This Honey Cake Recipe with Apples and Toasted Walnuts is the perfect cake to welcome the Jewish New Year. Full of flavor, this is the best honey cake I’ve ever made!
Every year I make honey cakes.
Every year I always think it can be improved upon. BUT NOT THIS YEAR!
Maybe that’s a sign that this year, will be a good year.
The Jewish Honey Cake is more than a dessert; it’s a piece of history lovingly passed down through generations.
As Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, approaches, this cake takes center stage, symbolizing a sweet and prosperous year ahead.
The combination of honey, apples, and warm spices pays homage to the flavors that define this holiday.
Unlike the Russian honey cake with all of its layers, this simple loaf cake isn’t just for special occasions.
And though there are many versions of this simple honey cake, I love that this one contains not a cup of coffee, but almost a cup of tea.
What makes this honey cake recipe different?
I love the flavor that the tea gives and I think it makes this cake just a bit more delicate.
And if you don’t want bourbon, feel free to use more tea, apple juice or orange juice.
Honey lovers can make many versions of the cake by switching up the flavor of the honey.
Wildflower honey or clover honey is quite common, but imagine using orange honey and incorporating some orange zest into the cake.
Or macadamia honey along with macadamia nuts, instead of walnuts.
You get the idea, right?
Want to jazz up the top of the cake?
I often see it sprinkled with sliced almonds and that’s OK, too.
The final product is a very moist cake that makes a sweet treat for the new year.
With its golden brown color this is the best honey cake recipe I know of.
How To Make This Honey Cake Recipe:
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, consisting of all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, allspice, ground cinnamon and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together.
Canola or sunflower oil combined with honey, sugar, and dark brown sugar, 3 large eggs at room temperature, vanilla extract, Earl Grey tea and bourbon not only provide flavor, but also provide everything needed to make a very moist honey cake.
With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
To the batter, add a grated Granny Smith apple—an homage to the harvest season and a nod to the tradition of dipping apples in honey for a sweet new year.
The toasted walnuts, with their earthy crunch, provide a delightful contrast to the tender crumb of the cake.
The cake batter needs to sit for an hour before baking so that the flour mixture hydrates well.
Grease two full size loaf pans well and do not fill more than halfway.
Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
Bake about 45 minutes until the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out fairly clean.
Cool on a wire rack.
The end result should be the perfect honey cake recipe.
And if you want the perfect fall cake, not just a cake for Rosh Hashana, this one complete with Fall spices, should more than suffice.
Lots of honey flavor in this cake and if you want, feel free to drizzle a little more honey over the top.
This delicious honey cake keeps well covered with plastic wrap and it also freezes well.
The Jewish Honey Cake is more than the sum of its ingredients; it’s a connection to the past, a celebration of the present, and a hope for the future.
Take a moment to appreciate the stories it holds and the joy it brings to your table.
This is not just a cake; it’s a reminder that some recipes are made of memories, and every bite is a taste of tradition.
Personally I never liked honey cake as a child, but I think it is because my mother used a boxed mix.
Had she made this, I think she may have had better results!
(Below is the original post from 2015. Unfortunately, I just received news that this same person just had another stroke. She pulled throught the last one and I am hopeful, this will happen again.)
However it could have started with better news. I just heard from a dear friend of mine (who is really family) that she had a stroke.
She doesn’t live in this country, so I am feeling totally helpless about what to do.
It is painful just sitting here, wishing I could be there to help.
She sounds good on the phone, but I know she will have a lot of recovery to do.
I could become philosophical, but I will spare you. Let’s all appreciate what we have and be grateful.
Life can change at the drop of a hat.
For better or for worse though, life does have a way of moving on.
Sometimes it may seem that it is standing still, but that’s when the joke is on us.
I’m grateful that I’ve reached this season and I hope you are too. And I said I’d spare you!
As a child, honey cake was never my favorite.
In fact, the only way I remember honey cake was from a Manischewitz boxed mix and baked in a foil pan.
I didn’t like it. My mom always made teiglach.
Now that was my favorite. I used to make it when the kids were young, but they didn’t like that.
So what is teiglach you may ask?
Teiglach are baked cookie dough pieces that after baking, are then cooked in a mixture of honey and ginger.
My mom always made hers like strudel. She’d roll the dough out thin and then sprinkle raisin and nuts on top.
Then it would be rolled up jelly roll style, sliced, pinched together and then baked.
After that it would be cooked in a honey and ginger syrup.
Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.
I really must make these again, but the problem is that I know I will be the one eating them all.
But back to this honey cake recipe.
Honey cake is really a spice cake made with honey.
It isn’t a rich cake. I bake mine in a loaf pan, but it could also be baked in a rectangular pan.
It is not meant to be frosted.
Honey cake is made with vegetable oil instead of butter.
If one does keep kosher, it means you can eat this with either a dairy or a meat meal.
It is made to be served with coffee or tea and coffee or tea can be used interchangeably in the recipe.
You could add raisins or chocolate chips. This year I added apples.
After all, apples and honey, that may sound funny, but they will make the new year, sweet and sunny. OK.
That was a kid’s song we used to sing, and I guess I still do. Every frickin’ year!
This really is the best honey cake recipe I’ve made.
I used bourbon in it and strong Earl Grey tea. I added a grated apple which though you can’t taste it; it did make this very moist.
Oh. I also upped the honey.
Love the extra honey in this! I also love drizzling more honey on top.
And I added toasted walnuts. I could have added chocolate chips but I stuck with tradition.
One slice of this lekach is perfect with afternoon tea and one slice is perfect for breakfast.
And yes, you can rearrange the spices in this.
I’m sure pumpkin spice would taste great and if you aren’t a huge fan of cinnamon, then just decrease it.
Honey cake is moist and homey.
Perfect for Fall. Great toasted and slathered with butter; just be careful it doesn’t fall apart.
This honey cake recipe is full of flavor and improves with age.
It makes a great snack and makes 2-3 cakes, so one can always be waiting in the freezer.
This is so much better than the honey cake of my youth.
But it sure doesn’t beat teiglach!
L’Shana Tova to all my friends and family. Happy New Year and may this year be a blessing.
Other sweet things:
This honey cake with Earl Grey tea and apples is just a delicious and moist honey cake.
3 1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
4 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 t ground allspice
1/2 c canola or sunflower oil
1 1/2 c honey (your favorite flavor)
1 c sugar
1/2 c dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 c strongly brewed Earl Grey tea, cooled or cooled coffee
1/4 c bourbon, orange or apple juice
1 Granny Smith apple grated
1 c toasted walnuts, chopped (I place nuts in a pie tin and then bake them for about 10-15 minutes at 350, until you smell them. That means they are getting close to toasted, so watch carefully!)
Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Whisk oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, tea and bourbon together. Slowly stir into dry ingredients. Mix well.
Stir in grated apple and nuts. Let batter sit about 1 hour before filling pans.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease your loaf pans well. Fill greased loaf pans about 1/2 way. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. A toothpick inserted into center of cake should come out fairly clean and cake should be pulling away from sides. Let cool on rack. Run knife around edges and turn out onto serving plate. Drizzle with more honey and serve with apple wedges. Have a sweet year!
Keywords: honey cake recipe, lekach, honey cake