Grandma Rose's Honey Cake

1 loaf
1 hr

A Jewish New Year tradition, downy and bursting with honey flavor, scented with comforting fall spices, this cake is pure joy. Bake it any time!

I must admit, I’m a wee loathe to give this one up. But it’s sooo good, I think the world should enjoy the yumminess that is my Grandma’s Honey Cake.

Growing up my mom would make a Honey Cake yearly for Rosh Hashanah, aka the Jewish New Year. The point, the tradition is that eating something sweet would ensure a sweet, good year. 

And though this is considered a holiday treat, no need to box in the thinking; it’s good any time. Guess I should apply my own advice to myself here, ahem.

Right, so, this came from my mom, given to her by my Grandma who found it in a plastic-spiraled booklet entitled “Our Recipes ‘n’ Tips” from the Suburban Hills Chapter of the Womens’ (sic) American ORT. 

It's incredibly easy to make, a mix, pour, and bake. Less than ten minutes from start to hitting the oven.

Be sure to check out the ever-growing cake section over on The Bake Dept!

I normally make this recipe as a loaf but did a little fancy footwork reworking and turned them into mini muffins with apples and walnuts so there are options!

Check out the blog post for all the details there!

My Grandma was an impressive and gracious woman, always caring for others and clearly busy. I got that busy gene from her too then, who knew. But that’s a lot to live up to!

To make this recipe myself, to share not only the baked cake but to share the recipe with you carries on her bountifully big heart. 

I love this Honey Cake, I truly truly do. It's filled with warmth, love, my Grandma's memory, and hope. I'll be sure to double the recipe this year -- double the good, right?!

Happy baking!

Recipe details
  • 1  loaf
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 50 Minutes Total time: 1 hr
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  • 1 1/2 cups (187 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (99 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) honey
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) coffee (cooled or ginger ale or wine)
  • 1 large egg
  • optional:
  • 1 cup apple (113 g, finely diced, or 1/4 cup [64 g] unsweetened applesauce)
  • 1/3 cup (38 g) walnuts (chopped)

Line a 9”x5” loaf pan with parchment paper and give the paper a light dusting of cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350° F or 176° C.
Sift the dry ingredients into a small bowl using a fine mesh strainer, excluding the sugar.
In a glass measuring cup, add the honey and coffee, stirring with a fork to mix together well.
Beat the oil and sugar in a mixer for about 2 minutes, scrape the bowl down. Add the egg and beat until combined.
Starting with the flour mix, add a third to the mixer on low speed then half the coffee/honey blend. Alternate until everything is in the bowl, stir on low until just combined.
Turn the mixer off and give the batter a few stirs by hand with a nonstick spatula to make sure everything is nicely mixed. Stir in the optional ingredients by hand at this time, if desired.
Pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, up to an hour, or until a toothpick tester is clean (save a few moist crumbs).
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and remove to a rack to cool completely. The cake is best served the next day.
To make mini muffins:
Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray (with flour would be most ideal) and with a soup spoon, fill each well about 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until a toothpick tester is clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the muffins to a rack to cool completely.
If you don’t have the spray with flour, you may need a spoon to ease the muffins from the pan.
  • Be sure to visit this post at The Bake Dept for all the tips and details!
Becky at The Bake Dept
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  • Love the recipe but wax paper in the oven? I only use parchment paper. Wax paper is going to melt into the cake?

    • Becky at The Bake Dept Becky at The Bake Dept on Apr 16, 2023

      I surely copied the recipe as my Grandma had written it and as she was cost-conscious, likely used wax paper. That's probably what was available to her at the time. Parchment is what I use and the way to go. Thanks!