Happy Rosh Hashanah from the Passion for Spices Team!
In Jewish traditions, honey is used to celebrate events in a richly symbolic way. A sweet and spicy honey cake is on the menu for Rosh Hashanah, and many Jewish children eat honey on their first day of school each year. In some Indian traditions, when a child is born, the first thing they taste is honey. As early as the 10th century, there is evidence that Jewish traders traveled to India in search of spices, precious stones, and timber, around the time the Bible says King Solomon was seeking jewels and other materials to build his temple. The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi, Kerala and its beautiful walls are adorned with the history of Jewish folk in India. Coming from a family of spice traders I have experienced some Jewish traditions among families and friends. So here’s a beautiful recipe which creates memories of the scent of spices where everybody can enjoy. We hope the taste of honey and spices brings you good fortune and happiness for the months ahead.
If you’d like to learn about classic Jewish recipes, check out our Celebration of Jewish Traditions cooking class.
Spiced Jewish Honey Cake
Makes 30 Squares
7 oz. Organic Honey
3 1/2 oz. Granulated Sugar
3 1/2 oz. Light Brown Sugar
5 fl oz. Sunflower Oil
3 1/2 fl oz. Strong Brewed Coffee
3 1/2 fl oz. Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
Finely Grated Zest of 1 Orange
2 tbsp. Brandy, or Bourbon Whiskey
10 1/2 oz. Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Sea Salt
2 tsp. Kashmiri Garam Masala
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste
Cooks Notes: If you don’t have Garam Masala, replace it with 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking pan (12 x 8 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch) with baking parchment.
2. Pre-heat a heavy bottom sauce pan on low heat and add the honey, sugars, oil, coffee, orange juice, orange zest, and bourbon. Stirring occasionally, gently heat the mixture until the sugar has dissolved. Then, turn the heat off and let it cool.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the spices and mix well.
4. Mix eggs and vanilla into the honey mixture, and add it to the dry ingredients. Using an electric or regular whisk, beat all the ingredients thoroughly.
5. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is glossy and springy and starting to brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.