Since I published my recipe for Autumn Apple bread on Wednesday, I’ve received several emails asking one of two questions: First, is it ok for non-Jewish people to wish Jews a shana tovah? And second, do I have a favorite recipe for honey cake?
The answer to both questions is the same: Of course! I often wish my non-Jewish friends a Merry Christmas and would be delighted if someone wished me a happy new year in any form. Happy Rosh HaShanah, Happy New Year, Shana Tovah, Shana Tova Umetukeh – it’s all good, and very much appreciated. Rosh HaShanah begins tonight (Monday) at sundown and ends on sundown Wednesday, so if you have the opportunity to wish someone a happy new year during that time by all means do so.
As for the honey cake recipe, below is my favorite. It’s a spiced honey cake topped with caramelized apples and served with vanilla ice cream. Cooked in brown sugar, the apples are a succulent way to combine the apple and honey themes of Rosh Hashanah on one plate. I love how the warm notes of cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg capture the flavors of Fall, and though the ice cream is optional, I’ve never gone without it. How could I resist a spoonful of cool ice cream, warm apples and spiced cake, the ice cream barely beginning to melt as the spoon makes it way to my mouth? Exactly. I plan to serve this dessert tonight with my homemade pumpkin spice lattes – though obviously I had to sample a slice in order to take the photo shown here. It’s a hard life, being a food blogger.
Spiced Honey Cake with Caramelized Apples (My Recipe)
Ingredients: Makes 1 8-inch square cake
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- A few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup warm (not hot) English Breakfast tea
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Optional accompaniments: whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream
For the apples:
- 6 Gala apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2 inch wedges
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 1/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
Put the oven rack in middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat an 8-inch square cake pan with non-stick spray (I used Pam).
In a large bowl, gently whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or using a hand-held mixer, cream the softened butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add the honey, yogurt, tea and vanilla. Mix until combined.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand held mixer on the lowest setting, just until everything is combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake until deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before attempting to remove the cake.
Making the caramelized apples:
While the cake is baking, make the caramelized apples. Peel and core each apple, then cut into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon light brown sugar. Saute apples until almost tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Increase heat to high and gently, but briskly, stir the apples until the sugar melts and apples are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Pour apple mixture onto large plate.
Once the cake has cooled run a thin knife around the edge of the pan, then invert the cake onto a plate and cut into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature, topped with the caramelized apples, along with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream, if desired.
- You can make the caramelized apples 1 day in advance. Allow them to cool completely (uncovered), then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Reheat over low heat before serving, or in a microwave for 20-30 seconds.
- You can make the cake 1 day in advance. Cool it completely (uncovered), then store at room temperature covered loosely with plastic wrap.