This decadent honey cake sits at the apex of crumbly and syrupy. And as a bonus to those who care – it is completely gluten free!
Go straight to the Recipe Card or
Read on for recipe relevant information (1 min)
About This Honey Cake Recipe
The flat disc appearance of this honey cake is deceivingly unassuming – it excites the palate as soon as you taste it and defeats any attempt at stopping at one bite.
It is rich and unapologetically sweet, yet surprisingly light. The wholesome grittiness of the polenta and the loose texture of the almond flour used in the batter create a crumbly texture which is then satured by honey syrup infused with lemon and thyme.
Based on personal experience – baking it once is very likely to make you commit to making it again and again, with great regularity.
Ingredients You Will Need
Dry Ingredients: Polenta, almond flour and baking powder. Together they form a tender rubble of a batter base and create the airy texture of the cake which so eagerly absorbs the syrup. Because baking powder is gluten free along with the two flours this cake is a perfect gluten free option.
Wet ingredients: Unsalted butter at room temperature, honey (see notes below), eggs at room temperature, lemon zest.
Finishing syrup: Honey (see notes below), lemon juice to offset the sweetness (if using buckwheat honey consider substituting with orange juice) and thyme (optional, to infuse the syrup). If making the recipe as written you will appreciate the fresh herbal notes of the thyme.
What is The Best Type of Honey to Use in This Recipe?
The potency of the honey flavor depends on the type you use.
A neutral choice would be clover honey, which is quite mild.
Stronger flavored honeys such as wildflower honey will bring about more richness and floral aromas to both batter and syrup.
And if you use buckwheat honey its intense flavor will truly come forth, while the cake will not taste as sweet. This is an excellent choice if you will be baking the cake for Jewish New Year (see notes below).
How to Make Honey Cake – Step-by-Step
- In the first series of steps you create light, airy whipped honey butter using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer or hand mixer. Shown below.
- Next, in a medium bowl you mix the dry ingredients and beat them into the honey butter in increments. A good approach is to beat in about a third of the mixed flours at a time, then one of the eggs, then another third of the dry mix, another egg and so on.
- Finally, you beat in the lemon zest and the batter is ready to be transferred to a parchment paper lined springform pan and placed in a preheated 350 F oven.
- Once the edges of the honey cake have began to shrink away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean you should place it on a wire rack to cool down a bit.
- Next prick the cake all over with a toothpick and make the honey syrup.
- Finally, transfer the cake to a serving plate and pour the warm syrup over it.
- Be sure to alternate adding dry ingredients and one egg at a time as directed. This helps achieve a lighter batter.
- Use the medium speed setting of your electric mixer.
- Do not skip the step where you gently poke tiny holes around the cooled down cake. They help the syrup get distributed better.
- Ideally your honey cake will be almost completely cooled down and the syrup warm, but not hot when you begin pouring it over.
- Be deliberate and try to pour most of the honey syrup around the periphery of the baked cake. It will work its way towards the center without making it soggy.
- Do not discard the thyme you steeped in the honey lemon juice mixture. Use the candied stalks to decorate the cake along with perhaps a sprinkle of slivered toasted almonds or some fresh thyme.
Is This Honey Cake Suitable for Rosh Hashanah?
Absolutely. Even though the batter does not use all purpose flour and brown sugar like many Lekach cakes do, it has the much more important unadultared flavor of honey confidently coming through instead of hiding behind other sweeteners.
In addition, its texture is far superior and very much in line with Levantine confections.
HONEY is an all-important ingredient to any Jewish New Year menu. It symbolizes hope for sweetness to come and most commonly it is served alongside apples or baked into round cakes.
To make it perfectly suited for celebrating Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) work in the traditional spices of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in the batter (about a quarter teaspoon of each or to taste). Caution – more than a tablespoon of spices might be too much.
Also, do not steep thyme in the honey and lemon juice mixture. Instead add a bit of orange zest to infuse the syrup.
TIP: Use a sharp knife to slice the cake. The loose texture will generate lovely cake crumbs held together by the syrup.
Honey Loaf Cakes
You can use this recipe to bake several small cakes in a non-stick mini loaf pan.
How to Store Honey Cake?
Honey, being the one food without an expiration date, helps keep this cake not just moist but in good condition for a few days, even if not refrigerated. For best results make sure that the cake is covered, an airtight container works best.
Can Honey Cake Be Frozen?
Yes, it can. You can make an extra batch of batter and bake two cakes with confidence.
To freeze, allow the cake to stay on its parchment paper lining and as soon as it has absorbed the syrup and cooled off wrap it in a double layer of cling wrap, then one of foil.
Freeze for up to one month. To thaw leave the cake for three to four hours on the counter at room temperature.
You Might Like
- 1 3/4 sticks soft unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 2/3 cups honey
- 1 1/4 cup polenta (cornmeal)
- 2 cups almond flour (almond meal)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme to infuse the syrup, more to decorate if desired
HONEY CAKE & SYRUP
- Line the base of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and lightly grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Beat the butter and honey using the whisk attachment of a mixer until whipped and airy.
- Mix the polenta, almond flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add 1/3 of the mixture to the honey butter and beat. Add one of the eggs and beat. Repeat until you use up the dry ingredietns and eggs. Finally, beat in the lemon zest.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared springform pan, place it onto a baking sheet for ease of handling and bake for 40 minutes.
- When the sides of the cake are brownish and have pulled away from the pan and a toothpick comes out clean, take the cake out and allow it to cool down on a wire rack.
- Once cooled down, using a toothpick prick tiny holes all over the cake. Carefully remove it from the spring form and place it onto a serving plate.
- To make the syrup combine the 1/2 cup honey and lemon juice and bring it to boil. Remove it from the heat and add the thyme, allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes while keeping the syrup warm. Pour over the cake starting from the periphery as the syrup will tend to pool towards the center.
- When the cake has absorbed all the syrup and has cooled down entirely it is ready to serve. Decorate with thyme or slivered almonds.
Rosh Hashanah Variation: If you would like to prepare this honey cake for Jewish New Year make the following substitutions:
- add orange zest insted of lemon zest to the batter
- add 1/4 tsp each of (or to taste) cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
- add orange juice to the syrup instead of lemon juice
- infuse the syrup with orange zest instead of thyme
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 462Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 102mgSodium: 197mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 37gProtein: 8g