Classic Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

Sep 14, 2017  |  By Sarah Gold

Rosh Hashanah simply wouldn’t be complete without a delicious, sticky honey cake to serve up for breakfast, dessert, or afternoon tea throughout the holiday. A decadent combination of sweet honey and warm spices, it’s great with coffee after a long morning at synagogue and for me, it’s the true taste of the Jewish New Year!

rosh hashanah honey cakeThis recipe is the hands-down favorite at our office, so we highly recommend it for Rosh Hashanah. Some recipes are bland, too-sweet or (gasp) even dry, but this one is perfect. It’s traditional to break the Yom Kippur fast on honey cake too, so consider doubling up and sticking one in the freezer.

Remember: honey cake ripens and gets better with age, so feel free to make it a couple of days ahead of the holiday – it will keep and improve. This recipe has been shamelessly stolen from

Majestic and Moist Honey Cake

Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking


3 1/2 cups (440 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
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.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s). For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.
  • In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice). Make a well in the center, and add the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee or tea, orange juice and rye/whiskey.
  • Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, mix 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.
  • Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake’s 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 for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

Happy baking and enjoy!