Spiced honey ginger cake

It’s Jewish New Year tonight, and traditionally we eat apples dipped in honey for a sweet new year. Honey cake is also traditional. And delicious. As I’ve said before, we don’t have scales, so this is an extremely easy (lazy!) recipe for a very dense, moist, claggy honey cake, made entirely with cups/spoons as measures. So long as you use the same cup for everything, you’ll pretty much be fine. This is a cake that can take some messing around…

It’s also not got any butter or milk in it, which makes it great for friends who can’t eat dairy. This is the version I made today, next time will be slightly different. I like it really dense and treacle-y, but if you prefer a lighter cake, use light brown sugar (or half brown and half white) and leave out the treacle. It’s got lots of ingredients, but don’t be put off – it’s super-easy to make.

2 cups plain flour
Heaped dessert spoon baking powder
3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil (or any other flavourless oil)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup super-dark sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup coffee
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup amaretto (you can use orange juice instead of alcohol if you like)
Grated zest of an orange (which I left out this time because we didn’t have any oranges)
2 tbsp treacle (or one of treacle, one of golden syrup, or extra honey)
Tbsp syrup from a jar of ginger in syrup
5 or 6 balls of ginger in syrup, finely chopped.

Pre-heat oven to about 160 degrees.

This is the easiest recipe in the world. Pick a cake tin. I used a round sandwich tin (9″ I think), but it’s good in a loaf tin, bundt tin, deeper cake tin… Grease the bottom and sides, line base with grease-proof and grease again. Put all of the dry ingredients in a big bowl, and mix. Make coffee, stand honey in hot water, beat eggs. Put all wet ingredients and chopped ginger in another bowl, and mix. Add wet to dry, and beat thoroughly. It will make a very wet batter, not a standard cake mix. Make sure you use plenty of baking powder, and you’ll be fine. Taste.

We didn’t have oranges so I left out the zest, and I didn’t use any orange juice this time. You can substitute ground ginger if you prefer, but I like the bits of ginger running through the cake. Spiced rum is delicious in place of the whiskey and amaretto, but we didn’t have any. The amaretto gives it quite a strong flavour, so leave it out/sub orange juice/extra whiskey if you don’t like it.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Bake. I made two (because we only have one little cake tin), and cooked them differently. This first one went in at 180 degrees and cooked fully in about 15-20mins. I think our oven runs hot. The next one had a bit more batter, and after 15mins was totally raw in the middle but getting quite brown on top, so I turned oven down to 160 and cooked it about another 25mins. So, if your oven runs at normal temperature, about 160/170 degrees for about 45mins should do it. It should be springy to touch like a normal sponge cake, but feel heavier/denser. A skewer/knife in the centre should come out with crumbs but no raw batter. If you use a loaf tin/other deep tin, it’ll take about an hour, and you might need to cover the top with foil for last 15mins of cooking to stop the top catching before the middle is cooked. Leave to cool in the tin for about 15mins and then turn out onto a wire rack. It will keep for days in a tin/double-wrapped in foil.


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