Navigate to News section

Never-Fail Honey Cake For the High Holidays

Break the Yom Kippur fast with this easy recipe

Elissa Goldstein
September 13, 2013
Photo by the author
Photo by the author
Photo by the author
Photo by the author

I don’t know about you, but the first thing I want to eat after rushing home from Ne’ilah is something obscenely sweet. My fantasy is to have a handsome but impoverished parson feed me sugary tea from a delicate floral cup whilst I lie supine on the sofa, like a Victorian heroine who has just fainted from a too-tight corset. But since that is impossible (thank you, feminism), and since brewing tea takes too long when you are frantically hangry, I just eat several pieces of honey cake. This is an inadvisible but delicious practice.

Here is the recipe that my family has been using for as long I can remember. It comes from a classic Jewish-Australian cookbook titled, imaginatively, I Love to Eat Jewish (published in 1968 by The Mothers Book Committee of Bialik College). This recipe is easy and delicious, and it has truly never failed me. (Full credit to the author, one Mrs. Nechama Stub of Melbourne.)

I usually make this cake in a round 10-inch springform pan, but a double batch will fill three shallow 9-inch square pans—so you can have one for each night of Rosh Hashanah, and freeze the third in advance for break fast.


2 eggs
1 cup sugar
¾ cup oil (safflower is nice)
¾ cup honey
½ tsp baking soda
½ tspn ground cloves
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup plain flour
1 cup boiling water
Optional: ½ tspn all-spice, ½ tspn cinnamon


Mix eggs with sugar. (I use a hand mixer but you can easily do this with spoon.) Add remaining ingredients in the following order: oil, honey, soda, cloves (or other spices), cocoa and flour. Lastly, add boiling water. (Batter will be quite liquidy.) Pour into greased, lined baking dish. Bake for 50-70 mins at 375 degrees.

Boom. Perfect honey cake. As we say Down Under, “too easy.”

The Recipe

Honey Cake

Honey Cake

Elissa Goldstein is Tablet’s director of audience development. She also produces Unorthodox. Follow her on Twitter here.