Friday, September 11, 2015

Honey Cake with Apples and Toasted Walnuts


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. 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 all 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 taiglach. Now that was my favorite. I used to make it when the kids were young, but they didn't like that. So what is taiglach you may ask? Taiglach 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 the honey 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. And lest you forget, I am on the Costa Rican beach diet!



But back to honey cake. 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 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 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 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. It is full of flavor and improves with age. (Just like me!) 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.

My inspiration:
Baking Bird - Earl Grey Honey Cake
Smitten Kitchen - Majestic Honey Cake


Honey Cake with Apples and Toasted Walnuts
Time to Make: About 30 minutes to make and 40 minutes to bake
Yield: 2 - 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and 1 4 x 6
Servings: 16-20
Ingredients:
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!)

Directions:
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!

Other sweet things:
Honey and Cream Baked Bread
Halvah Stuffed Baked Apples
Apple Brown Sugar Sharlotka
Mandel Bread or Jewish Biscotti
Salted Honey Rose Tart











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35 comments:

  1. Ooh, I want a slice of your honey cake AND your mom's taiglach! YUM! Happy New Year, Abbe.

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    1. I'll have to work on that taiglach, Liz! Thanks for the wishes!

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  2. This is a perfect Fall dessert, Abbe. The cake has a really moist and perfect crumb.

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    1. Very moist, Angie! Perfect crumb! Thanks Angie!

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  3. Um, this sounds divine Abbe. I've been sick all week and need some comfort food...which means easy too. Might just have to whip up a loaf just for me!

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    1. Nice to hear from you Barb! Hope you feel better soon. The weather is so gorgeous, it is not good if you don't feel good.

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  4. I'm not a tea or coffee drinker but I would love to make this because it looks so good. Are you able to taste the tea much?

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    1. You really don't taste the tea. It is subtle but gives some depth, I think. Feel free to use apple or orange juice.

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  5. I love all these apple recipes coming out now :) Gotta love apple season! This honey cake looks delicious!

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  6. You can tell my looking at the photos that it's moist! This is just the kind of sweet bread that I love.

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  7. L'Shana Tova~

    Abbe some people recover perfectly from strokes..I wish it for your dear friend..
    Have you read My Stroke Of Insight?
    It is an excellent book..Dr Jill Bolte Taylor..you can hear her speak on YouTube also..
    You are so right in saying life can change in one moment..we have examples everywhere..personalities to just us..
    Carpe Diem.
    Enjoy that honey cake..enjoy baking it♥
    Looks great!

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    1. She is doing well, but it will take some time. I'm going to check out that YouTube and thanks you SO much, Monique.

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  8. I can't believe I've never heard of Honey Cake! Time to change THAT! :) This looks absolutely delightful - Nagi @RecipeTin Eats

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    1. I for see change in your life Nagi! This is so good!

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  9. I think I deleted my last comment - if this is a duplicate please delete - anyway - the cake looks wonderful - I think it sounds great without the chocolate chips, and I can't believe I wrote that. Love the grated apple and honey is always a favorite of mine. It looks very moist and delicious. Beautiful photos too! Hope your friend recovers well and fast. Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Thanks Tricia. She is, but it will take time. This is a great quick bread, cake, whatever! Coming from you that my photos are good is a real compliment!

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  10. You're so right, life is so short and we have to appreciate every minute and every person. So sorry to hear of your friend, that had to be a shock. Your honey cake looks and sounds amazing - so wishing I had a slice to enjoy right now!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Chris. This goes perfect with tea! Or bourbon!

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  11. Wow! This honey apple cake looks divine. And toasted walnut and apple on top looks adorably delish. Lovely share Abbe! :)

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    1. The walnuts toasted really highlight the cake. Well, I think walnuts should always be toasted. They are so good that way!

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  12. I've never had a legit honey cake, but I have no doubt that I would love it! Sounds absolutely delicious. And so sorry to hear about your friend..wishing her a speedy recovery!

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    1. And you live in New York? Thanks for the wishes, Joanne.

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    1. Next time I'm going to try adding an entire tea bag. I love the flavor of Earl Grey.Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Beautiful cake Abbe, looks very moist. So sorry about your friend.....

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  15. Ooh I have never made honey cake but it sounds amazing! So perfect for autumn with the apples and walnuts - I love how grated apple is added into the batter too <3

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    1. The apple keeps it really moist. And the spices make it delish! Thanks Claudia for stopping by!

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  16. Your honey cake sounds delicious - a perfect fall dessert!

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    1. It is Beth and a fun new cake for a lot of people. It would be great with a bourbon glaze, also!

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  17. We have a road trip planned tomorrow and I might just have to make this cake to snack on. :)

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    1. I love road trips, Pamela! Especially with good road food. Have fun!

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  18. This looks and sounds delish! Hope you had a great holiday Abbe!

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