Monday, October 3, 2011

Moist Honey Cake

I generally only eat honey cake once a year, but it is one of my favorite simple cakes. I've always loved the flavor of honey cake, but found most cakes to be on the dry side (though this never stopped me from eating them). This recipe is the prefect combination of a rich, spiced flavor and moistness. This was also my first attempt at a homemade honey caked and I was thrilled with the results. The cake was better than the ones my local Jewish bakery makes and I have never tried such a moist honey cake until I baked this recipe. I made this cake for both of the Rosh Hashana dinners I went to and it was a hit at each meal. At one of the dinners, there were a couple of honey cakes in the dessert spread and this was by far the moistest.

After trying this recipe, I will definitely be making honey cake more than once a year. Even though this cake is traditionally made for the Jewish New Year, it would be great for any autumn or winter occasion with its cinnamon and honey flavors. It's also really easy to whip together and only uses one bowl, which is always a plus in my book. It may seem like you need a lot of ingredients at a glance, but many of them are things you probably already have at home. Another perk to a cake like this is that you can have it any hour of the day. If there is cake leftover the morning after I bake a batch, I love having a slice with a cup of tea (or coffee if that's your preference). You can also keep this cake for a few days and it will still stay moist, just make sure you wrap it in plastic wrap.

Recipe from Marcy Goldman's A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking via Smitten Kitchen

Makes 2 large loaf pans, 3 smaller loaf pans, two 9" or 10" rounds, or 1 tube/bundt cake pan

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rye or whiskey

Preheat your oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Generously grease your cake form(s) with cooking spray (Deb of Smitten Kitchen notes that you should line the bottom of a bundt or tube pan with parchment paper before greasing).

Using a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Make a well in the center of this mixture. Add the remaining ingredients into the well (measure the oil before the honey so the honey will pour out of the measuring cup easily). Use a heavy duty whisk to mix the batter together. Mix until it is smooth, making sure to get any dry ingredients that may stick to the bottom or sides of the bowl.

The batter will be liquidy, so it might be easiest to spoon the batter into your cake forms if your bowl does not have a spout. Fill your cake forms. Bake the cakes on 2 baking sheets stacked together (this ensures the cakes bake properly).

Bake until the cake is done. To check if the cakes are done, gently press the center of the cake, if it springs back, the cake is done. I used loaf pans and they took 50 to 55 minutes. For a tube or bundt, it will take 60 to 75 minutes. If using something flatter, like a sheet cake form, bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Allow cake to cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

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