In the Kitchen Nosh News

For Break-Fast: Try a take on honey cake

For many Jews the mere mention of honey cake has them rolling their eyes. But here are two new takes on the traditional not-always-beloved High Holiday treat – both of which are made with silan (date honey) – that can add a bit of excitement to your break-fast meal.


From Ronnie Fein (The Nosher via JTA) – Until recently, Ronnie Fein, a freelance food and lifestyle writer and author of four cookbooks, used her Aunt Belle’s honey cake recipe. But then, she says, “I discovered date honey. It changed everything.”

“Date honey, called silan throughout the Middle East, isn’t actually honey made by bees, although it is nearly as thick, sweet and viscous. It’s a syrup made from dates and has a more robust flavor than bee honey. It tastes almost like liquid dried fruit, and I’m thrilled with it. I’ve used it on top of yogurt and ice cream, pancakes and such. I serve it with sliced apples on Rosh Hashanah. Silan is one of the seven species mentioned in the Torah (Deuteronomy 8:8) and most scholars say it is date honey, not bee honey, that the Bible means when it speaks of “the land of milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).”

If you can’t find date honey in your local supermarket, try a mid-Eastern market or buy one of several kosher brands that are available online.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated fresh orange peel
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon peel
1 cup date honey
1/2 cup cold, strong coffee
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, then lightly grease the paper. Set the pan aside. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, orange peel and lemon peel together in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk the date honey, coffee and vegetable oil together and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Stir in the honey mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and blend it in thoroughly. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert on a cake rack to cool completely.

The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at



From Lior Lev Sercarz

Lior Lev Sercarz is the owner of La Boite, an upscale spice shop in New York, and author of The Art of Blending and the forthcoming The Spice Companion. For Sercarz, who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel, the High Holidays are all about family and this honey cake recipe, he says, “is my take on a favorite food from my childhood from around this time. I add spices like I do in all of my cooking, use silan (date honey) to modernize the recipe and reflect the season, and olive oil to connect my family here in New York City to my father’s groves back home in the Galilee.”

2 extra large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup silan, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
Juice of 1 orange plus zest
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Reims N.39 or 1 1/2 teaspoons each ground ginger and nutmeg
1 tablespoon whole anise seed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Cream the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes or until lighter in color and texture. Mix together all dry ingredients (except sesame seed) in a bowl and preheat oven to 350 F. Add the pomegranate juice, olive oil, 3/4 cup silan, orange juice and zest to the eggs and sugar; stir well to combine. Gently incorporate the dry ingredients, mixing until it just comes together – a few lumps are OK. Pour into 2 greased or lined 8-inch loaf pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool and brush the tops with the reserved silan; sprinkle sesame seeds on top.

Tips on baking a Shavuot cheesecake (and recipes, too)
Beyond hamantaschen: Traditional Purim dishes tell the story of Diaspora life
Great holiday gift: The Pineapple

Leave Your Reply