‘There’s honey in store for you, big stuff’ sings someone in Leonard Bernstein’s Fancy Free (1944). (Photo by Suzie Maeder)
Elbie Lebrecht wonders what would have been Bernstein’s favourite New Year/Rosh HaShanah cake. Was it his mother’s apple cake or his grandmother’s honey cake? Bernstein was a man of great passions. He would not have been neutral on this existential issue.
I’m betting on his granny’s honey cake.
Honey cake recipes follow a classic theme. The ingredients are obviously honey, eggs, flour, sugar and oil with a generous dash of bicarbonate of soda to to give it a boost and a handful of chopped nuts sprinkled liberally on top. Simple to prepare and always scrumptious. Here is how you do it:
6 ozs (175 g) plain flour
3 ozs (75 g) fine caster sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice for baking
8 ozs (225 g) honey
3.5fl oz (100 ml) sunflower oil
3.5 fl oz (100 ml) orange juice
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda/ baking soda
handful chopped walnut or flaked almonds
- Preheat oven 350°F / 180°C (but 165°C for fan oven)/ Gas 4
- Mix together flour, sugar, spices and make well in centre
- Add honey, oil, eggs. Mix well together until smooth.
- Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in orange juice (it will fizz up) and stir into flour mixture
- Pour into baking tin lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment
- Sprinkle your choice of nuts over the even surface
- Bake for around 50 minutes until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle of the cake. All ovens are different as to how hot they actually are so keep a carful eye on the cake and if it seems to be in danger of burning around the edges put a loose sheet of foil on top so that it will continue to cook on the inside but not on the top
Happy New Year!