December 16, 2014

Honey Cake (Lekakh)

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The ingredients in this Jewish spiced honey cake (lekakh in Yiddish) remind me of fruitcake but without molasses. Honey cake is usually served during Rosh Hashanah. Joan Nathan (I adapted her recipe) says "it's also served at the birth of a son, weddings, and generally all happy occasions".

Although I'm not Jewish, I baked  half a recipe in 8 mini loaf pans and a small 4 x 2 loaf pan to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.

Honey Cake (Lekakh)

1 cup strong brewed coffee
1¾ cups honey
3 tablespoons brandy, optional
4 eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil (I used soft butter)
1 cup dark brown sugar
3½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup chopped toasted almonds or walnuts
½ cup golden raisins
¼ cup chopped candied citron, optional
(I omitted the nuts and increased the chopped citron to ½ cup.)
  • Preheat oven to 300°F. 
  • Grease and line with parchment paper two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. 
  • Heat coffee and honey and bring to a boil; let cool then stir in Cognac if using. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs. Stir in oil and brown sugar. 
  • In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and ground spices. Stir in nuts, raisins, and citron if using. 
  • Stir the flour mixture and honey mixture alternately to the egg mixture. 
  • Pour batter into prepared pans. 
  • Bake for 70 minutes. 
  • Transfer into a wire rack and let rest for 10 minutes; remove  from pans and let cool completely. Serve after 24 hours so that the flavor of honey has a chance to develop.


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