Honey Cake

Honey Cake

Honey cake is a traditional treat when celebrating the Jewish New Year but its spicy, sweet flavor makes it popular throughout the year.  This honey cake recipe is from New York baker Claire Sauerhoff and it makes two loaves of a lightly spicy cake with a fine crumb. 

The use of brewed tea adds body and complexity to the honey's sweet flavor.  Brew the tea by placing a single tea bag in 3/4 cup boiling water and let it sit until the tea is dark.  Use a black tea, such as English Breakfast or a plain Lipton's tea bag.  Do not use a fragrant, flavored or herbal tea as this will distort the flavor of the finished cake.

As for the Cognac or brandy, do the same as when cooking with wine -- use one that is good enough to drink because it will make a difference in the final flavor.  If you prefer to not use alcohol, you can substitute more of the brewed tea or else use orange juice.

Instead of making loaves, you can bake a single cake in a tube pan.  If you do this, the cake may take 5 or so minutes longer to cook but check it often so to not over bake.  Also, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper to help it be easily removed after it's cooled for a while in the pan.

A tip:  because honey is sticky and tricky to measure because it's easy to leave too much behind in the measuring cup, first measure the oil and then use the same cup to measure the honey.  The slightly oily surface left behind on the sides of the measuring cup will mean the honey will easily decant.



  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Prepare two glass or metal loaf pans by greasing them with non-stick spray, vegetable oil, or butter.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and oil together until well mixed. You can do this by hand with a large whisk or with an electric mixer on a low speed.
  4. Add the sugar to the egg mixture and combine.
  5. Add honey and brandy and mix well until combined and smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and ginger) so that all the dry ingredients are blended.
  7. Add the dry ingredients and brewed tea, alternating the flour and tea (this helps it combine completely and more easily) to the egg mixture and mix until well blended. Use a spatula to make sure that nothing is left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly liquid.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans, filling each about 3/4 full.
  9. If using the almonds, scatter them over the top of the batter-filled pans and immediately place in the oven.
  10. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until the top springs back when touched in the center.
  11. Let stand 15 minutes before removing from the pan and let cool completely before slicing. If the loaves stick a bit and don't easily come out of the pan, just run a knife around the inside surface of the pan and give the cake a bit of shake and it will come loose.





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