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A while ago a friend asked me for a honey cake recipe for Rosh Hashanah.

But not just any old honey cake recipe. She said she’d had enough mediocre and even unpleasant honey cakes to last a lifetime. Complaining that most cakes were too dry, too sweet, too heavily spiced, or not spiced heavily enough, she asked me for the perfect recipe. She even threatened to swear off honey cake altogether if I didn’t give her one.

Well, I couldn’t let that happen.


I’m sharing my version of honey cake just in time for Rosh Hashanah. It’s moist, perfectly sweet without being cloyingly so, and spiced just right. Something a bit unusual about honey cakes, which are traditionally served for Rosh Hashanah in hopes that they will bring a sweet New Year, is that many recipes call for either coffee, tea, or juice to add complexity to the cake’s flavor. I prefer coffee, which is what I used here, but you could play around with tea or juice if you prefer.

While testing, I also made this cake and topped  itwith apple pie jam instead of mixed berry jam…it was fantastic! I think peach jam would be great too. Or if you prefer, a honey glaze is also nice; to make it, start with 1 cup of powdered sugar, use a fork to mix in 2 tablespoons of liquid honey, and then add water a little at a time until it reaches your desired glaze consistency (about 2 tablespoons).

Note that you can easily make this a two-layer cake by doubling the amount of everything (except the jam), and baking the batter in two 9-inch round cake pans. Or you can double the recipe and bake it in a 9 by 13-inch pan; just be sure to increase the bake time as necessary.

Before I left the States, I made this cake for my friend to sample. It won her complete seal of approval, and I was happy as a lark knowing I saved her from the tragedy of never again having honey cake grace her lips. :)


Jam-Topped Spiced Honey Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 (9-inch round or 8-inch square) cake, about 8 to 10 servings
  • 1¼ cups (150 g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) canola oil
  • ½ cup (120 ml) honey
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) strong coffee, cooled
  • ¾ cup mixed berry jam (or any flavor of jam you want), for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350F; butter and flour 1 (9-inch) round cake pan, then line the bottom with a 9-inch round piece of parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and cardamom in a medium bowl.
  3. Beat together the canola oil, honey, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and coffee in a large bowl.
  4. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add the dry ingredients to the wet ⅓ at a time; be careful not to over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping with jam.
A Note on the Jam: I used a fruit-sweetened mixed berry jam, which had a pleasantly sweet-tart flavor, unlike most jams which are very sweet. The sweet-tart flavor was a nice compliment to the sweet spiced cake and I thought ¾ cup of jam was perfect; however, when I made this cake and topped it with much sweeter apple pie jam, I reduced the amount of jam to ½ cup. Note that you may want to taste your jam and if it’s very sweet, reduce the amount to ½ cup.
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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  1. uh…tell me more about this apple pie jam!!! :)
    great cake.

  2. Hi, Faith! Not sure if you remember me from EZ’s Recipes… two years and one divorce later I am back to blogging with a new blog name. I’ve missed being a part of the community and am so happy to be back. I just wanted to stop by and say hello! :)


  3. Oh, I forgot to ask how long this would stay fresh? Would it have to be served immediately once the jam is applied? Thanks!!

    1. Khadijah, I really love fig and honey together, and I think this cake would be wonderful topped with fig jam! Without the jam topping, the cake will stay fresh for up to 5 days; if it’s very hot/humid, let the cake cool completely, then wrap it and store it in the fridge. If it’s cooler out, cover the cake and store it at room temperature. Top with jam before serving. Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

  4. I’ve never tried this cake, but it looks wonderful! Do you think fig jam (it’s not super sweet) would be good on this?

  5. I’m not usually much for cake, but I could get behind this one! mmm- love the jam on touch. Its like a honey jam sandwich in cake form!

  6. Surely divine! Perfect with a good cup of tea of coffee.



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