Auntie Cici’s Honey Cake
There are two times a year filled with the magic of anticipation – spring and fall. Spring is about the thaw of snow, anticipation, and Passover, matzoh, and the ten commandments. Fall is cozy sweaters, warm drinks, crispness, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. As we approach the holidays this year, we’re excited to share a recipe from Gillian’s family: her great Auntie Cici’s Honey Cake. The fall recipes from the Sonin side of her family are the most pungent in her memory: apple cake, kreplach, chicken fricassee, honey cake. Gillian learned how to cook Jewish food after her Grandma Lil died, but Lil and Cici (who were sisters) are in every honey cake she makes. It is through recreating her family’s recipes – the originals were lost – that Gillian fell in love with Jewish cooking, and ultimately was brought to the Wandering Chew. In tinkering with their classic Jewish recipes, adding a bit more of this, a bit more of that, the women in her family have come back to her. Their recipes will now be able to continue for generations to come, and their memories will always be a blessing. Shana Tova!
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
4 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups liquid honey (not the fancy kind)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strong cold coffee
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a fluted bundt pan that is not too ornate. You don’t want to use a bundt pan with too many crevices.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer running, add the oil to the eggs and sugar mixture in a slow stream. Add the vanilla extract and honey, mix until everything is blended. Finally, add the coffee and mix until combined.
Add half the dry ingredients to the bowl, and using the mixer, mix until just combined. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until fully combined and there are no lumps in the batter. You’re going to have a thin, runny batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack and let cool for about 20 minutes, then unmold the cake onto a serving plate and let the cake cool completely. Unmolding the cake is always a nerve wracking process, to help this process along gently run a butter knife around the edge of the pan to help loosen the cake, and make sure the cake isn’t too hot when trying to unmold it.
The cake is best eaten on day two or three when the honey has had a chance to migrate south and creates a delicious sticky bottom and the flavours have had time to deepen. Some people love it from the fridge, some room temp. Either works! Shana Tova!