Spiced Honey Cake

The Recipe: A simple honey-sweetened loaf cake (or a Bundt cake, your choice) rich with warm fall- and cold-weather spices. Is it perfect for Rosh Hashanah? Maybe. But you'll not find me saying so.
The Conversation: Are spices your sprinkles? Me too!
Spiced Honey Cake ♥ KitchenParade.com, sweetened with honey, warm with fall- and cold-weather spices.

No Cultural Appropriation Here

Back in high school, I immersed myself into the mesmerizing world of Chaim Potok's My Name Is Asher Lev. Back in August, I attended my first bat mitzvah, a moving ceremony and right of passage in the Jewish faith.

But honestly? That's the sum total of my personal experience with the faith, culture and and tradition of Judaism, including Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (celebrated this past weekend) where honey cakes symbolize the hope that the coming year will bring much sweetness – you know, like black-eyed peas and greens are eaten in the American South as the calendar turns from one year to the next.

(Hmmm. Honey versus dried beans and bitter greens. I wonder which attracts more fans. But I digress ... )

So you'll understand my hesitancy to presume that this cake would be "perfect" for Rosh Hashanah. The tradition is not mine to own.

Spiced Honey Cake (as a Bundt cake) ♥ KitchenParade.com

But We L-O-V-E This Simple Cake!

Just before supper one recent night, I quick-quick mixed the batter for the umpteenth time in a couple of years. Spiced Honey Cake definitely belongs in that special very last-minute recipe category that my late mother called "Desserts for When Supper Is a Little Skimpy". I keep a special tab in my recipe box, titled just that!

Some times, I make a half-size Bundt cake but mostly I make a simple loaf in a pan from King Arthur that's called a "Danish loaf pan" – a wonderful pan, sadly, that's no longer available and every time I write about it, I check to see if a good substitute has popped up elsewhere. So far, no luck, but the good news is that the batter volume for Spiced Honey Cake fills a standard loaf pan, the one you use for banana bread and other quick breads.

Now know this. Each cake, each loaf, I am tempted to throw something extra into the batter, you know, to jazz it up a little. Tiny bits of crystallized ginger. Or softened dates. Or golden raisins. Or soft coconut. But each time I resist temptation and am glad of it.

Spices for Spiced Honey Cake ♥ KitchenParade.com

You See, Spices Are My Sprinkles

The beauty of this cake is in its simplicity, not just in the making but in the eating. The collection of spices – cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, cloves and allspice – makes it more poetic than plain; the honey – a good measure – more flowery than fussy.

Who needs sprinkles, really, when we have spices? So many recipes, these-a-days, seem to be all Instagram-bound, so much more-more-more stacked atop evenmore-evenmore-evenmore.

Instead, this cake is "spare" in looks but "wondrous" in enjoyment.

Spiced Honey Cake with ice cream ♥ KitchenParade.com

To Learn More?

The Meaning Behind the Symbolic Foods of Rosh Hashanah from Delish
The Spiritual Meaning Of The Food On Your Rosh Hashanah Table from Huffington Post
Honey in Jewish Law, Lore, Tradition, and More from Chabad.org

You'll Love My Spiced Honey Cake If ...

  • you're prone to baking on a whim
  • you're inspired by simple recipes calling for common pantry ingredients
  • you're loathe to haul out the mixer just to make a simple cake
  • you appreciate the flexibility of one recipe = loaf pan or Bundt cake
  • you like to nibble on cake over a few days, a thin slice at a time
  • spices are your sprinkles :-)


  • "I don't know if this is bread or cake but it's very, very good." ~ my 91-year old father
  • Add yours, leave a comment, below!


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 1 quick loaf (the size of banana bread or pumpkin bread, say) or a half-size bundt cake; double recipe for a regular-size bundt cake)
  • 1/2 cup (112g) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs (use 3 if doubling the recipe)
  • 1/2 cup (168g) warm honey
  • 1/2 cup (100g) hot coffee
  • Zest of an orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons liqueur (orange or even coffee liqueur; sherry and masala are also wonderful; a good bourbon? yes I think so!)
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups flour fluffed to aerate before measuring or 220g
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

MIX Heat oven to 350F/180C and place a baking sheet, upside down, on the center rack. Spray a loaf pan thoroughly with baking spray or if using a Bundt pan, Baker's Joy spray.

In a large bowl, use a wire whisk to combine the oil and eggs, then whisk in honey, coffee, orange zest, orange juice and liqueur.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugars, smashing any brown sugar lumps with the back of a heavy spoon. Stir in flour, leavening, salt and spices, stir to combine well.

Stir the sugar-flour mixture into the wet mixture just until combined. Turn into prepared pan.

BAKE Bake for 30 minutes (for a loaf pan) or 45 minutes (a half Bundt pan) or 60 minutes (a full-size Bundt pan). Test for doneness, then if needed, continue baking 5 minutes at a time until done.

COOL Let cake cool on a rack for 10 - 15 minutes (any longer and the cake will become difficult to remove), then run a thin knife along the inside walls of the loaf pan. To release the loaf or cake from the pan, place a baking rack on top of the pan. With one hand, hold the baking rack against the baking pan; then with the other hand, together carefully turn over the baking rack and baking pan. If the cake doesn't release right away, gently lift the pan off the baking rack by an inch or two, then gently whack the pan (sorry, I know "gently whack" is an oxymoron, the action is part strength and half gentleness) onto the rack, once, maybe twice. If that doesn't work, run the knife around the inner side of the pan again and repeat the process.

TO SERVE Slice thin and enjoy, a tiny biteful at a time, tasting the honey, trying to discern each of the individual spices. Or? If you're the men in my household? Top a slice or two with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! For breakfast this week, my husband actually warmed slices of Spiced Honey Cake in butter in a skillet, akin to our usually savory house-staple Fried Bread. No toaster in this house!

MAKE-AHEAD TIPS This cake keeps for a good week and in fact, may well improve over a few days.

VARIATIONS I've used several spice combos but the one listed here is my favorite. Nutmeg also is a good substitute.

ALANNA's TIPS Have you ever cooked with vegetable oil and found that the results, were, well, kinda stinky? Me too! I've learned that vegetable oil, once it's opened, is just not shelf stable! I buy only the smallest bottle and even then, keep an extra bottle or two on hand in case what's opened has turned. How do you know? Just give the oil in the bottle a sniff. If it smells fresh? You're fine. If it doesn't smell fresh? Get rid of it. No orange to squeeze on hand? No problem. I don't always, either. But I do keep a container of frozen orange juice concentrate in the freezer, ready to dole out a tablespoon or two at a time. For this cake, I use 2 tablespoons to substitute for the zest and fresh juice. All you Bundt cake bakers probably know this but if you want a cake to release cleanly from a Bundt pan, Bakers Joy is a cake-saver. In fact, I leave myself a reminder note in both my Bundt pans! For a year now, I've baked pies on a hot baking sheet, in fact, one has become an almost permanent fixture in my baking oven. The direct heat source helps cakes and pies bake more evenly, including the bottom. One cake, I sprinkled raw sugar on top of the loaf before baking; too bad, this didn't product the sparkly, crackly top I'd hoped for. You needn't bother!
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice, assumes 12 slices: 281 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 35mg Cholesterol; 183mg Sodium; 45g Carb; 1g Fiber; 30g Sugar; 3g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & PointsPlus 8 & SmartPoints 12 & Freestyle 12
I suspect my recipe originated with Marci Goldman, it's much similar to hers published on NPR two years ago. So sorry, as many times as I've made Spiced Honey Cake in these last years, playing and adapting, making it my own, I've lost that detail. My Disclosure Promise

Are Spices Your Sprinkles? Savory & Sweet

(hover with a mouse for a description; otherwise click a photo to view the recipe)

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous10/04/2017

    It’s in the oven now. On a whim? I guess that counts.


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna