaf pan and a tube pan were super accurate and the moistness and texture out of this world! It might get better with age, but unfortunately ALL this cake was gone in a day!

  155. I also lost my honeycake recipe (it was with separated eggs and chocolate chips). I made this cake for Shavuoth in Jerusalem (fairly high altitude.) I mistakenly used 1 tbls. b.s. and 1 pkg. Israeli b.p.(12 gram). Didn’t fall at all. Made full bundt pan plus narrow disposable aluminum pan. Happy to have a one-pan no eggs-separating recipe. Thank you.

  156. Nadia

    Oh my, this cake made my whole apartment smell like fruit cake, although it tastes more like a distant cousin of ginger cake. It is lovely — solid but moist, spicy, warming and satisfying.

    I made half the recipe amount as I have only one square cake tin. I didn’t reduce the baking soda, but I did use a third less baking powder, measure for measure, and the cake actually rose in the middle. I also opened my new, vacuum packed packet of Sultry Kerala Cloves for the recipe, and used nutmeg instead of the allspice. I threw in two chopped and peeled granny smiths but wish I’d chopped them more finely as they seem to have bunched up in the middle. I’m not sure the apple adds much more than subtle moisture and flavour though — this cake has lots of character already.

  157. Kristen

    Absolutely delicious. I tried it today-horrible day, pouring with rain-and it was the perfect thing to spice up my afternoon. Next time, I’m going to try it with grated apple :) Enjoy, I highly reccomend this recipe

  158. Beth P

    What an incredible recipe– the flavor is amazing. One tip though, DEFINITELY cook it longer than stated, especially if you’re looking to use a bundt cake pan, because there is a lot of liquid in the batter and it’s an easy one to undercook.

  159. SaucyGal

    I just tested this recipe. I altered the spices a bit because of what I had on hand. I used whisky and dark coffee and it is DIVINE! It’s light and airy and moist and spicy and heart and belly warming.
    I will be making this again…and again…and again.
    I always thought I had to make my mom’s recipe, which involved separating eggs, folding the whites into the batter, etc…way too much trouble for the “meh” end result, to get a nice light honey cake. Not anymore!
    Thank you!!!

  160. Libby

    Hi, I’ve been asked to do a Honey cake for the holidays but she wants it decorated, so I was wondering what kind of icing would go with this cake, I’m making Buttercream for another cake, could I used the same for the honey cake?
    thanks for your help!

  161. Susan S.

    Made the recipe this morning – my 1st attempt at honey cake – and I’ll tell you all my 3 cakes came out PERFECTO! they did not fall in the middle and i was extra worried because i sprinkled a bunch of slivered almonds smack dab in the middle – oy i said – am i a moron? deb said it will fall in the middle and now i’m putting extra weight in the middle? well lo and behold – they all came out perfect and i followed the recipe exactly! I’m actually flying down to visit my parents in Florida on Tuesday and will be bringing some down with me! All the different flavors are so evident and wonderful – YUM!

  162. 3 lovely loaves just came out of the oven. (i was a tiny bit nervous going in – i read all of the comments, paying careful attention to the discussion about leavening. i used 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda. next time, i’ll try the baking soda only option, just to see.)

    the cakes are golden and lovely. only a teeny tiny dip in the center that i probably would not have thought twice about were it not for the discussion here. of course, i already sliced a piece to taste – the texture is perfect – not too dense, not too fluffy (if that’s even an option), i like the bit of chew around the edges, the honey flavor is strong and delicious and i love that, i didn’t notice the whiskey at all. perfect for this holiday.

    thank you, as always, for your delicious recipes (and beautiful photography!). wishing you a sweet new year!

  163. Sarah

    I just baked this cake a couple of hours ago. I’m bringing it to my boyfriend’s parents’ house tomorrow. (I’m not Jewish, but my guy is.) It did sink a little bit but I’m not worried, haven’t tasted it yet but it smells and looks delicious. A nervous Lutheran experiencing her first Rosh Hashanah thanks you.

  164. Robbie

    Well I’ve got two in the oven right now in loaf tins, I just checked them one has overflowed a bit. Perhaps you should amend the instructions for stupid people like myself to only 3/4 or 7/8 fill the loaf tins to allow for them to rise. What was I thinking the baking powder and soda were for DOH. By the way they smell delicious and it’s three hours till rosh ha shanna (Jewish New Year) in Western Australia so Hag Sameach (Happy Holydays) everyone.

  165. Arwen

    I baked this last night. I used 1.5 tsp baking powder instead of the full tbsp and I subbed apple juice for the alcohol. Turned out so perfect!!! I am keeping this recipe forever!

  166. Micaela

    I made this last night and they taste delicious. Not exactly like my Bobe’s, but so good! I made it in three loaf pans and they all overflowed, I’m glad they were on the cookie sheets! I also added some cardamom to the recipe.
    Thank you and shana tova!

  167. conundrum1

    Well, with all the rave reviews, how could I not try this recipe for the holiday? I have 4 loaf pans baking in the oven with 5 hours to go until candle lighting. I guess I’ll have to wait and see how it tastes, but I’m sure that it will be amazing.

    Shana Tova U’Metuka / Have a happy and sweet new year!

  168. Sarah

    Oh my… Thank you so much for this recipe! I took the cake out not 5 minutes ago, and the family wants to have some. I live 30 min from Denver, and, probably due to the altitude, the cake has sunk a little. But the batter was delicious, and I might put a honey glaze or something on top to counter it. I used the 1 tsp of baking powder and soda suggested by other readers, and it’s only a little dip. Definetly something I’ll be bringing to our service!

  169. marijke

    I agree that most honey cakes are atrocious. I like “Aunt Ethyl’s” from California Kosher. No spices particularly, but lots of delicious moist flavor. really good semi-frozen too for the impatient among us. It calls for a jigger of whiskey, I believe, but I have used rum, hazelnut liqueur, whatever is in my cabinet. making one now, just came on to see why it always falls. I am at 5200 ft, so I’ll try cutting the baking powder.

  170. Metropat

    I am wondering what would be a good substitute for whiskey. I do not drink, cannot drink and won’t use any alcoholic substance in a recipe. I notice there are several recipes that call for whiskey or in one case stout. Does anyone have any idea or should I just skip the recipe altogether?

  171. SharonNW

    I made this cake yesterday in a bundt pan and it overflowed making a total mess. After reading comments, I used only 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda in 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. Perfect.

  172. Victoria

    I made this honey cake yesterday for the holiday and it was absolutely delicious. I made only 1/3 of the recipe, using one loaf pan, and I used equal parts baking soda and baking powder. It did not sink AT ALL, in fact it peaked, but I think I may have overmixed the batter a little bit trying to compensate for the possibility of it sinking in the middle. Clearly I didn’t need to do that! Thank you for posting this Deb, and thanks to everyone for the feedback about it sinking!

  173. I served this today at Rosh Hashanah lunch to rave reviews! I baked it on Thursday night but it was still moist and fluffy this afternoon. I only used one larger loaf pan, and the batter filled that with just enough left over for a mini pan (for a trial run). Doing it with a larger pan, it took about an hour and ten minutes to fully bake (although the mini pan was done after 45 minutes). I added 1/2 cup of grated apple, and only used a splash of whiskey, but the taste still came through.

  174. Bruce Linder

    Thnx- in return; peperoni chicken: in slow cooker, mix 1 lg can crushed tomato, 1 lg can tomato paste,1 cup Philly style sweet peppers w/juice,1 cup carrots,1 cup peperoni, 1 med onion (sliced), 3-5 pieces of bone-in frozen chicken mix all ingredients, cover chicken, cook 4-5 hours on low, serve w/rice

  175. sue

    Fabulous, moist, just sweet enough, scrumptious. My first time baking a honey cake. I asked hubby if he liked honey cake, his reply was: “my Mom used to buy one every week and, of course, I love honey cake but haven’t had one in years”. Well, he just loved this one. A huge hit too with our friends. Again, thanks for posting another winner!!

  176. gdevi

    Bookmarked this last year and finally made it for the 2nd night celebrations yesterday. I used grape-seed oil and used bourbon as the liquor and it was AWESOME. Wouldn’t change a thing. Made it in a 9 x 13 sheet because I couldn’t find my bundt pan. The edges were a TAD dry, but the whole thing was to die for… and I don’t normally like honey cake. Tastes really good with a bit of homemade vanilla whipped cream on top :)
    Will definitely be making this again. Thank you so much for posting!

  177. Kathleen

    I made this in a Star of David Bundt pan. Mine sunk in the middle, too. Guess from the comment above that I better toss out the old baking powder! I substituted orange marmalade for the OJ, and used Irish Mist for the whiskey. I’m taking it tonight to a little salon a few of us gather for once a month. My hostess’ boyfriend is Irish, hence the license with Irish Mist!

  178. SSG

    I made this as written in the cookbook without reading all the comments. I filled 6 mini loaf pans and one large loaf pan 3/4 full. The mini all overflowed and they were all sunk in the middle. I can’t get them out of the pans either. But the taste is so delicious that I read the comments and googled the recipe. I came across a recent SF Gate article that has the recipe with the adjusted leaving http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/11/FDJR19GCJV.DTL I will definitely use the revised recipe and try again next year.

  179. Sunshine

    I made this recipe yesterday and I wanted to let you know how it turned out. It was really good! I went with the 1 teaspoon of baking powder and I had no issues. It was a very tender cake.

    I agree with the commenter above (without the nastiness and negativity) that it’s much like a quick bread and not very honey-ey. However, my Jewish gf said that that is what honey cake is supposed to taste like. Next time, I’ll use a stronger honey (vs. the orange blossom one I used this time).

  180. Thurla Omole

    I LOVE your website and the Cake so much ! Although we have lot of Honey cake recipes here in Nigeria but your is DEFERENT!!!!!!!!!!!! I will teach my staff on your Honey cake recipe for them to benefit from you…… Well i will like to know if you do training on Cake making and sugar craft, cos i hope to come down to learn more about cakes and others.Thanks for your post!!!!

  181. Amanda

    While I haven’t made this recipe (yet), I wanted to mention for the sake of everyone who’s asked about egg substitutes: use 1 T cornstarch OR arrowroot powder + 2 T water for each egg in a recipe. Sometimes a little more water needs to be used if the recipe seems particularly dry, but I’ve used this for cakes, cookies, muffins, you name it, and haven’t had any “bad” results that I can remember.

    I’m sure you could use any other thickener you have on hand, as well- potato starch, for example, or even more flour, though I haven’t tried either of those. I would, however, make sure to use all or most of the oil/butter in the original recipe, so that you’re not taking all of the fat out of the recipe. Fat is necessary in baked goods for the proper moistness and texture.

  182. FinnLucy

    Just made this without orange juice (just upped the coffee — and I just used instant espresso) and made it with brandy.

    Incredible. Fills 6 small loaf pans nicely (which is my favorite size, btw, great for hostess presents — the lemon yogurt blueberry cake recipe x2 fills 7 of these things).

    Excellent crumb on this cake. Yum.

  183. Vidya

    From my experiences with this cake, I’ve got to say that I much prefer it with the coffee and the booze than with tea and no booze. That said, I’m sure it would be great with extra coffee and no booze, but I think the coffee is an important ingredient in balancing the sweetness of the honey. Also, for people looking for egg substitutes, as someone who never uses eggs (not used to them and don’t like the smell/taste), I would back Amanda up on the cornstarch substitute, or I would use a ready made starch-based egg replacer powder, which is finer and is made from a mixture of starches. For things like brownies though, which need stronger binding, I would suggest tofu, about 1/4 cup pureed for each egg. You can’t even tell the difference, and tofu has lecithin in it, like eggs, which binds the ingredients in baked goods together. But don’t ever use tofu in cakes like this, it will make them way too dense and stodgy. You need to be careful, an egg replacer that works well in one recipe will fail in another, so practice makes perfect.

  184. As usual, I am a year or more behind the rest of the world! It always takes me so long to catch up with you all!! Anyway, so glad I found this site. I will definitely be making this cake as part of Thanksgiving dessert; but, I especially liked the funny part about your visitor! One time, I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs simply because my girlfriend was doing so ~ and running from my steps to my backyard when I finally found out why she (we) were screaming!! A slug on the steps!!!

  185. Jocelyne Jeannot

    This is a great and interesting recipe. I was luck to have all the ingredients. It combines all my favorite flavors and spices. You taste a little bit of everything in every bite. The recipe also makes great muffins.

  186. Hoagie

    Wonderful! Made this yesterday…we can’t stop eating it. I will make it again and again. Maybe it’s just us, but we can’t taste and whisky or the coffee…but it is a great combination in this cake. Thanks for sharing and thanks for all the feedback..some great ideas.

  187. Sara

    My challahs are baking now. I love the sounds of your recipe, but I’m having the same problem right now I have with ANY challah recipe: I did all the rises exactly as supposed to, made the braids, let it rise again, and stuck it in the oven. One those loaves get some hear, they triple ion size, the braids pull apart, the things get HUGE! Help!! What am I doing wrong?

  188. Wait. You mean it’s THAT easy? And involves no golden syrup? I mean, no insult intended to Lyle’s, but in honey cake? The only recipes I’ve come across that looked remotely promising ALL had the gold stuff in them. I’m distinctly relieved that this doesn’t, yet you call it good. Perhaps I’ll make it tomorrow (tomorrow being boxing day and therefore a totally appropriate date for consumption of trad Jewish cake)!

  189. Anne

    Aw, man! I’m not Jewish, and it’s closer to January 1 than Rosh Hashana, but I just made this and it is *delicious*. You’re right – it’s awesome in the morning with a strong cup of coffee.

    Great, moist, and super easy – thanks for posting the recipe!

  190. Joe

    I’ve never baked anything before… until a few days ago. I found this recipe and wanted to give it a try. Eating healthy, whole-grain foods is important to me, so I figured I’d be a bit daring and tried substituting ALL (not half like most recommend) of the all-purpose flour with organic whole wheat flour. From suggestions of a few other websites, I used 7/8 the amount of flour (a little more than 3 cups) and 1.5 times as much baking powder (1.5 tbsp), and I added in a little extra of most of the fluids (orange juice, tea, etc.). It came out pretty well. From the half a dozen or so people who tried it, none of them disliked it. Responses ranged from “ok” to “perfect”. It had a bit grainier flavor, which really gave it a nice touch. Thanks for the recipe. And kudos to anyone else willing to try the whole wheat flour.

  191. rae

    I quietly substituted your recipe for the recipe on a Disney card that my daughter had her heart set on (sorry, dear, 1/2 cup of shortening? bleh!) with spectacular results. The only change I had to make was to supplement my missing 1/4 c of honey with molasses. Yum, yum, extra yum!

  192. margaret Woodside

    I tried reading all the comments before asking my dumb shiksa question. I have been asked to make a honey cake for Passover. (so I’m not the only shiksa in this crew.) What do you think of using matzo cake meal in this cake? Clearly these are not observant Jews I’m cooking for so I have no intention of modifying anything else, like the leavening. A friend said I’d love your site. He was right. I do. thanks for your answer to my stupid question.

    1. deb

      margaret — Not every recipe can have the flour swapped with matzo (or better, matzo cake meal) successfully; you’ll likely need less cake meal than you’d need flour, from my experience. Your best bet is to make test batch. And of course, let us know how it goes — I am sure others would like to try the same.

  193. margaret Woodside

    Thanks, Deb: I made it with 2-3/4 cups of matzoh cake flour in a 9×13 pan. It baked in 45 minutes, is nice and moist and quite flavorful. This is the test batch. I’m taking it to a church meeting tonight and freezing the rest. I didn’t add the almonds-decided it was expensive enough. I’ll do that for the seder at church. Thanks very much.

  194. Katie

    Ok, question. I have been looking for a honey-based cake for some time now. How honey-ey is the cake? I am trying to make a cake inspired by my favorite candy bar of all time- Cadbury Crunchie. It’s a honeycomb candy coated with chocolate. I am going to make a honey-flavored cake (9 in round pans) and coat with dark chocolate frosting… either ganache or buttercream- haven’t decided… with little bits of chopped up candy bar on top. Thoughts? Do you think this recipe would work?

    1. deb

      Katie — If you tone down or remove most of the spices, it will have a stronger honey flavor. It’s there, but the spices do distract.

  195. Wow! The honey, the whiskey, the spices… I had some friends over for dinner, and this cake had them silent except for the moans of satisfaction. Such a simple-looking, but amazing cake. Thanks!

  196. Deidre

    I made this for a potluck on Friday night, and I must admit that I was surprised by just HOW MUCH cake there was. Nevertheless, it was very well received. I really liked the slivered almonds on top!

  197. Okay, I just read all the comments and I can’t quite seem to find the answer.
    I have Marcy’s cookbook and I checked the recipe there just to see what you changed…and I want to know (mostly for curiosity, I suppose) why you added the extra flour, baking powder, and baking soda? Also, why an extra 1/2 cup of sugar, why not just substitute part of the white for brown? I notice that you also increased the liquid with the orange juice – is that what caused the change in flour content? I’m really just wondering but since I’m going to make it, I was wondering which way would turn out best!!! Thanks so much!!!

  198. Laurie

    Deb:
    I was just wondering if you think that some caramelized apples on the bottom of the pan might brighten this up a bit…that way ya get your apples and honey all in one go? Thanks! By the way I have been visiting your site for almost a year and it has been a pleasure to read your blog, recipes and to watch Jacob grow..he is darling.

  199. Jessica Bling

    Sound like a great recipe, thanks!
    Do you know how much time in advance can I make it? where should I keep? (refrigerator, outside?)

  200. Mer

    My cakes just came out of the oven,
    Delicious.
    I added anise seed to the recipe because thats what my old honey cake recipe called for and I love the taste. I was looking for a recipe that was moist because I found my last one was quite dry, and this is a great improvement.
    I think next time I make it I’ll cut down the sugar just a bit because it is a little sweet for my liking, but its the new year so a little extra sweetness can’t do much harm.
    Thanks a lot!!

  201. OMG. I have different recipe from the old Grossinger’s (Catskills) cookbook, but it looks the same as this one, sank in the middle. I was googling why, when I came upon this picture, so I guess I am not the only one this happens to. Anyway, if you are making honey cake, Shana Tova!

  202. Elaine

    I have been making honey cakes as New Year’s gifts for years, and have never found an outstanding version until now. This isn’t just a “I have to make a honey cake for the holiday” cake; this is truly a majestic and moist treat for any time of the year. This and a cup of tea will cure what ails you.
    I made the recipe in mini loaf pans–check them after 20-25 minutes or so because they’ll bake quickly. Do follow the instruction of placing the pans on baking sheet(s). I used the 2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda. I added a Tbsp of grated orange rind just to crank up the orange flavor a little, as Deb had suggested way back when.
    I wrapped them in foil while they were still a warm, to ensure moistness for the next couple of days. I had no sinking middles in the cakes, only smiles of surprise and delight among my friends.This is gift-worthy for anyone at any time.

  203. What do you think of doing a honey syrup glaze to pour over the top (perhaps after stabbing the cake with a skewer a million or so times)? I was thinking apple in the cake, then a little apple juice mixed with honey to make a nice gooey sauce to pour over it… apple + honey poured on an apple-honey cake? Guaranteed sweet New Year, right (asks the Shiksa who is nonetheless going to celebrate Rosh Hashanah by baking this cake, another raisin challah, etc., for Shabbos dinner for a friend… who doesn’t keep kosher, so that’s not a problem)?

    1. deb

      I don’t think it will be bad, but I don’t think it is necessary. The cake is pretty sweet.

      Phyllis — Very interesting. My book is MIA right now but every version I have Goolged online shows the same amount of flour and leaveners I use here. It would explain a lot (such as my crater-cakes), however!

      Everyone else looking at this recipe right now — I’m looking for a few minutes to properly retest this before the holidays start this week with the “correct” amount of leavener. I suspect (after checking Bakewise) that only using 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda or nixing it entirely will keep the cake from sinking.

  204. debbie b.

    I just baked this cake and have the same question as someone above…do I refrigerate or leave on counter till needed (2 days)? Wrapped in foil?

  205. Olivia

    You rock! I use your challah recipe and your sweet kugel recipe and this one was just as good. My cakes fell as well but I did not have baking soda on hand and only used baking powder so maybe that had something to do with it. Also, my husband was making a huge racket in the background so maybe mine fell due to noise as well! Keep up the amazing work.

  206. joy

    i love this cake ….i didn’t had wishkey or rye but since there is a coffee in it i put 1/2 cup of kaluah mmmmmm…its taste great !!!!

    thank you for the recipe you made my rosh hashana better.

    shana tova !!!!

  207. Tamar

    so good!!! I just came across this page and made it and I cant wait to bring it over to my mom’s for our Rosh Hashana feast tonight! Shana Tova!

  208. Karen

    Very good! I made this today for Rosh Hashana dinner. Everyone liked it. I omitted the baking soda and used only the 1 Tbsp of baking powder and it turned out nicely; no falling at all. I baked it in a Bundt pan, but only for 50-55 minutes. Next time, I might leave it to cool completely before turning it out, as a few bits of the top got left behind in the pan. Oh, I also used 2 tsp of cinnamon instead of 4, but added 2 tsp of ground ginger. Left out the booze and added extra coffee instead, but I like the idea above of adding Kahlua….maybe next time. Thank you! Shana Tova!

  209. Julia

    This is currently in the oven. The dough tastes wonderful and like every recipe I get here, I’m SURE the finished product will be wonderful. Just in time for night 2 of Rosh Hashanah!

  210. eliza

    Yum!!!! Finally a honey cake I can look forward to! I only used 1t of baking soda and baking powder each, and baked it in a tube pan w/ removal bottom – nonstick but still with parchment paper and PAM spray, and it came out PERFECT. I also used only 1c of white sugar and increased the honey to 1.5 cups since I really wanted a strong honey flavor. I also added some ginger, and toasted the almonds and dusted them with flour before putting them on the top of the cake so that they wouldn’t sink. I used whiskey, and a splash of Grand Marnier – I thought it might help bring out the o.j. flavor. I made one separate mini loaf for myself and it was heavenly. I made some cinnamon whipped cream to go on top, without a lot of sugar since the cake is so sweet already. Forget the meal, bring on dessert! Shana tova!

  211. Suzi

    HI! Re: Comment #165 about egg white.

    Egg white is a drying agent and a leavening agent. Egg Yolk will make baked goods moist. I imagine if you substitute egg whites for whole egg, your resulting cake will be drier and crumblier. Yolk has fat and I want to say lecithin, the chemical that causes emulsions.

    Re: baking soda v baking powder. Your instincts are correct to back off on some of the baking powder. Baking powder does MOST of the lifting in this recipe; the baking soda is like an insurance policy. (Test your baking powder to make sure it has some oomph by mixing a little baking powder in warm water. if it fizzes, it’s good!) Too much baking soda or baking powder will cause larger bubbles in the batter, which will collapse causing Cave in Cake. :) Too much leavening agent also makes batters bitter. (Per the joy of baking.com)

    CAN’T WAIT TO BAKE THIS LOVELY LUSCIOUSNESS!

  212. Just found this post while googling for a honey cake recipe. I will definitely try it. BTW, yesterday I passed a Park Slope bakery that was charging about $40 for a honey cake!

  213. Zoya

    I was at Whole Foods on the eve or Rosh Hashana and they had honey cakes. I too have never been a fan of the traditional honey cake(though for me I think it’s about the cloves and nutmeg–just not a fan of spiced cakes). Anyhow, I saw this amazing, rich, dark, moist cake in the Whole Foods bakery and it also had a divet like yours. So I don’t think it was your scream or the falling utensil. I think it may be how the honey, since it liquifies more when heated and settles toward the middle. That’s just my guess anyhow.

  214. Lynda

    Just took the cakes out of the oven and I may not make it to dinner before trying some. My whole house smells heavenly. I used 1 t. baking powder and 1 t. soda and no sunken centers. I made one 9 X 5 loaf and 5 miniatures, so plenty for us and to give away too. Perfect for the second night of Rosh HaShannah (I couldn’t make it yesterday, I spent the day making a gigantic, double loaf, round challah that was bigger than my young son!). Thanks Deb, you’re my culinary hero!

  215. Sandy

    I cater for the Jewish community of Kauai and tried your recipe this year. Everyone said it was the best they have ever had!!! I made a glaze with passion fruit and orange. I did not have whiskey so I used rum. I doubled the recipe for a hotel pan and it did fine, it did not sink at all. Also, I added some cardamom. I am looking forward to trying more of your recipes!! Thank you so much!

  216. srk

    Silly me, I was distracted while making this, mentally cutting the recipe in half and on phone at the same time…and I totally forgot to add the brown and white sugar…d’oh!!!! Cake didn’t brown as nicely as in the picture (no surprise, really, given that I left out all that sugar!), but it was still pretty tasty – it had enough sweetness to offset the taste of the liquor and coffee, and had a nice texture. I made a quick confectioners sugar/honey/vanilla glaze to pour on top. Fail averted! Husband says, “No disaster, this is delicious!” I’m sure this cake would be even more fab-u-lous-ly delicious if made as written…I will definitely try it again and give it my full attention! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  217. Lauren

    I just made this. It smelled wonderful cooking, and it also tastes very good. I like whole wheat flour, so I substituted a cup of that for a cup of white flour (so I still used 2-1/2 cups white flour). Also cut down the sugar to a heaping 1-1/2 cups. And I used buckwheat honey, and brandy instead of whiskey because that’s what I had on hand. The buckwheat honey is super flavorful, and I could probably stand to reduce the sugar even more with that in mind. I do think in the morning for the next few days, with a cup of coffee, this cake will be quite delicious!

    By the way, I made this in a 9×13″ pan, and the cake did sink slightly in the middle, but it doesn’t look disastrous. Since people are saying they made it without any baking powder at all, I’d probably try reducing it to a teaspoon next time.

  218. Michelle

    Bundt pan question — I assume you put the almonds in the pan first, then pour in the batter, so the almonds will be on top of the cake?

  219. Laurie

    Okay, so I’m two years late to this party, but just made this cake last night and it totally rocked. As advertised: moist and delicious. Not sure about majestic, but then I don’t need to eat a mountain.

  220. Lauren

    I can’t emphasize how much better this cake tastes as the days go by. The first night, when it was still fresh from the oven, it was pretty good. The next day.. Wow, that’s pretty good! And now it’s four days later and the taste is truly excellent. I don’t think it could be any better. Everyone I’ve given it to has loved it. I have not refrigerated it yet, but I probably will tonight. And freeze some because it truly made a lot. Great recipe!

  221. Natalie

    I made this today for the first time and it tastes delicious! Maybe a bit too sweet…. might use less white sugar next time. My main problem is that it’s a cake on the outside (sunk!) but the inside is very much still sludgy! I used 2/3 of everything and cooked until the outside started to overcook (I knew I couldn’t just let it carry on cooking until the middle went cakey) for the required time but it just doesn’t quite fit the ‘cake’ category! Haha! I didn’t add alcohol and didn’t add the baking soda. What can I do to make it like it should be next time? It still tasted lovely and was definitely moist so I’m dead-set on getting it right!!

  222. Dana

    Based on the above comments and a recipe in “Love and Knishes” I used 1.5 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda. I also used slightly less cinnamon, oil, and white sugar than the recipe calls for and replaced about 1 cup of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour. The cake is moist and delicious as promised and mine didn’t sink… Too bad I was taking it to a strictly kosher dinner with meat and unthinkingly used butter to grease the pans. Had to leave them at home and pick up some dry honey cake at a bakery, but I’m not at all disappointed to have 3 cakes to myself!

  223. charlotte

    Two years later, and I just made this for Rosh HaShana. I didn’t read the comments, which might have kept this wonderful cake from sinking. As we made short work of the cake (gone by the next day!), I said something about possibly having used too much oil or honey. Now I read the leavening comments and… I’ll make this very soon, but cut back on the leavening, as recommended above. But is it ever good! Just the very best.

  224. Charlotte

    AMAZING! I’ve been baking honey cakes for years and decided to try this one. Best ever! Moist, delicious and well risen. Thank you, thank you.

  225. This is a great cake. I used light olive oil and sub. 1 cup of flour for whole wheat.
    and added 2 shredded apples(1 granny and 1 breaburn). made in 2, 9 in cake pans.
    I served it with a mascarpone/whipped cream frosting(from chow.com) topped with a few sliced apples and drizzled with honey. OMG, it was soooo good. My jewish friend never had such a great honey cake!

  226. You may get sick of the litany of substitutions…. BUT I reduced the baking soda to 1/4 teaspoon as someone had recommended, subbed 1 cup of whole wheat flour for the AP, reduced the white sugar by 1/2 cup, reduced the oil by 1/3 cup, increased salt by 1/2 teaspoon, and doubled the ground cloves. Baked in a bundt for 60 minutes, and actually wish I had reduced that by 5 minutes as it was just a tad tough.

    The result was a fragrant and moist cake, that wasn’t too sweet, and will go just as nicely with my coffee tomorrow morning as it did for dessert tonight. Mine also did not sink at all.

    I also added the zest of the orange that I juiced, but couldn’t taste much citrus in the final cake. But the whiskey adds a delicious smokey-sweet flavor that I loved and haven’t tasted before.

  227. SAJ

    If you substitute 3/4 cup of applesauce instead of the eggs, this recipe is vegan, AND includes apples (and remains delicious). Perfect for all the Jewish vegan hippies I know. Thanks.

  228. Diane

    Echoing Michelle’s question (at 296) about putting the nuts on the bottom, not the tops, when using a bundt pan. Does anyone have an answer? Thanks!

  229. Hayley

    yum. i baked this yesterday night and am having a piece for breakfast right now. this is perfect for the season! Moist, just sweet enough and fragrant, with a nice little kick from the allspice. I especially love how you seem to be able to detect the honey flavor =)

    i used buckwheat honey, 1.5C brown sugar, 3t cinnamon instead of 4, ommitted the clove, and had 2t baking powder + 1t baking soda. It took about 55mn in a bundt pan but i will reduce the time by 5mn next time (there definitely will be a next time!)

    thanks for another great recipe Deb

    * 296/309 – i sprinkled the slivered almonds at the bottom of my bundt pan. they didn’t stick and the cake came out beautifully, while the almonds were half covered by the batter and not too visible. they were still well browned and add a bit of crunch

  230. Genia

    Why is it such an issue that a cake should fall? Does it affect the flavour or the texture? My cakes have fallen before and they were perfectly fine.

  231. Belle Rita

    I wouldn’t substitute butter in this recipe or in any that calls for vegetable oil. There would be a different texture. I think the reason that honey cake never calls for butter, is that it is parve so can be eaten with any meal. Someone way back made a comment about the one cup of vegetable oil. That isn’t going to do anything to her arteries as she thought as vegetable oil is either mono or poly unsaturated. I don’t detect the flavor of coffee in honeycake, so the person who doesn’t like coffee or tea should use one or the other. Although, if they don’t have either in the house perhaps apple juice would be a good substitute. I wouldn’t use orange as that’s an acid. Sounds like a good recipe.

    As far as the mouse in the house, I live near some woods and get them EVERY year. I’ve had lots of spaces plugged up, so hopefully won’t be inundated again. As much as I hate having them, I can’t be too sensitive when it comes to getting rid of them as I live alone. I once had a DOG who was a good mouser. I’m trying not to use poison as they try to get outside to water and then when they die they could be eaten by other critters who then get poisoned…..

    One day a friend was here; she is an ER nurse. Her dog caught a mouse in my greenhouse and dropped it near her feet. You should have heard her. She did everything except jump up on a chair. And she’s been working with blood and guts for 30 years! I still tease her about it.

  232. Alice Olson

    I’m making my first ever Jewish Holiday meal — a friend is coming to stay for 10 days and I think a Hanukkah dinner would be a perfect way to welcome her. (Sounds like honey cake is for the New Year, but heck, that wasn’t so long ago, and we can always use some good luck, I’m thinking. Besides, I don’t have Star of David or Menorah cookie cutters, so the cookies won’t work for me.

    I have one question that may sound stupid, but I’m wondering if I’m missing something. Your picture of the sunken cakes has them looking dry; the cut pieces look glazed and moist. Can you tell me what happened between those two photos? Thanks.

    1. deb

      It’s been a while, but I’m now thinking that I took the slice photos the next day, perhaps with leftover cake. It’s an incredibly moist cake, so sitting overnight likely redampened the top, which was only dry from heat exposure.

  233. laroja

    I am Puerto Rican and my Jewish boyfriend swears by his grandma’s Honey Cake!
    I will surprise him this weekend for his birthday – this seems to be the best recipe on the net.

    Thank you

  234. Susan Williams

    I am the non-Jew/Gentile/shiska/whatever in charge of making the traditional honey cake each Rosh Hashanah for our friends’ dinner. EVERY year I must give someone this recipe, and I have tried several but this IS THE ONE to stick with. I am baking one right now “off season” for a care taker of our local wolf-dog sanctuary. He’s not Jewish, but he’s going to love this cake. It is perfect for Winter-the cinnamon, all spice and honey baking is like pot pouri and just amazing.

  235. Belle Rita

    Just made it in a tube pan. There was the tiniest sink in the middle and I didn’t open the oven while it was baking. I baked it at 350 for 65 minutes and it is perfect. Very delicious. A keeper. I didn’t change the recipe at all and I don’t think it is too spicy in any way. I used the coffee and I don’t taste it at all and I like coffee. Honey cake is traditional around the new year due to the use of honey. It isn’t a cake that can’t be enjoyed at any time of year. It used to be traditional at the meal after a bar or bat mitzvah when the receptions were MUCH simpler.

  236. Belle Rita

    PS: I don’t like booze, but keep some in the house for recipes, and I can’t taste it at all in this cake. I think the combination of ingredients is perfect.

  237. Kari

    I’m not Jewish but have an elderly Jewish man who is a dear friend. His wife has Alzheimers and is in a nursing home. He was longing for a Honey Cake, so I thought I’d bake one for him. I am an accomplished baker but have never baked this. So-o-o-o-om glad I found this recipe, as it sounds just right.

  238. Anna

    i’m not jewish but i’m always looking for new receipes & this sounds wonderful. I will try it with apple juice, not whiskey, & use nutmeg instead of allspice… & i might get a little bold & throw in some cranberries (since i HATE raisins)

  239. I decided to try this for Chinese New Year. I did as suggested in the comments and used 2tsp of baking powder. I thought I had 2 Pyrex loaf pans, but one seemed to go missing, so I used the metal loaf pan I found. Here is the thing – the one in the Pyrex pan collapsed but the one in the metal pan did not. Wonder if anyone else had this experience? Nevertheless the cake was delicious. I just ate TWO pieces.

  240. Kristie

    I made this and although it tasted very good, it is kind of crumbly. It also does not look as moist as yours. Yours looks like it is oozing out with honey! Any ideas?

  241. Heather

    Hi, I’m baking this cake as I “speak.” It looks as if the cakes in the photo are too wet, it usually causes the sunken middle as the rising agents can’t raise the heavy wet center. I think this recipe should call for 4 cups of flour instead of the 3.5 cups.

    Great, delicious recipe otherwise! Keep ’em coming!

  242. Sallie

    Great to see this recipe so well illustrated. But you should be concerned about using someone else’s recipe and saying that you adapted it, when you copied it outright. “Adapted from” means that you have made some change(s) to the original. In this case, you have simply copied Ms. Goldman’s recipe here. I hope you got her permission or you may have violated copyright. If nothing else, you certainly give the impression that this is a variation, when it isn’t (I have the cookbook). I think sharing recipes online is great, but please give the proper credit to the person who created it.

  243. pjs176

    I made the recipe as written and baked in a 9 x13″ glass pan. It took 70 minutes before it was done. It filled the pan right to the top and was just a touch lower in the center. Moist but not too heavy. I used brandy instead of whiskey and Earl gray tea. Also subbed a mixture of white wheat and oat flour for half of the AP. I would try reducing oil next time and replacing with apple sauce. Delicious! Thanks.

  244. Kim

    Fantastic!!! I just got some fresh honey from the beekeeper down the road and was fantasizing about honey cake. Looking forward to making this cake. :)
    I might try swapping out some of the white sugar for more honey….currently debating ways to balance the moisture content.

  245. Connie

    Just want to say how I am in love with your website! Made this honey cake for my mom’s birthday and served it with some honey cream cheese frosting and black coffee. Delicious!~

  246. Jillicious

    I don’t know if they still make it, but when I lived in NYC, Arte Cafe ’round the corner on Columbus made a wonderful raspberry honey cake you could buy by the slice. It oozed sweetness.

  247. Barbara

    Wow! I just had add to the already abundant praise for this cake. I am hosting our book club this evening and we try to loosely base our food around the book. This month we read a historical fiction/murder myster called “The Mistress of the Art of Death”. Great read, btw. In it, they mention several times how they didn’t use sugar, but honey to sweeten their baked goods, so I knew I wanted a honey cake. This is perfect. I had read nearly all the comments and had noted that you said it tasted better overnight. Since I wasn’t about to start cooking at 11:30 last night, I got up at 6 and by 6:30am, the cake plus 4 minis were happily scenting my house. Since book club isn’t till 8pm, I think that will count as “overnight”! Of course I couldn’t wait till 8pm to taste it and so I tasted one of the minis (which I actually baked off in my toaster oven, ’cause there wasn’t enough room on the baking sheets with the bundt & other minis), and holy cow! Best breakfast ever…mini honey cake and fresh berries with sour cream!! Soooo good, so moist and flavorful, I cannot wait to serve it tonight. I used the 1tsp ea. of bp and bs with perfect results. The only other changes I made was using 1/2 c applesauce & 1/2 cup oil, and only 1 cup of white sugar: I actually ran out! I forgot the almonds, but hey, it Was 6am! I think I will make these in muffin tins the next time, so I always have one in the freezer to grab! Thank you for a great site and for sharing a great recipe.

  248. re

    like another commenter, i made one loaf and 18 cupcakes. i kept the temp the same, and baked the cupcakes for about 15-17 minutes, checking them often after the 12-minute mark. they were delicious – i used cream cheese frosting (butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar), which was per.fect. if i do say so myself. :-)

  249. Deborah Mintcheff

    Simply had to weigh in on this. My grandmother used to make an amazing honey cake that was super moist and had lots of honey flavor. Unfortunately we did not write down the recipe. My mom, who is now 90, has been trying every cake in the book to try to duplicate her mother’s cake. This one comes very, very close.

    Weighing in on the whole leavening issue, yes, there is too much leavener and that is why the cake sinks in the middle. I went with 1 1/2 teaspoons baking power and 1 teaspoon soda. I am pretty sure that even using 1 teaspoon of baking powder will work fine. I used a 9 x 13 inch baking pan and the cake had a perfectly level top in just about 45 minutes of baking time.

  250. I know you posted this recipe nearly three years ago, but I’m hoping you’ll remember if you used dark or light brown sugar. My guess would be light brown, but it can make a big difference in the taste. As for the honey – My memory of my grandmother’s honey cake and taiglach tells me that the honey was very dark – the kind you find in the Jewish/Kosher section of your market – particularly around Passover. And speaking of taiglach – – -what I wouldn’t give for a tasty recipe that didn’t break your (my) teeth! Also looking for a Philadelphia/Atlantic City-style cinnamon bun (with raisins) recipe. Thanks!

    1. deb

      I don’t remember which I used, but if you’re nervous about the taste of dark being too strong (I’ve never noticed this), use light brown. When a recipe doesn’t specify, I use them interchangeably.

  251. Julie C

    Delicious! The inside was moist and delicious, but the outside has this amazing crispness. Oh, so good. I baked in a bundt pan, which slices beautifully for this cake. To weigh in on the leavening, I used 1 Tblsp powder & 1 tsp soda, it took about 70 minutes, and I had no sinking at all. I did come very close to overfilling, however. This was the test for RH, and i think when I make it then I might scale back the spices a bit so that the honey gets a little more space to shine. YUM!

  252. Sophie

    Hi Deb,
    Thanks for the wonderful blog, Very entertaining and informative.
    I made the cake and everyone in the meshpuche raved about it. I made it in a tube pan and it did not fall ( actually rose to a very impressive height). However, it still seemed a tad dry to me- in the pictures you posted, it looks so sticky and gooey. I’m not an expert baker and changed the recipe slightly- replaced 1.5 cups of the all purpose flour with whole wheat. Was that the culprit? Or did the fact that it rose so much cause some of the density and moisture to dissipate? Should i add more honey?It’s still an amazing honey cake, I’m just wondering how i can achieve results that are as good as yours by Rosh.
    Thanks!
    Sophie

    1. deb

      It was very likely the whole wheat flour that made it taste more coarse or dry. When I play around with ww flour in a recipe for the first time, I prefer to start with a 1/3 swap so it doesn’t overwhelm the baked good. After that round if you feel it can handle more, you can always try it that way the next time.

  253. Hi Deb,
    I’m a little late to the party, but wanted you to know that the same exact thing happened to me when I tried to bake Claudia Roden’s honey cake (from The Book of Jewish Food). It tasted as good as honey cake can taste (I have to admit I’m not much of a fan of honey cake–or of honey in general for that matter), but it cratered down the middle. Not once, but twice! After the second time, I tried a different sized loaf pan, but the results were exactly the same: 0 for 3. I don’t get it. I bake all the time, and this has never happened before. I can’t even pass the matter off on a critter running across the floor, because lucky for me, there was no critter in the kitchen other than my dog. Oh well. Thanks for making me feel that I’m in good company!

  254. brooke

    thank you for this amazing recipe! i made it last year for the first time, and it was such a hit that it’ll be part of rosh hashanah every year!

  255. colette

    I also don’t like most honey cakes mostly when they are dry. I started incorporating apple sauce into my recipe and cakes come out so moist and delicious! I sweeten only with honey, the apple sauce adds sweetness without having a dominating apple taste, but even if you could tell the apple flavor, it is still in line with Rosh Hashanah isn’t it?

  256. donna

    Hi, haven’t had coffee yet–in me, not referring to cake, yet–so I may scrolled right past it while searching but was there a reply to making these as either honey cupcakes or mini loaves (without drying them out)? The regular loaves look and sound amazing–dimpled or not–but this particular holiday I need small-sized desserts….ftr, the loaves above look so tempting that, normally, I’d have considered what you have pictured as “single-serve!”lol (One bonus to making them as a multiple of minis is that you can try them, pre-holiday dinner.)

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, cannot wait to try making it!

  257. myriam

    OMG!!! I feel sooo much better after seeing your whole write-up on honey cake!! I have been baking honey cake for the past 4 days and have grown increasingly frustrated. They’ve been sinking, only a lot worse than yours! But, like you said, they do taste super yummy. Unfortunately, I wanted to give them as gifts, but how can you with such a less-than-stellar appearance!! I do have to say that I never had that problem before….Have you found a solution to the sinking? Would love to know!!!

  258. Sophie

    What other alcohol could I use? Rye, whiskey, brandy are clearly all tried and true. I have Marsala wine (not strong enough?), Cointreau (too orangey), schnapps (too sweet), and vodka (good for the cook, not for the cake). Could Cointreau work? Or too risky? I’m sure I can find some whiskey somewhere, but I was hoping to get by I what I have at home. Suggestions?

  259. I just took this out of the oven. Since everyone thinks it’s better after a day, I made it early for our erev RH dinner tomorrow. It looks amazing and the house smells even more so.

    I baked it in a tube pan and used 1/2tsp baking soda and two tsp cinnamon (Vietnamese), but kept everything else the same (though I didn’t have any whisky on hand). It was done in 60 minutes. It did not fall. It looks as moist and majestic as a cake possibly could. L’shanah tovah!

  260. Vale

    I just put my cake in the oven, and I cannot wait to take it out and taste it! (But I’ll have to wait until dinner tomorrow). Thanks so much for this post! I’ll let you know how my family in Chile likes it! hah. Shanah tovah!!

  261. Jo

    Just took mine out of the oven -I bought new baking soda and powder because I was afraid it would fall – WHICH IT DID! I made it in a Bundt pan so when I remove it from the pan no one will be the wiser. I’m good to go! I spilled a little in the baking sheet I used beneath it and it taste unbelievable. Really, really good.

  262. Ariel

    I made this today- just fabulous! I am gluten free, so I subbed 4 cups of oat flour instead of regular flour and added one tablespoon of xanthem gum. Just lovely- it is always a challenge to tweak a recipe so that it does not taste gluten free– all of the lovely flavors in this work perfectly! I also added grated orange peel and squeezed fresh oranges into it.

  263. caje26t

    Measured incorrectly, what can i bake with 3 cups of flour and 3 teasppoons of bakinng SODA?
    Cake is in the oven. No alcohol. Used oj instead. Used one cup of white sugar only and one cup of honey. Omitted allspice because i did not have any. Used coffee, not tea. Will let you know how it turns out and feedback from guests.u Thank you for the great recipe.

  264. caje26t

    Cake did not fal! :-)
    Forgot to mention. I did add orange zest, and used a springfoam to bake. I think it is a 9 – 10″ because it is a big cake. It looksand smells yummy!! WISH I COULD UPLOAD A PICTURE. Pumpkin cheesescake next….and may be the doug for an apple pie.

  265. Marvin

    If you’re going to make something as unhealthful as this honey cake, albeit though it be delicious, why try to fiddle with it by using whole wheat flour? The oil, sugar, and honey alone make it a no-no for anyone watching their weight or their health. I am baking it as I write to bring to someone else’s dinner, but I won’t be eating more than a slice myself, no matter how tempting. I am adhering strictly to the recipe because I trust Deb’s judgement. I’ll decide that it’s done when my instant read thermometer reads 205 degrees.

  266. hanner

    Wow! I made 1/2 of this recipe and fiddled a bit with grated apples to replace the alcoholic stuff. I reduced the sugar a little because of the apples, also. Made a set of 6 mini-loaves (about 1/2 or 2/3 cup batter each, maybe less) with a little left over. It is super moist! Don’t know if it will last for overnight ripening, but it smells fantastic. I baked mine at 350 for about 36 minutes on an upper rack. Pretty sure the apple moisture increased the baking time, so I could have left it in for a few more minutes to get more crusty. Next time I might cut and grease parchment paper for the bottom of the loaves.
    Thanks so much for this & I can’t wait to share it tonight with friends!

    BTW, Marvin, with the juicy apples, the nuttiness of whole wheat would be really complementary. I might try soaking a little ww pastry flour in the grated apple slush next time, actually!

  267. GoldnI

    I commented on this post in 2009, and I just finished making the honey cakes again this year! I did it in three loaf pans, and mine didn’t fall–they were done perfectly after 50 minutes. I had used plain whiskey in the past, but this time, I used the new Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey to add some extra honey flavor, and it really enhanced the vanilla and the spices! They came out perfect, moist, and fluffy!

    I love love love this recipe!

  268. Vale

    I tried the cake and it is amaziiiing!! Im having trouble trying to stop at 1 slice… Plus, it didnt fall in the middle! I was so excited to see that because I was prepared for it to fall hah.. I followed the suggestion of using less baking powder and soda, so I guess that must have been it! Thank you again!!

  269. Jade77

    I tried this recipe for the first time yesterday. It’s funny because my friend was raving about a delicious honey cake she found on the internet but she didn’t give it to me. I stumbled across this one and read everyone’s comments and it looked and sounded so great that I told my friend about it and she said this is the recipe she uses! so last night i used a not-greased-enough bundt pan and it fell apart. So I decided to make it again today for tonight. I tasted the cake from last night and loved the texture and flavor but it was a little too sweet for my taste so for my second try I decided to reduce the white sugar only from 1 1/2 cups to a little under 1 cup. It turned out moist, tasty and just sweet enough. I actually found that reducing the amount of white sugar made the honey flavor even more noticeable. Next time i will try some whiskey and orange zest but overall it was a pretty popular cake. Thanks for posting!

  270. Lise

    Shana Tova :) thanks so much for the great recipe have made it twice now (once for work and once for Rosh Hashana). Used 2 tablespoons of Baking powder and had no problems with sinkage. All declared it to be delicious.

  271. Jana

    I made this cake for the holiday today and it was a HUGE success. Used 2.5 cups white whole wheat flour instead of all white. Used honey whiskey by jack Daniels and decaf coffee. I baked mine much longer than yours and had no sinking issues. After removal from pan, drizzle/brush more honey on top and then seal using plastic wrap AND foil. Most important part for moist cake: let sit wrapped and undisturbed for 3-5 days. Honey will permeate and make it even better! Thanks for the great recipe!

  272. I just made this for Rosh Hashanah, baked in two 8″ square pans (yes, i realize that i should have made them round). Except for a little sticking at the bottom of the pan, easily solved next time by using parchment paper, they came out beautiful. Perfect. Delicious. This one is going in the book so i do not have to look next year. Or the year after that. Thanks.

  273. Mak

    Made this for holiday dinner last night, and it was a great success, and tastes even better today. I halved the recipe, and didn’t care if it was parve so subbed butter for oil (roughly a stick and a quarter), subbed cachaça for the whiskey, omitted the allspice and OJ (didn’t have any handy), and added a double espresso and an extra squirt of honey. Cooked it in a loaf pan, and it did fall, and was somewhat fragile. I probably took it out 5 minutes too early, and glad I did, as the center is still ultra moist. By far the best homemade honey cake I have tasted based upon both flavor and texture — but how can I reproduce the exquisite honey tops from the Green’s and Schick’s honey cakes which are sold in New York (and which are both really excellent products)? Lest it go unsaid, this is a magnificent site which has provided many great recipes and ideas — many thanks!

  274. Marci

    After years of enduring dry honey cake, I found this recipe and it is the answer to a prayer. I made it for my fellow choir members and everyone asked for a copy. I didn’t need to spoon it (noticed in an earlier post) and made it three days ahead. The extra days enhances the flavor, a bonus for those of us who need to cook ahead. I also didn’t need the parchment because my tube pan is in two parts. I did grease it well, however. I am still enjoying the remaining portion of the cake and intend to make it a yearly tradition. I just discovered this site and it has been added to my favorites.

  275. Samara

    I have made this cake several times, always to great acclaim. I cooked today with the adjusted measurements in a 9×13 cake pan, and it is domed and delightful. I didn’t think this cake could be better, but I was wrong. Thanks!

  276. Valerie

    We tried your recipe for Rosh Hashanah and in all my 59 years and many, many honey cakes, this is by far the best honey cake I have ever had. It was moist and absolutely delicious–a huge hit! Thank you for sharing!

  277. Jean

    I made this cake tonight, it was a huge hit. I used 1 tsp baking powder as suggested and poured into 2 9-in springform pans (well greased without parchment). Also substituted cognac for whiskey. Baked for 65 minutes (45 minutes wasn’t enough, then added 10 minutes twice) – perfect! Moist on the inside and crisp around the edges. Thanks!

  278. CMM

    Made this to take to a celebration this weekend and tried it out with the 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Unfortunately, I can report that it does not work with loaf pans.

  279. ZM

    This was delicious! Unfortunately, I used my largest pan but it wasn’t big enough, so it overflowed. No matter, I thoroughly enjoyed snacking on the drippings… Next time, I’ll put part of it into a loaf pan in addition to my largest pan. 5 stars in my book!

  280. Andi

    I used the new leavening measurements (1 teaspoon each soda and powder) in a 9 inch round and it worked perfectly. Best honey cake I’ve ever made by a mile!

  281. Jenny

    In case it’s useful for anyone in the UK, I’ve converted the cake to metric. I’ll just list the ingredients that needed converting. Although these are probably a little rough, it worked perfectly for me in a 23cm bundt pan – rose beautifully and didn’t sink at all after cooking: 420g s-r flour / 225ml vegetable oil / 300g honey / 85g brown sugar / 120ml coffee / 60ml orange juice / 40ml booze.
    I used a strong honey and some cardamom instead of clove, so reduced the sugar content to just 100g of dark brown soft sugar which made the cake barely sweet, but in a good way! Trust me. Oh, I also used the updated 1 tsp of baking powder.

  282. Made this today for the first time using cup measurements instead of converting to grammes and then doing it – which often leads to unbalanced components as obviously packed cups are different than non-packed, etc. Anyway, a complete triumph, and no sinking. Lovely crust, and while warm, a distinct whisky taste although I’m hoping that will fade a little once they are cool. They are all being gifted tomorrow.

    @donna, I would feel confident doing these as mini loaves or cup cakes, key for me was to turn the oven down a bit even for the standard loaf tins so that they cooked before the top caught – so do that and I think you’d be fine.

  283. danamayi

    I couldn’t believe i was out of baking soda. Being lazy and in the midst of baking the honey cake i didn’t want to go to the store to buy some, so i made due with my baking powder. And guess what, it came out perfect! No sinking! Maybe its the baking soda that causes the sinking? If you find your out of baking soda too try 1.5 teaspoons of baking powder!! And thanks for the recipe…. so delicious, its gonna be a sweet new year!

  284. anstasia

    I made this for Rosh Hashanah this week and it was AMAZING!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe, it was gooey, yummy and delicious. not a crumb left!

  285. SamCH

    I made this recipe and it was a success! I only used 1 teaspoon baking powder and it turned out perfectly. I don’t know how you did it without butter or shortening but the texture and taste was way better than any store bought cake. Thanks for the great recipe!

  286. Eliz

    Made in a Bundtform pan with new conversions and it came out amazing (huge but, amazing). Just made it in two 6-cup Bundt pans and it looks moist and round, I cannot wait to try!

  287. I made this for break the fast this weekend, using the reduced amount of baking powder in a bundt pan, and it came out perfectly. I also reduced the white sugar by 1/2 cup (on a friend’s recommendation that his was too sweet) and subbed pomegranate juice for orange, since I didn’t have any orange juice. Who has pomegranate juice and not orange just lying around on a Saturday morning? Me, I suppose.

  288. Robin

    Oddly, this Robin also had pomegranate juice but not orange juice lying around when she decided to tackle this honey cake … but I took myself to the corner market and picked some up. Take that, my SmittenKitchen-readin’, pomegranatejuice-drinkin’, honeycake-lovin’ Bizarro Robin!

    Additionally, I am happy to report that the reduced amount of baking powder worked beautifully for both my cake pan and my loaf pan. My only complaint is that I wish I had a bundt pan, so that my honey cake could have a magnificent shape worthy of its magnificent taste. Currently accepting donations!

  289. Natalia

    Hi! i just made this cake and it was a total success!
    I used 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon baking powder
    No orange juice and no whiskey
    I had great results and it is delicious! Thank You!

  290. Tim

    Thought I’d report on how my experience with this amazing cake. I was looking to emphasize the honey flavor, so I did a few things. I substituted 8 oz browned butter for the oil (started with 9.5 oz of solid butter, and the water lost in browning resulted in ~ 8 oz), halved the cinnamon, used coffee, used 100% whole wheat flour (it was the “white whole wheat” kind by King Arthur), and stuck with the original leavening — 1 teaspoon soda plus 1 Tablespoon baking powder. I made a loaf cake and cupcakes. The cupcakes were gorgeous–didn’t sink at all. The loaf cake sunk a little–next time I would use only 2 tsp of baking powder (I’m at sea level, so I don’t need to worry about elevation).

    Now onto the taste: this cake is definitely what I wanted! For those thinking about the butter b/c you don’t have an restrictions, go for it, please. On the spices–the cloves and allspice, I think, bring out the flavor of the honey but are subtle enough so you might not even guess they’re there. I considered leaving out the spices, but am very happy I didn’t. Next time, I’m thinking about adding half an orange worth of orange zest. Just enough to give it that flora “je ne sais quoi” overtone that the spices already provide.

    This recipe reminds me of your nutmeg maple tart, Deb (admittedly, I haven’t made it but heard it was awesome from someone who asked me for a killer-but-non-traditional thanksgiving recipe once). It screams fall and holidays, but most people (non-Jewish, that is) have probably never heard of honey cake. I’m bringing this to a housewarming party next week.

  291. this cake is a luscious indudelgence! i used 1 cup of sugar rather than the 1 1/2 cup to reduce the sweetness that the honey would bring through naturally. i was also able to find jack daniels honey whiskey! so i substituted the regular whiskey with that. delicious recipe, thank you for sharing :)

  292. Mrs D

    Made this beauty last night. Thanks again for another winner, Miss Deb!

    My alterations:
    1. Halved the total recipe and baked in a greased and lined 9 inch round cake tin for 40 minutes
    2. Used half APF, half spelt flour
    3. Used the reduced amount of baking powder in Deb’s updated note and achieved a perfect rise
    4. Reduced the oil by half
    5. Only used a quarter of the sugar required and only dark brown (no granulated). I used a raw, unfiltered honey which was very strong and sweet and the sweetness of the cake came out perfect.
    6. Used tea, subbed pomegranate juice for OJ and Canadian Club
    7. No almonds

    FREAKING. DELICIOUS. Have to stop myself from inhaling the entire cake in a single sitting. Merci beaucoup!

  293. Paula

    Deb, I just discovered your wonderful blog. I have been searching for a good honey cake recipe for YEARS (like you, I have ever had a really good one before, but KNEW there must be one somewhere)! I have not made yours yet, but after reading the 3 years’-worth of raves and good comments (it only took me 2 hours), I believe I have found THE ONE. The one that tastes just how I have always imagined a honey cake should taste. Honey cake par excellence. Honey cake qua honey cake. THANK YOU!! I serve honey cake (or other honey-based dessert because the cake recipes I have found were ok but not THE BEST) for St. Lucy’s Day (Dec. 13), and THIS will be the recipe I use from now on!

  294. Lia

    This is probably one of the best things I’ve ever baked. Whenever I am looking around for something to whip up this is ALWAYS what my boyfriend asks me for. I used one tablespoon baking powder and it DIDN’T sink– am about to make this now and feel a bit conflicted on whether I should use a tablespoon or teaspoon. I might add a touch more whiskey and honey this time, for a more pronounced alcohol flavor and moistness–however, this cake gets much much better after being wrapped up a couple days in the fridge. So good. I will be making these until the day I die.

  295. Kath

    Just chiming in to say that the reduced baking soda worked well with a ten inch Bundt pan. I also added orange zest and grated apple – it was marvelous.

  296. I made your cake several times, we really love this cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe and for your wonderful blog.

    I usually add walnuts and raisins and I wait to open the cake 48 ours. It is at its best then, I think.

  297. Staci

    Love! I love honey cake and this is my favorite! Made it this year for Roshashana and tonight for a Bake Sale fundraiser! 3 small loaf pans is perfect for this batter. Used the 1 Tbsp of bp (because I skipped ahead to the recipe and didn’t read the update the first time) and they didn’t sink! I agree with lia and eliabel too, it’s better on day 2 or 3. Thanks!

  298. Karen

    I just made what is supposed to be Julia Child’s recipe for Pain d’Epices, a similar cake to this one. It has a giant crater in the middle. I wish I’d read your update sooner, because I also concluded that mine had too much leavener, because nothing else was strange or unusual about the recipe other than the 1 TABLESPOON of baking soda (no baking powder) to 3-1/2 cups of flour. I wondered about the amount, but the first time I make a recipe I try to follow it. It rose like crazy shortly after I put it in the oven, spilling out of the pan and all over the oven floor before collapsing in on itself. The recipe mentions that it will “rise beautifully”, but not that a subsequent fall would be equally spectacular. I should have gone with my gut and put 1/3 the amount of baking soda. This baking experience has been a PAIN d’epices indeed!

  299. Anjali

    Thanks for the recipe. I tried it with the lesser amount of baking powder and the cake perfect. It rose just enough and did not collapse. I tried a little variation in the ingredients: No whiskey but a cup of red wine, added some orange zest and orange essence and added tsf of ground nutmeg and ginger. Tastes great!!

  300. Kat

    What kind of tea would you recommend? I have orange tea, mint tea, black tea, orange pekoe, green tea, oolong tea.

    Also, would it be okay to mix the honey into the tea before adding it?

    1. deb

      I would use any tea that you like. I think I usually use coffee so this hasn’t come up. You can mix them together but they’re all going into the well of dry ingredients just the same so you can save that step.

  301. carol

    When I was a young girl, mom bought honey cake at the A&P grocery store, it was my favorite cake, and have never found anything close to the grocery store cake, it was very dark and dense, I can remember the cloves….im 54 yrs old and would love to have that cake again, I’m going to give this a try and see if its close.. thanks Carol

  302. Marge

    Great recipe!My cake looked fantastic and smelled devine! I put some raisins in but I have to say that the sugar seems to be way too much…So I only put one cup honey and less than one cup of sugar and it is still sweet!! Thank you very much for sharing!

  303. Leah

    I’m psyched to see a whole web-page dedicated to the decadence that is honey cake. My grandmother had made honey cake (or as we call it in Yiddish, “Lekach”) for many many years and was always really delicious and one of my favorite traditional desserts growing up. Her Lekach always came out tasty, spongy, and oh so sticky on top. Mmm! And there was always just the right amount of burnt edges…
    I don’t recall her ever using quite so many ingredients as the ones listed here, but since I don’t know what her recipe is (and doubt I will ever figure it out since her memory has sadly grown fuzzy), I’m excited to try this version. The only difference is that I will be adding chopped walnuts, something my grandmother always used.
    I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks!

  304. Tara

    I just made these in cupcake form… delicious! It made 24 cupcakes, plus enough left over for one round cake. I baked the cupcakes for 30 minutes. They’re supposed to be for a Roman feast tonight, for kids who are studying Roman history, and I’m hoping they don’t get snatched up before dessert. :)

  305. Ivy

    I need to make a honey cake for Passover – my aunt had the BEST recipe and we cannot find it. I really want to try your recipe. Do you think I can substitute matzah cake meal for flour???

  306. Querqy

    Today was the 2nd time that I’ve made this cake. The 1 tsp change is accurate for loaf pans and I added a bit of orange zest to the sugar. Its pretty divine. Great recipe, Deb.

  307. Adrienne

    I love this cake! I also had trouble resisting eating the dough while I was putting it in the pan. I used a 9″x13″ sheet pan with the full amount of baking powder (because I didn’t stop and read the note before dumping it all in) and they cake came out perfect!

  308. Marla

    Hello. I have to make cupcakes and a beehive shaped cake for a parent-to-bee baby shower in July. I am wondering if I can use this recipe for the flavour of cake…..since it’s a bee-themed baby shower…how perfect would honey flavoured cake bee? ;) Anyway, my question is, how long to bake these little darlings in cupcake form and also, do you think it’s possible to put this type of cake in a beehive mould and it stay properly? Thank you, in advance, for your reply!

  309. deb

    Hi Marla — I haven’t made them as cupcakes but if you scroll through the comments (#210, 336, 387, 403, plus more), many have and suggest cooking times and yield. Good luck!

  310. Ros

    Just made the cake with olive oil instead of vegetable oil, all whole wheat SR flour with no extra baking powder or soda (in Australia we use SR for most baking) and it worked beautifully. Was prompted to bake honey cake as we had heaps of partly finished honey containers which had somehow accumulated in the pantry…very happy to tidy up and make a lovely cake at the same time!

  311. Anna

    This cake has been in the oven for 90 minutes and it’s still completely raw in the middle. I am really disappointed because I’ve wasted so much food. Have you any idea what went wrong? Was your batter liquid?

  312. Selma

    I have been making this fabulous cake for at least 3 Rosh Hashanah festivals. Some do not like quite the amount of cinnamon so I have cut that back. So far amazingly, my cakes have not fallen at all. I do bake them about 10 minutes more for loaf cakes than in the recipe.

  313. naomi

    Just whipped one of these bad boys out of the oven.. absolutely delicious. One of the most moist cakes I’ve made. however, i made it for a lunch party tomorrow and have now eaten a hole in the top which needs to be filled in really, can anyone recommend an icing? perhaps cream cheese?

  314. Evelyn

    Hi…decided to make my first honey cake this year…and start my own tradition!. After a lot of searching, I picked yours…the pics look great!! And seems simple enough for an amateur like myself. Because I am a rookie I NEED HELP….I live in Denver, CO (5280 feet above sea level), how do I adjust this recipe for altitude?
    Thanks!!

  315. Made this last night and it’s delicious, although it looks quite different – mine’s a uniform reddish-brown colour instead of the lighter and more flecked appearance that your photos show.

  316. Katrina

    I made this cake last year for Rosh Hashana, in an attempt to impress my (then) boyfriend’s (now fiance’s) Jewish family. It turned out absolutely BEAUTIFULLY and I have just had a request from this year’s host family to bake it again! I also drizzled honey over the top as it was cooling and let it sink in – it really added to the crispy cakey edges.

    I love to warm the cake up just before I serve it, but always take a gamble on how long for and at what temperature – can anyone more experienced than me recommend a good time/temp for warming? Thanks! :)

    1. deb

      Hi Katrina — I always warm things on a very low temperature — 200 degrees, sometimes 175. I’d keep it wrapped in foil for all but the last 5 minutes.

  317. Hildi

    Hi Deb,
    Do you think I can make ahead and freeze this. Also, how many days in advance would you recommend making it if I don’t freeze?
    Thanks:)!

  318. Hildi

    One more thing, if I want to replace the rye or whiskey, what liquid should I use instead? Also, do you think I can add yellow raisins?
    Thanks!

  319. Shoshana

    Once every few years I think “I really should try to make a honey cake for Rosh Hashana,” even though I’ve only once tasted one that I liked and therefore always chicken out of trying to make one at the last minute. This recipe looks great! However, I’m unwilling to gamble away a whole cup of honey and would like to try cutting this in half. Should I put in 1 egg or 2 (eggs where I am all look about the same size). This is one of those “dumb” cooking questions I’ve never dared to ask, but I’d really like to get this right. (I won’t care if it falls, though — gives it that “homemade” look!)

    1. deb

      There are no dumb questions; you should always ask. Btw, I totally use inexpensive honey for this, like from Trader Joes. Nevertheless, you can 1/3 the cake, making a single loaf, and the eggs will divide neatly. If you want to halve it, I’d go with 1 egg plus 1 yolk for the 1.5 eggs. Happy baking!

  320. Roberta

    I have been making this cake for several years and I too have had the “sinking” problem. I, also, decreased the leavening AND the sugar (I found it to be a little too sweet for my taste). I may try to take out the sugar completely this year…. Anyhow, it was perfect. I love the whiskey and coffee flavors.

  321. Naomi

    Here’s an odd question. Holiday is Sunday night. I’m going away for the weekend, then straight to my parents house where I will be doing the baking, so I need to pack all the ingredients and efficiently as possible 2 days before I actually plan on baking. (My mother’s baking and spice cabinet is limited) I know I can measure and combine my dry ingredients in advance. But can I also do the sugars, liquids, oil, and egg (eek???) so that I’m only transporting 2 containers? Or is that an awful idea?

  322. charlotte

    I made this excellent cake two years ago, and had the “sinking” problem. No one cared except for the cook. Read the posts later and saw reference to reducing leavening. Read a lot on-line about this, which I’ve forgotten now. Would you please, oh please, address this again or suggest. This cake is so good. thanks.

  323. Hildi

    Hi Deb,
    I made 3 loaves today, using all coffee and no alcohol, orange zest, and yellow raisins. I sprayed my loaf pans very well (didn’t flour) and baked them on a double baking sheet (never did this before, but followed your recipe). The loaves came out looking beautiful, no sinking at all. However, when I went to take the loaves out of the pan, all of the raisins stuck to the bottom (I did mix them in with the flour), and the honey cake (although very good), had no raisins in it (and
    that’ s my family’s favorite extra), so what would you suggest. I want to try again tomorrow. Maybe flouring the pans after I spray, or line pans with parchment paper and then spray and flour? FYI, I always use these heavy loaf pans for zucchini and banana breads, and have never had a problem with sticking.
    Thanks for your help.
    PS I am going to try to come to your book signing in CT!

  324. Hildi

    Ok, new update..Having been so frustrated regarding the raisins sticking to the pan (see 434) that I decided to be persistent and try again (in lieu of sleep)! This time my results were fabulous!!!
    All three loaves came out great. I did the following variations: Used orange zest from 1 orange, squeezed 2 fresh oranges and added them to the store bought fresh orange juice, used espresso in place of the coffee, used a little less granulated sugar and allspice. I added 1 1/2 cups yellow raisins to the flour and mixed before I added the liquid stuff. I also added 1 peeled, grated apple to the batter.
    If you use raisins, it’s a MUST to line pan with parchment paper, spray first bottom and sides, then spray parchment once again, floured one of the pans and didn’t make much of a difference in the other two. All three came out beautifully.
    Also, I brushed the cakes with a very fine coat of honey while they were warm.

  325. CHEF MOSHE OF KOSHER CHEF PRODUCTIONS

    If you do not want your honey cake to fall substitute rye flour in whole or in part instead of AP flour. It is a much lighter flour and it should not fall!

  326. CHEF MOSHE OF KOSHER CHEF PRODUCTIONS

    Leave out the cloves! You can also leave out the nutmeg. Cloves do not belong in a honey cake! You can add a 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast to all of the liquid ingredients if you want it to rise more. Just wait 10 minutes for the bubbles to form in the bowl before adding the salt so that you do not accidentally kill the yeast.

  327. This cake just came out of the oven (mine only made 2 loaf pans? Go figure) and is delicious already. SO excited to share them with friends and SO excited for your book to come out. Seriously, every recipe I’ve made from your blog has come out exactly the way you said it would-and is delicious. I love it! Thanks for sharing this one-hope you have a wonderful and sweet and healthy new year!

  328. Jennie

    I made this the first time for Rosh Hashanah last year and I’m baking it again this year… I have someone with a nut allergy, so I use diced apple instead of almonds — which gives the added benefit of having apples and honey! It was a HUGE hit and I’ve made it at random times of the year as well.

  329. B.Liz

    Oh my – I’ve found a new favorite – YEAR ROUND ! I, too dread cloying sweet honey cake (and Taiglach)…but I am a big “spicy” fan, so I thought I would give this a try with a 1/2 recipe which nicely filled 4 mini loaf pans. I used (slightly watered down) espresso and substituted Sabra for whiskey. I only hope the finished product is as good as the batter I licked off the beaters…very smooth and rich and ironically a honey cake that does not really taste like honey !

  330. Noa

    Hildi – Whenever adding raisins or any fruit to cake batter always coat with flour (which you did the second time around) before adding to the wet batter to keep them from sinking. The flour coating helps them “glom on” to the batter and not sink straight down. Deb – I have been making this cake since you posted it…this year I had some extra batter from my tube (silicon) pan, so I chopped up some granny smith apples and threw them in with the leftover batter, for a apple and honey loaf. They are in the oven now. Will let you know how it goes (I imagine delicious).

  331. Anna

    Just an FYI everybody I used only 1 teaspon of baking powder in a 9×13 sheet pan and it came out perfect. No problems with the center sinking. I did however find that in my electric oven it needed more than 45 minutes to get completely firm. I think I left it in an additional 10 minutes. I have to say it is an outrageously good honey cake (cloves, whisky and all)!! Thanks.

  332. Carol

    My adjustments: used 2 large loaf pans instead of 3, baked for 55 min, used original amount of baking powder (1 Tbsp) and cake came out perfectly, no sinking center.

  333. Zahava

    this is the most fantabulous honey cake recipe! i discovered it years ago and it’s the only one that i use. l’shana tova u’metuka!

  334. Shelly

    I made this yesterday and it is a FANTASTIC honey cake. Probably the best I’ve ever tasted and extremely moist. I followed the amended instructions and used 1 tsp. instead of 1 Tbsp. of baking powder, and had no problem with sinking. Left out the almonds since not everyone in my party likes them. I baked in two, 9-inch round cake pans (one at a time) and these came out beautiful. Mine were starting to brown a bit too much on top toward the end of baking time so I covered with foil and that worked fine. These definitely do get better with a day or two. We had some for breakfast this morning and they are even more moist than yesterday. This is a new favorite!

    Deb, may I suggest clarifying the baking instructions in regards to the two baking sheets? I was unclear whether you meant stacking one cookie sheet on top of the other, and then putting both round cake pans on that and baking together? Or putting each round cake pan on top of one cookie sheet, and baking on two separate racks in the oven (stacked)? I couldn’t fit both round pans on the two stacked cookie sheets, and I’ve never had luck baking things in my oven on two separate racks at the same time (something is always burning while something else is undercooked). So I stacked the two cookie sheets and baked each round cake on top of those alone. Worked fine but that meant the oven was busy for an hour and a half with baking cakes :)

  335. Bobbie

    Shana Tova Deb & Family
    5773’s Majestic & Moist is cooling on the counter. Of course I adapted it: Didn’t have whisky or brandy, but I did have Calvados (apple liquour) so I used that in the apples and honey spirit of the holiday. I added ginger, and used sunflower seeds instead of nuts. The cake rose beautifully, so I tasted a bit of what I had to trim so it’d sit on the plate right, YUM! Looks gorgeous and tastes great!

  336. I made this in a tube cake pan and it’s huge:) I have not tried it yet. Deb, what’s your take on baking with butter vs oil. I think I read someplace on your blog that you prefer to bake with butter. Is butter better for some things and oil better for other things? For example is this cake better with oil because of the type of cake that it is?

    1. deb

      Anna — There’s no one right fat. I like butter for flavor but oil can be wonderful in cakes — I feel it can make them even more moist at room temperature. But, it doesn’t taste like much, even olive oil.

  337. I have a question about the two baking sheets. Is this something that you always do when you bake or is that just for this cake? I did but not sure what it did. Doesn’t the interior of the cake bake the slowest and the bottom, sides and top faster? This is what I always see. But you say that to ensure that the bottom bakes faster then the top and interior to place on two baking sheets?

  338. Debby

    Made it this morning, took to dinner this evening, and it was a huge hit with everyone! My first successful honey cake. I think it must be the whiskey/coffee combination. Also I added about 3 peeled and grated apples.

  339. Lisa

    Thanks for this great recipe. We buy our honey cake for the new year every year but I really wanted to try and make it myself this time. The batter ended up in 2 loaf pans, not 3, so I was a little worried about overflow but there was no problem. I used regular flour and there was no sinking. It was a big hit at dinner tonight. I thought the whiskey flavor was a little strong but everyone else thought it was really well balanced. There was a wonderful depth of flavor that isn’t usually present. My dad really loved it and commented that it’s not too sweet as compared to store bought. I know some people lowered the sugar content but whether it was the black coffee or the liquor, something combated it and it was a perfect balance. Thanks for this new addition to our new year tradition.

  340. Beth

    Well, Deb, I can’t remember the last time I blew a recipe this badly. The batter was delicious – so was the bites of cake I ate, but oh how I did something wrong! I put it into loaf pans. Both the pyrex and metal loaf pans completely fell apart when I tried to get them out of the pan. May I recommend to everyone the use of parchment, or a springform pan. I did save a salvageable chunk to freeze for my dad to eat when he comes up for Thanksgiving.

  341. Cheni

    Made this today for Tosh hashana and I’m so glad I found this recipe, I was looking for a good Jewish honey cake recipe with that authentic holiday taste. I give this recipe 5 stars ????? the cake had flavor, it was moist and springy and it was super easy!
    I substituted orange juice with apple juice (apples and honey ! and I didn’t have OJ)
    And I did it in a bundt pan.

    Lovely.

  342. Ruth

    for the curious, substitutions/alterations I made that still worked well:
    – 1.5 c whole wheat flour (and 2 c all purpose)
    – half apple sauce, half veg oil
    – 1 c granulated sugar (compared to 1.5)
    – ~1.5 c diced apple, tossed in flour to coat
    – when making a half recipe, used 1 egg + 1 yolk

    for the record, I thought the diced apple really took it to the next level. still ridiculously moist, as advertised, but with all the fun of apple muffins to boot. clearly a taste-based thing. I love warm fruit in my baked goods (oatmeal rasin? lay it on me), but if you don’t, no need to add this extra step.

    I foisted this onto my goyish coworkers today, and it was well-received. happy new year, everybody!

  343. Mary

    I made this tonight (9×13 pan, used 1 tsp of baking powder), and drizzled it generously with honey just as it came out of the oven. It looked wonderful, no falling in the middle. The kids ate this like they had not eaten in weeks! Well, so did the husband and I. I was planning to freeze half for later, but I have a feeling it will not last long enough. Oh well, I’ll have to make it again, too bad! L’Shana Tova everyone.

  344. Erin

    Just finished my cakes! Since it’s just my husband, our son, and I, I halved the recipe. This recipe is VERY forgiving. I just eyeballed the ingredients and it still turned out wonderfully! Shalom and Happy Rosh Ha’Shana

  345. Scott

    Just baked the cake tonight, with the reduced amount of baking powder, in a bundt pan… and the shape is juuuuust right! Beautiful little curve on top, no sinking, just lovely. Used strong (no milk) chai tea for the tea and added a little crystallized ginger… can’t wait until it cools so I can cut into it. Breakfast tomorrow, anyone? Thanks for this lovely recipe!

  346. Ash

    Not only did my cakes sink, but they were also horribly underdone even though I cooked them for over an hour! Did the altitude finally get me? (I’m in Denver.) I’ve made this recipe before at sea level with no problem.

    P.S. This is not criticism of you, Deb! I love your blog, and I’ve already pre-ordered your cook book. :-) I’m just trying to figure out why cakes are a disaster!

  347. Eliina

    This was a hit at my in-laws’ Rosh Hashanah dinner! Can’t wait for the book tour. I’ll be sure to come by one of the Chicago stops.

  348. Sara

    I made this recipe using 1 tsp of baking powder and it rose beautifully! An absolutely delicious cake, which tastes even better the next day.

    Some other changes I made, due to what I had available, were:
    – nutmeg instead of cloves
    – 1/2 the amount of vodka instead of whiskey

  349. CHEF MOSHE OF KOSHER CHEF PRODUCTIONS

    Answer to #465: Next time, freeze it raw. When you will be ready to eat it you can defrost the batter and bake it. You will then have a freshly baked cake!

  350. Laura

    I tried this cake for Rosh Hashana earlier this week and it was a hit! I made the change to 1 t baking powder (as opposed to the original 1T) and it worked beautifully in my bundt pan. Rose just to the top of the pan in the oven without going over. I will reinforce the importance of a well greased pan. I buttered, flowered, and sprayed my pan, used a knife around the edges before inverting, and still found part of the cake in the pan. Luckily, the sides still looked pretty good. I decided to make an apple glaze (apples, apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little brown sugar) to hide the imperfect top. Worked beautifully and tasted great. The cake got rave reviews at my inlaws. I will make this for future celebrations.

  351. I split mine between an 8-inch round sandwich tin and a bigger springform one. The small cake came out delightful, but the big one is a bit less of a success — just starting to burn on the outside, and rather sticky inside. It still tastes really good, so I’m hoping it’s safe to eat, ha ha.

  352. HiC

    I just made this cake with gluten-free all purpose flour because it was what I had on hand, and it turned out delicious! I cut the recipe in half…well I just used 2 eggs because 1.5 eggs is hard…and I used 1 tsp baking powder, sort of a compromise between halving the original amount (1T) and the update (1t). It made one large and one small loaf. Also, for any Denver or other high altitude baking friends – I didn’t adjust this recipe at all for elevation, and no sinking occurred. A miracle, perhaps! I also added raisins and skipped the almonds.

    Thanks again for a great recipe, Deb!

  353. Alita

    I brought this to my temple for Rosh Hashanah this year (with the 1 tsp baking powder adjustment), and saw 3 people scraping the plate with their fingers and licking them! Such a big hit, I’ve had requests for more loaves.

  354. Jacqui

    This was the best honey cake ever, but I encountered a strange problem. Although I scattered the sliced almonds on the top before baking, they all migrated toward the center of the ring (used a tube pan). Everyone thought I had planned for this to happen, but I did not. Do you know why this happened? Thanks for adjusting the baking powder – all the difference in the world.

  355. This is by far and away hands down the best honey cake I’ve ever made. Because I was producing this for a community event i did leave out the whisky (although I do want to try it for home consumption with the liquor!) I substituted 1/2 the oil content with an equal amount of butter and upped the OJ content to compensate for some of the lost liquid content form the whisky.
    Great stuff (I even had someone tell me they wanted to marry me for the cake!)

  356. Sherry

    I was looking for a recipe for honey cake to make after I had tried one similar to yours that was in a newspaper. If you compare them, the two recipes were almost verbatim. I made the first one with the 1 T of baking powder (against my better judgement) and KaBOOM!! What a mess it made in my oven in a tube pan! Oh gosh, it overflowed everywhere and the smoke. It tasted fantastic but looked like c***! Ditched that recipe and found yours. So glad that I did because I knew that 1 T was a mistake and should have been tsp….it was delicious the second time and got great reviews! Thank you!

  357. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  358. Maureen

    I have to say, this is probably my favorite thing I’ve ever made from the site (and I’ve been cooking a lot of your stuff lately!). I’m making it for a second time right now, and the batter is so good I almost don’t want to bake it :)

  359. gillian

    I made this using the adjusted baking powder amount and substituted apple cider vinegar for the orange juice and whiskey, and made a cider vinegar glaze (just vinegar and conf. sugar) for on top. it was to die for. so moist and soft and light, tangy and delicious. i also multiplied this recipe x6 to make for a large group of people without a hitch. this recipe’s a keeper!

  360. Laura

    I made this using the baking powder modifications last night in a 9×13 pan and it rose beautifully without a hint of sinking. I replaced the allspice and cloves with a few shakes of nutmeg and replaced the rye/whiskey with extra coffee. My batter was really very thin though, not even remotely thick like the recipe describes. I was a bit worried and actually added some extra flour until I decided to just go with it and hope for the best. Since it’s already completely gone I would say that it was a hit. :)

  361. Marie Tulin

    Excellent recipe. I looked at several honeycake recipes side by side and the aroma of this one wafted up from the page.
    I’d like to suggest you put your correction in the body of the recipe.I found it confusing to read it in the preface then see the original “mistake” in the recipe itself. It wasn’t too much of a mistake because I put in the originally listed leavening and there was no sinkhole.
    Another reason to consider changing the original to the correct proportions is your bakers who aren’t “organized” readers. There’s nothing like a straightforward well organized recipe for the less than well organized brain. I’m a very good cook and baker, but I need to read and reread and reread a recipe as I proceed through it. So I really appreciate any recipe that helps me get it right. Thanks!
    I appreciate the conversational aspect of blogs, but sometimes information gets lost in paragraphs; less so in a list.

  362. subrosa

    The usual amount of baking powder added to flour for a cake is 1 tsp per cup of flour so 1 Tablespoon (3 tsp) is about right. However, the 1 tsp of baking soda may put it over the top a bit.

  363. catarina

    I have been hunting for a good honey cake recipe to make for a friend of mine, who loves it. I tried this recipe.
    However, I found it was dry. I cooked it at the appropriate temp. and time,I may try it again and substitute sour cream for the orange juice.

    I hope the recipes in the book will turn out for me, as this is the first recipe I made- although from the website, not included in the book.

  364. nikki

    I agreed with Marin Tulin’s comment above. It would be great if you crossed out the 1 Tablespoon in the actual recipe and added the correct 1 teaspoon. Easier not to miss it and more clear. Thanks!!
    Trying this tonight.

  365. This was perfect. I don’t like booze in my dessert, so I just added additional orange juice in its place. I made it in a swirly bundt pan and baked it for just about the time you mentioned in your recipe. Delicious, not too sweet, but all the flavors present. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe and for being my motivation for finding something to make with the $12 jar of artisanal honey I bought at the co-op near my house.

  366. I like honey cakes and have few recipes. This one is the best – very easy, very fast and tasty exactly as promised. I have baked it few times already. It never disappoints. This is a very large cake and sometimes I bake just half of amount.

  367. One small question: we use honey from our own beehives and it has a VERY strong taste. I’ve had a horrible failure using it instead of maple syrup in cookies, and another one with granola bars (where honey was required). I was wondering if your honey had a really strong flavor, and if not, should I scale back on the honey and up on the other liquids? Thanks! :)

  368. Sarah

    Hi Deb! I just wanted to let you know that for some reason, you can’t “pin” this recipe on Pinterest because it doesn’t allow you to use any of the pictures for the pin. Just wanted to give you a heads up :) I’m not sure if this is intentional or not. I’m assuming no though since you do have a “pin” button under this recipe. I hope that I helped somehow!

  369. In regards to Honey Cake, originally started research as it is mentioned in feasting in England in ancient texts. It would not have had all the ingredients listed in this recipe, obviously, due to unavailability. This cake is definitely worth trying, but does anyone have a source for “ancient” Honey Cake recipe? Thanks,S

  370. Jennifer

    Stumbled on this while looking for a way to use a surplus of honey and was exceptionally pleased with the result. My 11-year-old cousin is licking the plate for every last crumb.

  371. Sarah

    Hi Deb. This may be a dumb question but I was just wondering, for the orange juice – are we supposed to use freshly squeezed juice from an orange? Or do you suggest we use actual juice (from the bottle, Simply Orange Juice brands, etc.)

    1. deb

      Sarah — Whatever works. I don’t buy orange juice in cartons usually so I often squeeze it. But if I’m in a rush, I’ll grab a pint or a tiny container at the corner store.

  372. ash

    Oh, this is BEAUTIFUL. I made a third of the recipe and filled 9 muffin cups. Used wholewheat pastry flour, brandy, earl grey tea and all brown sugar, but otherwise kept the proportions the same. Baked at the same temperature for 27 minutes. They came out velvet and absolutely plush, with a lovely honey-and-graham-cracker sort of flavour. I added a whiskey chocolate truffle to some of the muffins, and I can’t wait to try them once they’ve rested for a day (:

  373. Sarah

    Okay thanks! :D I have some wonderful oranges at home so I’ll use that. I was just worried about the sugar/taste differences between au natural orange juice and the container of juice that’s actually meant to be drunk (drank??).

  374. My friend made this cake for Rosh Hashana 3 or 4 years ago, and I just about bowled her over for the recipe. Finally I’ve gotten to make it! Or a version of it.

    I chose to go with the amended 1 tsp. of baking powder. I used the ends of several different jars of honey to get one cup. My vegetable oil was actually coconut oil. Because I don’t drink alcohol, and didn’t have any orange juice on hand, I went with one cup of leftover coffee and one cup of Bundaberg ginger beer I had sitting in the fridge. (Otherwise I would have used water/herbal tea.) I was generous with the cinnamon, and I added 1/4 tsp. of ginger and 1/4 tsp. of nutmeg, because I like spice cake.

    The batter looked thick (but pourable, about what I’d expected from the finished product) before I added in the ginger beer at the last. It made enough for 2 loaves (45 min, 50 min for the slightly larger one that I overfilled just a wee bit) and half a dozen muffins (25 min). I put the loaf pans on double-stacked jelly roll pans, but put the muffin tin directly on the oven rack.

    Between the coconut oil and the carbonated liquid, this version was not as dense as the original. It was light, moist, sweet, and flavorful, though — and a real hit!

  375. Katie

    Great recipe! Tried it this morning with the teaspoon of each (Baking Powder/soda0 and got a good rise on the bread. I did have a problem with the cake falling apart when I cut into it however.

  376. Kat

    This is delicious! I had no butter, and was really, really bored, so I searched for an oil cake recipe. I cut down some of the sugar because my family is asian (we don’t like super sweet things!) and I substituted whiskey with kahlua to make it extra coffee flavoured. It was so soft and fluffy! I found that the cake slices better the next day. Thanks!

  377. Endora

    Out of this world! Made it twice so far, once the way it’s written, the second time instead of strong coffee, I used very strong tea, plus I grated in some orange rind (abt. 1 tsp.). It came out much better. I used whiskey, I bet spiced rum would be fabulous in this. The next time I make this, I’m going to try either raisins, dried currants or dried cranberries (craisins). I think that would make it perfect. If left for one day covered with plastic wrap, it becomes better tasting. It’s moister and the flavors seem to ferment.

  378. Endora

    Oh and BTW this cake will sink a bit in the middle, no problem with me. The mistake I made the first time is, I didn’t think it was done the middle shook a bit too much. I left it and the edges were a bit done and it was slightly dry otherwise good. This time I took it out despite, it sunk a bit but the cake was delicious!

  379. Katherine

    To Substitute the rye/whiskey traditional methods are you use equal portions of vanilla extract and almond extract thats a replacement for whiskey in baking goods. However being that it calls for a large amount of whiskey making the entire 1/4 cups out of almond/vanilla extract would be to much. Instead i used the called for vanilla extract doubled, a teaspoon of almond extract and a teaspoon of rum extract all in a 1/4 cup measure then topped it off with apple juice. Came out great and everyone loved it. I also used apple juice and a splash of lime juice in place of the orange juice and used a 9X13 pan.

  380. Felicia M.

    Hi deb,

    Long time lurker with a question. I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago and it turned out great. I even used the amount of baking powder listed in the recipe without adjustment.

    However, I do want to check with you if cutting the cake before freezing would affect the quality much? I’d like to bake this in a 13×9 pan and cut it into bite size portions before freezing. Also, thawing wise – microwave or leave at room temp?

    Thank you so much!

    1. deb

      Felicia — I think you can slice it before freezing it but if you don’t keep the pieces separated with waxed paper or the like, they will glue themselves back together. I usually just thaw things for a day in the fridge, or at room temperature. But I don’t have a microwave.

  381. Linda

    Hi,
    I did not read the hundreds of posts to this, so sorry if this was already asked but I am a bee keeper with fresh honey and I’m hosting a dinner party. Is this cake fine the way it is or would you recommend a glaze or powdered sugar to be added to dress it up?

    thanks

  382. Anna P

    Mine turned out horribly undercooked! The outside was this unappealing really chewy overdone shell and inside was still complete dough after an hour. FAIL! I’m usually a great baker, what did I do wrong?? I’ve wasted half the day trying to save it but it had to go in the bin. :(

  383. Karen

    The best honey cake hands down! My search for a moist delicious honey cake for Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) ended two years ago when I found this recipe. Have been making this recipe with the original 1 T of baking powder and have never had it fall (not that I would care if it did, its just that yummy!) I only cook/bake with extra large eggs so I don’t know if that affects the results but this recipe always comes out great. I prefer it a little less spiced and so I use just 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each cloves and allspice. I usually throw some raisins in at least one of the three loaves that it makes. It freezes well, too.

  384. Laura

    Love your baking powder adjustment! I halved the recipe, including using just 1/2 tsp baking powder based on your adjustment. And I cooked it in a glass loaf pan with no problems (took just over an hour). I also substituted coffee for the whiskey (total liquid was the same, but all coffee). Perhaps because of that substitution, the batter was a little thin pouring it in the pan, but the finished cake looked, smelled, and tasted fantastic.

  385. Miriam

    Excited to try this!! New to cooking/baking, coming to it in middle age (don’t ask). My grandmother used to make honeycake and, quite honestly, I hated it!! Your story made me absolutely crack up AND willing to try this recipe with all the raves!

  386. Betty

    This cake looks wonderful! However, I am allergic to fruit. Can you suggest a fruit-free substitute for the oj? A little honey in water? Thanks!!

  387. Michelle

    This is in my oven right now and the smell is heavenly….and if the finished cake is even half as good as the batter (I ate so much that third cake tin probably wasn’t really necessary) it should be sensational. I didn’t bother to put any sugar in at all as I prefer a not too sweet cake, so will see how it goes (although given my batter eating frenzy I think I can safely say it seemed sweet enough to me).

  388. Stanley

    Hi Deb, I was wondering whether it’s better freezing the cooled cake immediately after baking it or letting it sit for a few days before freezing? 25minutes into baking it in the oven and it smells AMAZING! Thanks.

    1. deb

      Stanley — I’d let it cool completely, then freeze it. Freeze it when it is the freshest so it has the least to lose if loses any perfection in the freezer.

  389. Stanley

    Btw, I used the 1 tsp amounts for the leavening agents, baked it in a 9 inch springform pan filled about 3/4 with the batter, and it rose beautifully about an inch over the rim with no sinkage or deflation. It’s a baking miracle!

  390. Alisa

    Hi Deb-
    This will be my 2nd year making this cake for Rosh Hashanah but this year I would like to make them as cake balls, dipped in candy melts and decorated as apples. 2 questions for you-(1) how long would you recommend I bake these for in a cake pop mold, since you can’t check it or will these not work as cake pops, and (2) what other flavors would you recommend complementing the flavor of the honey cake? As I mentioned, I was going to dip these in melted candy melts (and add sprinkles for sparkle) but is that too much sweet? I would appreciate your thoughts.

  391. Sara B

    Just made a bunch of mini loaf cakes as Rosh Hashana gifts (plus a few cupcakes for us to taste!) and they turned out amazing. Packaged in cellophane bags with yellow Paper Source paper tags, I’m so proud of them!

  392. Jess

    Another Smitten Kitchen win!! I didn’t have OJ so I used pineapple juice and used Sugar & Spice tea from David’s Tea (instead of coffee) and it turned out beautifully. Thanks for another outstanding recipe :)

  393. deb

    Hi Alisa — Sorry, I’ve never worked with cake pops before. I hope someone else can pipe up and make suggestions. As for complimentary flavors, cream cheese and lemon can work nicely here.

  394. Tamara (from comment 633)

    The second loaf is in the oven as we speak (I only have one loaf pan, heh) and the first came out perfect! I used the one tsp of baking powder and the cake did not fall. I put a bit of it in a tiny loaf pan so I could taste it and it is DELICIOUS. Thank you!!

  395. Seth

    Is there a typo here?

    “Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).”

    Shouldn’t that be “… without the bottom baking faster …”?

  396. june

    I made half the recipe-one loaf for my husband and myself. I added about a cup of walnuts instead of the almonds and made a Grand Marnier sugar glaze. I heated up a slice for breakfast this morning. Delicious!

  397. Anna

    This is the exact recipe that I use, found it years ago on aol. It is perfect and reminds me of the honey cakes I had growing up. I just took mine out of the oven and it will be good to go tomorrow night, (if I can wait that long). I didn’t have whiskey so used brandy and from what I could taste from the crumbs as I took it out of the pan it’s just a good as ever!

  398. deborah

    Hi, If I missed the answer to this question, sorry, I couldn’t read 550 to get the info. Is this cake just as good if you make it the day before serving?

  399. Michelle

    OMG! I have been making this recipe for years and everyone raves about it. I can’t even remember where I originally found it. It is wonderful even though my version does not have any booze. Mine always sinks in the middle and this year I decided to do something about it. I reduced the baking temperature from 350 to 325 and resisted opening the oven for most of the baking time. It worked perfectly and two recipes later I have one bundt cake and 6 small loves for giving out to friends, none of which sunk. The cake keeps beautifully for at least several days and also freezes well. I always freeze the leftovers from Rosh Hashanah and then have them for breaking my fast on Yom Kippur.

  400. Marc

    Help! I just tried this in a bundt pan and also with a couple of cupcakes. The cupcakes, and I think the bundt cake also, are too moist in the centre – like jelly. The top and edges are chewy and a bit tough (which I like) but the centre seems almost undercooked – I left them in for a little longer and I can tell the centre is still like jelly. Any thoughts where I went wrong?

    1. deb

      Marc — Just keep baking them until a tester comes out clean. If they’re getting too dark at the edges, try lowering the heat. Are you baking in a darker pan? Sometimes (it’s not always necessary) they benefit from being used in ovens slightly (25 degrees) cooler too.

  401. Marc

    The batter was not very thick when it went in the oven. Do you not think perhaps it needed more flour? That said, it rose beautifully – in fact it ended up out growing the pan.

    1. deb

      Hi Marc — No, it’s a thin batter. There are a lot of liquids in there, it’s more than other cakes. But it all works out in the end to an insanely delicious and flavorful honey cake that you might be stuck making again and again for future holidays. Just so you know. ;)

  402. akiko

    Hi there…I made your honey cake today with the 1 teaspoon of baking powder only ( I actually neglected to add the baking soda, oops) and it turned out incredible. It domed and held its shape, I got a nice tight, but soft crumb, I got the crisp edges and it couldn’t have been simpler. I’m taking this to my friends for Rosh Hashanah and I have no doubt they’ll love it. Thank you for the recipe!

  403. Lisette

    I made this for Rosh Hashana! Accidentally forgot the orange juice!!! Halved the ingredients but with the same amount of spices & was still a great success.
    Shredded coconut & slivered almonds on top were the perfect touch. Next Year with OJ!
    Thanks for the recipe! Use your Challah one also.

  404. Matilda

    Franky, I don’t care what the cake tastes like, the batter is divine. I added a little almond meal because I was a little worried about how liquid the batter was.

  405. Gerri

    OMG the batter is amazing. Used the dregs of a lone crown royal bottle for the whiskey, not quite 1/4 cup, so I added a tablespoon of Amaretto. It smells like new years in my kitchen.

  406. Just made this in two loaf pans and a few mini heart shaped muffins. I have a new electric oven though and the 45 mins overcooked my poor cakes! Oh well- the smell in the house in divine and they still taste good. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  407. Sheena

    I made this for Rosh Hashanah today and it came out beautifully in a 9×13″ pan. I had no issues with my cake sinking and even though I forgot to add the vanilla (I made it at 7am, don’t ask), it was delicious. Other than the vanilla, I made it exactly as written.

  408. Deb

    Just finished serving (and eating) it and it was fantastic. I made it with the amended amount of baking powder in a tube pan and baked it for 75 minutes and it was perfect. Served it with a side of whipped cream — which wasn’t strictly necessary, but hey, it didn’t hurt.

  409. Allie

    I’m 25 and threw my first Rosh Hashanah dinner last night. I worried this cake wouldn’t live up to Bubbe’s (which I’ve been eating for 25 years), but my friends think I’m a goddess! Cooked it in two loaf pans instead of three so they were pretty hefty loaves, and I should have left one of them in longer because of that — it was definitely undercooked in the very center. Didn’t seem to bother anyone since it is now all gone.

    Also, I used the adjusted ingredients and the loaf that cooked all the way through (slightly smaller loaf pan) didn’t fall. The gooey one did but I think that was because lack of baking, not the lack of leavening.

    No other adjustments. Maybe would add raisins next time.

  410. Emily

    By far, this is the best honey cake I have ever had. Thank you for this recipe as many of the traditional, old time honey cakes aren’t the same as this delicious version!

    Thank you again!

  411. Fern

    Just made this for Rosh Hashsana and it was great. Mistakenly used two loaf pans rather than three so they were a little crispy at the edges. I was worried about sweetness using honey, brown sugar AND 1 1/2 cups of white sugar, so I only added one cup of white sugar and it was perfect. Also added in fresh grated ginger and ginger powder. Will tweak it a bit more for Yom Kippur. This is a keeper.

  412. elizabeth

    do you think you could put apples in it? and if so, at what stage and how? Because Apples and Honey are the prime ingredients on Rosh Hashanna. Thanks!

  413. deb

    Hi elizabeth — I have not made this with apples but in Comment #132, an earlier version of this cake with grated apples is mentioned that sounds lovely. A few others in these comments mention using some too. To be honest, I think it’s a lovely idea for the traditional apple-and-honey element but it’s otherwise not necessary because the cake has so much character and moisture without them, they’re not going to be very noticeable.

  414. CJ

    made this for RH again this year with your revised leavening recs, omitting the white sugar, and raising the brown sugar to 1 cup. It’s so so good, and such a relief especially for folks who are expecting dry tasteless honey cake! I also upped the amount of orange by adding a tew tbsp of orange juice concentrate; and for the booze I used dark rum. Highly recommended!

  415. lingting

    made this for rosh hashanah [in a way; not jewish but always love baking in line with holidays!] and it was fantastically wonderful. used about 1.5tsp of baking powder and replaced the rye with rum. fiercely guarding the leftovers and rationing it over the past couple of days and, true enough, the flavour just gets better with each passing day!

  416. panamama

    I really HATE honey cake. Never had a good one. But it’s tradition to eat honey cake at our pre Yom Kippur dinner, so today I gave it a try. It is good. More like a ginger cake. (I added a tsp if ground ginger to the spice list.) No OJ, so I used 1/4 cup of orange marmalade mix with 1/4 cup of water. I also swapped 1 cup of white flour for whole wheat flour and added some ground flaxseed. Next time I am going to try to substitute apple sauce for part or all of the oil.

  417. Mish

    Majestic, moist, divine!!! So good and so easy to make. I substituted organic whole wheat flour, white sugar for brown (1.5 cups) and then agave for sugar (.5 cup). Used 1 teaspoon of baking powder and 1 teaspoon of baking soda – no sinking. Also used fresh lemon juice instead of orange. I do feel it was hard to get it to release from the bundt pan, but I also greased in in coconut oil. Then I candied walnuts in honey to make a decorative topping. Thanks Deb!

  418. Paula

    I have a question, I want to make this cake for a “Bee” themed Baby Shower, I would really prefer to make this without the alcohol…is there something that I could replace the alcohol with that would not compromise the recipe?

  419. JP

    I have not read through all 561 comments, but I just wanted to add for folks who do not drink coffee and/or green or black teas, I used a orange spice herbal tea bag (double strength) to sub in for the tea or coffee and the cake was the best honey cake I have eaten since the one my grandma made. I actually halved the recipe because it is just for me and my husband and poured it into a single round 9″ layer and it was wonderful, especially on day two and three. It just got better. Thanks, Deb!

  420. Joel

    Deb, This a something like a chicken-crossing-the-road question: If a recipe calls for three [3] eggs and I want to halve the recipe….should I use one [1] egg or two [2]?

    p.s. your website ROCKS!! i am inherently suspicious of recipes floating around on Internet websites (except those of certain manufacturers [KAF]….or ATK!!). but, your website is a “keeper”!! i even created a shortcut to it on the desktop of my computer!! that’s high praise!!

    1. deb

      Joel — Usually I’d recommend 1 egg + 1 yolk. But this cake is so tender that I don’t think an extra half-egg would harm it, so I think you could use 2 whole ones, if you don’t want to split an egg.

  421. Gina

    Oh My MY! I love this cake, I am eating it as we speak! I had some dark amber honey and could not stomach the strong smell/flavor. I was about to throw it out when I decided to Google honey recipes and found this. I figured with all those ingredients the honey would not stand out. I had everything on hand, even Jack Daniels – wow I am so glad I stuck to the recipe. Made 3 loaf pans as stated – perfect texture, no sag, light and sweet, that lingering coffee/whiskey/allspice flavor is sublime. I must add that I only had enough of my Ceylon cinnamon for 3 teaspoons so I used one tsp of Chinese Five Spice Powder, added a hint of ginger and anise. I would normally freak out at using 1 whole cup of oil, so glad I did, thank you so much for this great find.

  422. I love moist cakes of unusual flavours and stumbled upon this recipe. It looks amazing so I decided to make it for my birthday tomorrow; can’t wait to taste it. I’m surprised I didn’t find it earlier as your website is amazing and has led to me trawling through almost its entire history. So many of your recipes are just the right degree of unusual and so beautifully photographed that I salivate every time I read your site. Thank you!

  423. Hilda

    Hi,
    I wanted to tell you that this is a much-loved cake at our home. The flavor mix is perfect and I even tried it at a bake sale once! The name alone was a crowd puller and needless to say, it was sold out within the first hour of the sale! Thanks so much for this recipe :)

  424. Kim

    This cake tasted awesome. I may be some years late, but I had to let you know that it’s a great recipe. And adaptable. My spouse requested “a kind of apple spice cake” for this year’s birthday, and I wanted to do something that would be really catching. Believe me, an apple honey cake definitely does it. Thanks for the research you did!

  425. Irisa

    It was so soft and moist- and just sweet enough! The problem I usually have with honey cakes is that they aren’t sweet and don’t smell sweetly of honey, but this one hit the spot. It was nice and dark and fragrant Thank you, Smitten Kitchen!! Can’t wait to share with my friends.

    (I was out of whiskey so I substituted rum and it was just fine!)

  426. Rachel

    Why not edit the actual fucking recipe?? I saved this unto a recipe program, and made the one with the TABLESPOON, instead of the TSP, scaled by 10 at work in a kitchen, and thanks to that I have multiple cakes ruined, wtf??

  427. Janna

    With the 1 tsp of baking powder, the recipe made 2 beautiful 9″ round cakes. The first time I made this, I used 1 1/4 cups of strong chai tea instead of the coffee and whiskey, apricot nectar instead of apple juice, and 4 oz. baby food pears instead of 1/2 c. of the oil. The honey flavor was subtle and lovely, and the cake absorbed moisture (as honey does) for the 4 days it stayed around, so it was always moist. The second time, I used strong Celestial Seasonings Cherry Berry tea, raspberry applesauce, and frozen raspberry-apple juice concentrate. Same beautiful results, with a raspberry essence. This is a fantastic recipe to tweak to your own tastes–just keep the liquid ingredients in their same amounts, whatever you use.

  428. Catherine C.

    Rachel- she didn’t edit the entire recipe to reflect the 1 tsp. of baking powder because she only tested that using a tube pan, and didn’t want to definitively say that 1 tsp. was the end-all, be-all fix to the sinking problem. Perhaps you should request Deb re-test in other pans? Or perhaps someone else can give us feedback on their results? In the meantime, as a professional, you should always remember to reread recipes a few times before tackling them, especially when making multiples of a recipe. I do the same at my job.

  429. Catherine C.

    I’ve made this cake two ways, both of which involve what I like to call the “baklava treatment.” Meaning, I toast sliced almonds really nicely, make a honey syrup, and drizzle the cake with the syrup, then layer with almonds (repeated a few times) to create a lovely sort of syrupy topping that really sticks to the cake. Delicious, and a nice crunchy contrast to the plush cake. The other change I sometimes make is that I add chopped apples to the batter, and swap the orange juice for apple, using earl grey tea for the warm/hot liquid (actually, I always go the tea route). Thus, an all-in-one honey + apple dessert perfect for the new year. [PS I’ve successfully made unsinkable cakes with the 1 tsp. of baking powder in both a tube pan, and a 9 x 9 square cake pan. That being said, the tube pan tends to yield a more evenly moist cake, as the square pan tends to have more well-done edges.]

  430. Alexis

    I was so glad to know I am not the only one whose cake fell. It bubbled quite a bit as it baked and spilled over a little. As strange as it sounds, I was stung by a bee in the process and also ran around the kitchen after several other bees that had smelled the honey and came into to see what was going on. All in all it was worth the sting and once I cut the cake no one noticed but me that the shape was not so pretty as I had desired.

  431. Sharon

    I’ve just recently learned there are TONS of different kinds of honey and not just the kind in the cute bear and a few others in the market. In your opinion do you think it makes a difference what you use? I was told to buy honey from the local farmers’ market for health reasons also, but I want this to taste good for Rosh Hashanah!
    P.S. You are always my go to recipe gal! Thank you for your cheery blog and amazing food.

  432. Beth E.

    I am tasked with baking for Rosh Hashanah. I’m making an apple cake but I need a second recipe. My mom makes a great honey cake, but I can’t show up at her house with her recipe. The only complication is that my mom hates clove and allspice. Can I use something else instead? What do you recommend?

  433. jenny thielemann

    Thank you! Every time I’ve tried this, it not only fell and needed extensive trimming afterwards, but practically exploded in my oven first! What a mess! I suspected a tablespoon of baking powder was too much, but wasn’t sure how much to reduce it to – I didn’t want it to be a brick. BTW, NordicWare has a gorgeous pan that I use for honey cake – it’s a beehive! It produces two sides, so you can stand them up, stick them together with the honey frosting (recipe on the package), and drizzle the frosting over the top to hide the seam. Regardless of the pan, though, this is by far the most complex – in terms of flavors!- honey cake out there and well worth the effort.

  434. Ellen

    Made this cake last year and gave everyone a mini-cake as they left Erev Rosh Hashana dinner for a sweet New Year. This year my son is a freshman in college and wants me to send some. Would appreciate suggestions for packing and sending to slightly homesick freshman. Thanks!

  435. Sasha Bolot

    Love the honey cake- but my children arent sure about the whiskey taste- could I leave it out without ruining the amazing moist texture of the cake? Thanks-

  436. Robin

    Made the cake in a 9×13 with 1tsp baking powder, baked for 55 minutes. It had a lovely dome that didn’t sink or crack upon cooling, and a slightly darker edge (for that carmelized honey bite). The kitchen smelled great! I am used to using 1 cup honey for one large loaf cake. Is there a way to upscale the amount of honey?

  437. Leah

    I have had a newspaper clipping with this recipe since 1999 and it is the only honey cake I have ever liked. My family goes crazy for it! I have never had a problem using the tablespoon of baking powder — I have baked it in tube pan, bundt pan and regular 9×13 cake pan.

  438. Nurse Malka

    Finally got around to this in time for Rosh Hashana – read your note at the top, and in fact, the teaspoon-instead-of-tablespoon of baking powder was the perfect solution to a beautifully domed Bundt cake and 1/2 a dozen cupcakes (which I tasted, and was excited to find that I believe this recipe will satisfy the many different opinions about perfect honey cake in my house!) I used Scotch, because it was handy (the Dimpled Pinch, if that matters) and didn’t taste the alcohol at all. And the smell was to die for!

  439. Cindy

    Well, I finally got around to pulling this together last night after work. I made 2 8″ loaves and 2 minis. They sunk and were very thin???? I don’t know if my baking powder needs to be ditched? Or if i spread the batter over too many pans..?I am going to try again tonight, in a bundt pan with new chemicals……I also used nonstick pans and they are a bit darker than regular ones and that caused the outsides to brown a bit too much. I did one of the 8″ lined in parchment to see if that would affect the out come. No difference.maybe I should lower the oven temp to 325? I rarely have issues when I bake. But inspite of the buried treasure look, they are delicious. Happy new year!

  440. el edwards

    DEB,

    It is the new year again….did you ever test this recipe in the different size pans after adjusting the levening??? Do you think perhaps you could do that before the next new year?

  441. Rachel

    I am wondering what other alcoholic flavorings can be used in this recipe. I’m going to try it tonight with the whisky, because I have a lot of that in the house, but has anyone thought of using calvados? Or elderflower liqueur? IKEA makes an elderflower and orange marmalade that is to die for, maybe it would benefit this honey-orange cake too? It seems like folks are using whatever they’ve got, run, amaretto, so maybe I should experiment!

  442. This recipe is the gift that keeps on giving every year during Rosh Hashanah.

    I am not concerned about keeping it pareve, so use 141 grams of butter in place of the oil, and cream it with the sugar. This year I eliminated the orange juice, and replaced it with milk, and because of the reduction in acid, I eliminated the baking soda entirely (which is not easy to get in Brazil in any case) and used 1 teaspoon of baking powder. This has eliminated the sagging problem entirely.

    When the cake is still warm and just out of the oven, I top it with a bit more honey and smooth it out with a frosting knife. The honey soaks into the top of the cake, and makes a very nice topping of a nice honey layer. I highly recommend this as a last step.

  443. akiko

    **update from sept 4, 2013 comment**
    i made your honey cake this morning for tomorrow night’s rosh hashana dinner. this time, i used 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and baked it in a bundt pan for 1 hour. it is beautiful. it baked up perfectly — no sinking or deflating whatsoever. I’m sure it will be just a big a hit this year as it was last year. thx again for the recipe.

  444. Thank you for my favorite honey cake recipe! Made it today and my family went crazy over it. I used 1 teaspoon baking powder, didn’t have ground cinnamon, so just left it out, and used Cointreau instead of whiskey. Delicious!

  445. Polina

    Happy New Year! I made the recipe as written, but with one heaping teaspoon of the baking powder and Cognac. The cake in the standard loaf pan rose slightly more than the cake in the larger oval baking dish. It was nice!

  446. Sheree

    Tried this yesterday and the day before, both with excellent results. I reduced the baking powder to 1 1/2 tsp. and things went beautifully. On the first occasion, I made 12 cupcakes, one large and two mini loaves. Yesterday I made one loaf and 4 mini loaves, again with wonderful results. Yesterday I reduced the cloves to 1/4 tsp, which seems to let the whiskey shine through a bit more. Thank you for a lovely recipe.

  447. Sharon

    I just made the honey cake in a tube pan. I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1 tsp baking soda–it didn’t sag at all. I also used less coffee (3/4 cup) and more bourbon (1/2 cup). YUM!

  448. Tamar

    I Googled “honey spice cake” and stumbled across this recipe — decided to make it for Rosh Hashanah because I happened to have all the ingredients on hand, even though the combination of coffee, OJ and rye sounded weird. Made it in two square pans using 1 tsp of baking powder, and the result was fabulous! Thanks so much — this is going to be my new holiday tradition.

  449. Ariel

    I made this for the new year with the teaspoon baking soda and teaspoon baking powder measurement- subbed apple juice for orange juice because we were out, but otherwise made it as written. It came out absolutely beautiful and delicious, and converted my honey cake-hating family (“honey cake is always so dry! why are you making it?” they said. “you’ll see,” I replied) into believers. I made it in a 10 cup bundt pan and a 1 cup ramekin, and both came out perfect. Thanks for the recipe!

  450. Rosa

    THIS IS AN AMAZING CAKE!!!!! Made it for Rosh haShana and the family devoured it. It is SO moist and flavorful. FYI I omitted the booze (used extra OJ) and the 1/2 cup of brown sugar, still turned out incredible. Thank you Deb!!!!!!

  451. Juli

    This cake is delicious! It´s the best honeycake I´ve ever had. I used spicy chai tea instead of coffee and will do so again next time! 1 tsp of bakingpowder worked out very well. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  452. burgeoningbaker

    The first instructions say to add eggs, and I may have misread but I don’t see eggs in the ingredient list… It is of course.. monday.

  453. deb

    It’s totally Monday, I understand. There are three eggs in this recipe. It’s the 12th ingredient in the list and I looked past it twice before finding it too.

  454. Cindy

    It’s funny, I didn’t see it either and made it without them and that’s when I had the sinking problem. I found the same recipe on epicurious with the eggs and made that one the next day, without the sink. Believe or not, I think I like the sunken one better…..!

  455. Tamara

    I made this TWICE already for this year. Love this recipe. First time I made it I did a loaf pan and a square 8×8. Second time I did a loaf pan and 12 muffins…baked the muffins 30 minutes. Also swapped in 2 cups of white whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups AP flour and tasted great. I love this recipe, thank you!!!

  456. lisa mayer

    I made this in a 13x9x2 today and decided to go with 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder and it was awesome! I used apple honey and it’s just delish. My plan was to take it to my friend’s house tomorrow night for breaking the fast, and thank goodness sundown finally came. Any later and the 13x9x2 would have turned in to an 9x9x2! (as it stands now, it’s probably an 11x9x2!) Thanks so much for the recipe!

  457. Laurie

    After 609 comments, I can’t believe I have something new to say. But I made this recipe today – used two larger loaf pans. Anyway, here’s what happened: same batter (used 1 tsp baking powder), same baking pans, same oven, same rack, same baking pans underneath. Baked at the same time, together. Amazingly, one cake rose exactly the way I expected, and the other sunk in the middle. I am stunned and stumped. It must be the way the heat disperses in my oven, but still, really? They were inches apart from each other!

    Aside: My father owned a bakery in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and made the most amazingly delicious, moist, honey cake (year-round) ever. I have been trying honey cakes ever since and all have been as you described – dry, tasteless, terrible. I can’t begin to count how many I have bought and thrown away. So I may have overly high expectations and warped memories, but I can’t wait for these cakes to cool so I can try a piece.

  458. Laurie

    Follow up to Comment #610 – I tasted the sunken cake and it is perfect – just like my father’s! Thank you so much for a terrific recipe. Oh, and in the interest of full disclosure, I used 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1¼ cups of Turkish tea rather than 1 cup tea and ¼ cup alcohol. Finally, my daughter confirms that the left side of our oven works better than the right. Who woulda thunk?

  459. Julie

    I made this today with 1 tsp of baking powder in a silicone bundt pan & it rose perfectly. I am not usually a fan of honey cake (my husband loves it which is why I baked it) but this was delicious. Moist and flavorful. As usual, your recipes are perfection!

  460. Amy M

    Had to let you know that my boys requested this cake for their birthday for this coming Thursday. It’s the only cake they can agree on!

  461. vonmoishe

    Reading this recipe reminded me a lot of Claudia Fleming’s gingerbread, and gave me some great ideas on how to tinker with her recipe. Maybe half honey, half maple syrup instead of molasses, and homemade Nocino in place of the stout. Diced apples and almond extract should round it out. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  462. sumayya

    hi — is there any reason why this cake would be done before a toothpick inserted in the center is clean? i just made it (half the recipe in a 9″ circle tin, forgot to put it on baking sheets though) and it’s delicious but a bit dry. i waited until a toothpick came out clean but it passed the ‘springy’ test much earlier. wondering if would have been ok to take out in advance? thanks. also i used about 1 tsp of baking powder and halved everything else and it rose very nicely.

    1. deb

      sumayya — If it was 99% baked but the toothpick wasn’t clean of batter (and it’s batter you’re looking out for, there will of course be crumbs on the toothpick even when it’s done) it might finish baking out of the oven just from its residual heat. But it’s not as likely. In general, if the toothpick is picking up raw batter, it’s not going to be baked through. Did it seem dry? Or get too dark?

  463. Madison

    Just made this, and what a success! I used two 9-inch cake pans and only used 1 teaspoon of baking powder, as suggested. It completely filled both pans and rose to be quite thick, so it really wouldn’t work in 8-in pans, if anyone was wondering. They sunk just a tad (probably not as much as they would’ve) and rose a little unevenly. Maybe that would’ve been a problem if I’d wanted to layer them- but I didn’t, so I didn’t care and neither did anyone else who ate it. What counts is it’s flavorful, moist (Seriously, even after three days? What kind of cake can DO that? This one.), and goes wonderfully with bourbon honey cream sauce. Thank you!

  464. Ginny

    I love this recipe! Do you think it would also work with set honey, if it was heated to become runny again? Would you change the quantities at all? Thanks!

  465. Emily

    This looks amazing but if I want to exclude alcohol, what can be used in its place? Also do you have a tea you recommend?

  466. Melissa

    I saw this recipe for the first time yesterday and had to make it today. This is an amazing find! I used a tube pan and baked it for exactly an hour at 350 degrees. No sinking because I used the 1 teaspoon of baking powder and soda each. The only thing I did a bit differently was using what I had left of a freshly squeezed orange(50 ml) mixed that with two tablespoons of grand marnier and about 70 ml of pure maple syrup to compensate for not having the full amount of the orange juice needed. No additional liquor… The cake sprung back after an hour, was nice and crusty on the outside and moist and delectable on the inside. It looks exactly what I see on your site. if your desired result is a nice high cake, I recommend using a tube or bundt pan. There is enough room for all of the batter to bake evenly.

  467. Hello, I’m planning on making some small individual cakes for a friend’s wedding party but will need to bake them a couple of days beforehand as it’s in another city where I have no kitchen facilities. I thought something like this would probably keep quite well. Any thoughts? Thanks for all the food by the way- I’m a long time reader but never commented before. Your presence is often felt in my kitchen!

  468. May Rosenthal

    So, I made FAR too much, but that meant discovering just how amazing this cake is sliced, toasted (singed at the edges) and slathered with salty butter once it’s a bit stale. Seriously delicious!

  469. Penny

    HUGE fan here! I’ve just baked this cake this evening, for no particular reason, other than the recipe caught my eye. The quantities are far too much for someone living alone but I didn’t let that deter me;) I just halved it.

    The aromas coming from the oven were just heavenly, I was practically hopping up and down in front of it, willing it to finish. It took the full 45 minutes and a few more to be done.

    But so well worth the wait. Incredibly moist, and nicely domed. I really wasn’t expecting that, given all the comments about sinking, and baking powder (I used 3/4 teaspoon, plus a half of soda). I did, though, find the whiskey a little strong (30 ml of Jack Daniels – all I have other than my precious Caol Ila (a deliciously strong single malt) and I wasn’t about to cook with that!).

    Definitely a cake I’ll be making again.

    I love the website, Deb, and your cookbook was the first on my list when I was given an Amazon voucher for my birthday. I have so many recipes tagged … …

    Very many thanks for this website, this recipe, and the book!

    Oh, and before I go… I had mice in the house, too! And I live on the outskirts of a town in Oxfordshire. Pleased to say that I no longer have unwelcome guests!

    All best wishes,

    Penny

  470. Paige

    Happy New Year, Deb! For the holiday, I will be making 3 of your recipes: Mom’s Apple Cake, this Honey Cake and your Roasted Red Pepper Dip! What size loaf pans did you use? I keep looking at the comments to make sure this question isn’t redundant. Apologies if I missed an earlier inquiry.

  471. Sharon

    If I wanted to really amp up the honey flavor could I add an extra half cup of honey and reduce the white sugar to just one cup without any issues? Thanks!

  472. Perel

    I absolutely love this cake! It converted my entire extended family into being honey cake lovers. Does anyone know if it can be made in a bundt pan?

  473. matilda

    can i use 11 by 5 loaf pans and do 2 instead of three. how long should i bake for?? don’t have parchment paper can i grease instead?? thanks

  474. deb

    Perel — I haven’t made it in a bundt or tube before, but many people who have commented say they have successfully. Good luck!

    matilda — I don’t know how many cups of batter this is offhand, so I cannot say for sure. And I don’t have a loaf pan that size that I can suggest a baking time in line with, but I think if you start checking in at the cooking time suggested here and then every 5 to 10 minutes from that point on, you should be just fine. Hope you enjoy it.

  475. Paige

    Thanks for the quck response to my loaf pan size queation. One more question, do you think this cake can be made 2 days in advance? I love that I can make your Apple Cake a day in advance, and I would like to spread out my cooking, so I would like to know if the honey cake can be made two days before it is served. Thanks!

  476. Drorit

    Hi Deb:

    I’m getting ready to start baking for the holiday. Do you think I can swap coconut oil for vegetable oil in this recipe? I saw one commenter above did so, i just wanted to get your feedback. What about other “healthier” oils such as sunflower seed oil?

    Thanks!

  477. Deborah Pastor

    Fabulous recipe – thanks for correcting the original. It is flavorful, moist and yet, light. This recipe makes a lot – one bundt pan for Rosh Hashanah and then a small loaf pan frozen until Yom Kippur. We can’t have much sugar, so I keep the honey but sub out 0.66 cup of light agave for the 2 cups of sugar and cut back a little on the oil. I used coconut oil (very healthy) and it worked fine. I am not a baker, I have no technique – I just whisked the whole thing together and pour it into the greased pans. Thanks again, Deb.

  478. Blair

    So, crazy question. Do you have a version of the recipe that makes just one loaf? I get nervous about cutting recipes in half and in thirds without knowing what the original recipe is like. I want to try this cak to bring it into the office, since I’ve never had honey cake, but I don’t want a years worth of leftovers lol. Thanks!

  479. Sandy

    I made this today with the 1 tsp baking powder adjustment. I baked some of the batter in regular-sized glass loaf pans and the rest in smaller ceramic loaf pans. For the larger versions, I increased the baking time to 55 minutes. If I took the pans out at the 45-minute mark, I feel they would have fallen. I also sprinkled almonds on top of the batter before baking and they’re really pretty. The only glitch was removing the cakes from the pans. That wasn’t so pretty. I had to loosen them along the 4 sides with a cake spatula and shake them out. Quite a bit of crumb was left on the bottom of the pans. I’m not sure how you get around this, as the cake is sticky due to the honey. The cake is super moist and saturated with the flavor of honey. It’s like a spice cake you’ve drizzled with honey and a hint of orange.

  480. Nancy

    I made this today using a bundt pan and a mini loaf pan (both nonstick metal). It was the best honey cake I’ve ever had but had the same problem as the poster above, cake sticking to the pans, despite liberal spraying with nonstick spray (Pam). Is there something else I should have done to get the cakes out of the pans cleanly? We ended up cutting the cake in the bundt pan because I just couldn’t get it out.

  481. Cookie

    FIX FOR THE CAKE SINKING:
    For those of you that have complained about the cake sinking, I too had that problem the first try w/this recipe. As an expert baker, I believe that the cause is too much liquid & baking powder. To fix this problem, omit the 1/2c of liquid orange juice and replace it with 1 tablespoon of frozen orange juice. Reduce the baking powder from 3 teaspoons to 2 teaspoons.

    Notes:
    1)It’s important to use fresh baking powder. I date mine with a permanent marker on the lid. If it is older than one year it gets tossed.
    2) Grand Marnier is (orange) whiskey & promotes a great flavor!
    3) If you don’t have brewed coffee, you can use 1 tablespoon of instant coffeeinto 8 ounces of water.
    4) If baking for gifts, the dollar store has very cheap prices on aluminum mini and medium sized loaf pans.
    5) Michael’s Craft Store has Jewish themed cellophane gift bags which many people use for candy, but small & med. size loaf pans to perfectly into these bags. You can Scotch tape them closed and tie them with blue and white ribbons. They look beautiful.

    -Hope this helps everyone.

  482. Mark Shulgasser

    As a layer cake, try filling with a spread of peach preserve diluted with coffee or liquor or even lemon juice, then sprinkle with crystallized violets.

  483. Love this post–because I had exactly the same problem, when I adapted the honey cake recipe of another iconic Jewish food writer, Claudia Roden. Reassuring to know that those crazy sinkholes happen to the best of us. (And it still tastes good :-) I’ve also use Marcy Goldman’s recipe, and like it a lot. Ever try dried cranberries? Olive oil? I keep experimenting!

  484. Jeri

    AMAZING recipe! Here are my substitutions:
    1) nutmeg instead of allspice
    2) cranberry juice instead of OJ
    3) spiced rum instead of whiskey/rye
    4) strong tea blend with added apples/orange/ginger (called xmas blend at my local tea shop) instead of just strong coffee/tea
    5) double the vanilla (I always double the vanilla)
    Ps this is my very first comment on any cooking/baking blog :)

  485. Anna

    Made this for Rosh-Hashana ofcourse:-) It was really delicious, even better the next day when i took one to my office and had to scoop peoplw of the floor as they were swooning:-)
    I didn’t have OJ or any other juice for that matter but i did have almond milk so in that went instead and it was great. I also use the adjusted baking powder amount and the cakes domed beautifully – no sinkage.
    Wonderful recipe, and blog!

  486. Susan

    Perfected the GLUTEN FREE VERSION of your amazing cake.
    Substituted coconut oil, added a tsp of guar gum, used mixed “flours” (bit of rice flour, almond flour, garanzo bean flour) that totaled the same as the original recipe, added an extra XL egg, 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce. I also used coconut palm sugar instead of brown or white sugar and a bit less. Came out tasting the same and SUPER MOIST, which is highly unusual for gluten free baked goods. I love your recipe and thank you so much for it. I have probably baked 20 cakes now, maybe 4 gluten free.

  487. Jodi

    I finally finally got around to making this cakes not the hopes of to taking it to my county beekeeper’s holiday meeting. I buttered and floured my nonstick bundt pan but it stuck to the point that the cake ripped in half despite cooking thoroughly and cooling properly before removal. I used a medium golden amber honey from my bees, whiskey, espresso and apple cider as well as 1 tsp. each of baking powder and baking soda. It rose nicely though the overwhelming flavors are the oil, I used a mild EVOO, the baking soda and cloves. What did I miss?

  488. Anita

    I made this with the 1tsp of baking powder & 1tsp of baking soda in an 8 inch round. I left out all the white sugar (and didn’t replace it with anything.) Rose beautifully and stayed that way. Amazing texture!! Takes like an ancient, hearty recipe.

    Possible tip: if you grind about 1tbsp mulling spices (available in lots of places like Whole Foods) in a coffee grinder, you can get some fresh ground spices of the type listed in this recipe.

  489. Rose

    Hi there, thank you for the amazing recipe. do you have any suggestion on type of the honey to have a great fragrance too?
    Jarrah?? red gum??? Manuka Honey?!!

  490. Anne

    Am a devoted fan of your recipes and your writing! Today my kitchen smells UN.BE.LIEV.ABLE thanks to this recipe. 10-15minutes more in the oven and I will get to TASTE this heavenly creation. Thanks for all you do for us at-home bakers/cooks.

  491. Ramya

    Hello from India! I have made this cake four times and it has turned out perfectly every time. This is the most delicious recipe of honey cake which wasn’t even my favorite type of cake until I found this recipe.

  492. Sarah Hendricks

    I just wanted to say, I have made this honey cake for the Jewish New Year every single year since you have posted it, and it has won me friends and fame every. single. time. Truly an astounding recipe! I’ll be making it again this week in celebration and I won’t deny that I’ve been dreaming about it for the past month, since I only make it for the holiday to keep it special. Thank you for posting it!

    1. deb

      Sure, but it makes more sense to 1/3 (for one loaf) or 2/3 (for two loaves) it. To split an egg, you can beat a whole one and use half or in most cases, just the yolk works fine in cakes as a “half” egg.