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Moist and Tender Honey-Applesauce Cake

in Diana's Recipe Book

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(total ratings: 22)
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Servings: Makes 3 loaf cakes or 1 bundt or tube cake
Rosh Hashanah-Jewish New Year
Celebrated this year (2012) from sundown September 17th to sundown September 25th.

I created this recipe for Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake after searching "high and low" for an easy yet scrumptious dessert to serve at our Rosh Hashanah dinner this year. I finally gave up on all of the honey cake recipes I looked at (and there are a zillion of them out there!!) and decided to create my own Moist and Tender Honey-Applesauce Cake recipe from scratch. Since apples and honey are such a big part of the Jewish New Year meal, what better type of dessert to make than a cake that incorporates both of these wonderful "sweet" foods.

My husband Kenny says, "the cake is sweet, but not too sweet, and has just the perfect texture and is moist and just a little bit spongey", which he likes in a cake. He also says to mention that it goes so well with a nice cup of coffee.

I have to agree with him, taking a bite of the cake and then a sip of coffee is heaven. I am sure you'll love this cake too. It will definitely make your New Year start off on a "sweet" note.

One word of advice though, do NOT leave out the applesauce as this is what makes this cake so moist and delicious.

L' Shanah Tovah, ("for a good New Year")....Diana

Dry Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground allspice

Liquid Ingredients:
1 cup clear honey
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup strongly brewed tea, cooled to room temperature
3 large eggs
1/4 cup orange liqueur or orange juice
1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional Ingredients:
1/2 cup raisins, golden or dark
1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped almonds or walnuts (or other nuts of your choice)

Topping: (optional)
Confectioners' sugar
Sliced or slivered almonds or chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Lightly grease or spray a 9 or 10-inch tube, angel food or bundt cake pan, or three (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans. If you are using an angel food, tube or loaf pans, line the pan (s) with parchment paper and lightly grease or spray parchment paper also. (Note: Because of the design of a bundt style pan, it cannot be lined with parchment, so this type of pan MUST be lightly greased with butter or shortening, or sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray).

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix well.

In a small bowl, combine honey with oil. Add honey/oil mixture to dry ingredients and whisk in the remaining liquid ingredients in the order stated above. Add raisins and chopped nuts if using. Combine thoroughly.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan (s) and bake in preheated 350 degree F (180 C) oven for 60 to 70 minutes if using a tube, angel food or bundt pan. If using three loaf pans, bake cakes for 45 to 55 minutes. Cake (s) should spring back when lightly pressed when done and when cake tester inserted in cake comes out clean.

Remove cake (s) from oven and leave in pan (s) for 10 minutes before inverting onto wire rack (removing parchment paper) to cool completely. For best flavor, make the cake (s) the day before you are going to eat them. Wrap cake (s) in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

When ready to serve, transfer cake to serving plate and dust top with confectioners' sugar and sprinkle with sliced or slivered almonds or chopped walnuts, if desired.

Makes one (9 or 10-inch) tube or bundt cake, or three (8 x 4-inch) loaf cakes.

Note: Cake may also be made in a rectangular 9 x 13-inch baking pan. If making in this size pan, bake cake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Although this cake tastes best a day or two after baking, it also tastes very nice after being frozen and thawed. This is a cake that freezes well. To freeze, wrap cooled cake (s) in aluminum foil and then wrap in plastic wrap and place in a zip-loc bag; seal, label and date. Cake will keep 4 to 6 months in the freezer.

To Thaw and Serve:
Thaw cake at room temperature, covered, 3 to 4 hours.

Honey Tips:
When making either cakes or cookies with honey, first mix the honey with the fat or the liquid in the recipe. Then mix it thoroughly with the other ingredients. If this is not done, a soggy layer will form on the top of your cookies or cakes.

Desserts or other goodies made with honey brown faster than foods made with other sweeteners. So when you bake desserts made with honey, set the oven temperature 25 degrees F lower than what is indicated in the recipe.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2004

Source: Diana Baker Woodall© 2004
Date: August 31, 2004


Reviewer: Arlene Lefkowitz
Due to using tea rather than coffee

Reviewer: Cynthia
The first time I made this I used a bundt pan and even though I greased it well, it still didn't fully release. I made it all over again that same day, this time using two 8" spring form cake pans. I took no chances this time and lined them with parchment paper along with preparing them well with butter spray, in addition to flouring them. I frosted it with fresh whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon on top. It turned out amazing! It was so flavorful and moist. My guests were blown away that a honey cake could be so fabulous.

Reviewer: Alice Rubin
I baked this without eggs and it baked well and tastes terrific. Have egg allergic friend coming for dinner. This is now perfect for her to eat.

Reviewer: Christy Cane
I made this for Rosh Hashanah and everyone loved it. I baked it in a 10 inch tube pan that had been greased and floured and it came out perfect. I used the dark brown sugar, and put in dark raisins and pecans. This cake is moist and full of wonderful spices. Everyone requested this recipe and I will definitely be baking this again. It is a great Fall cake.

Reviewer: Miri
I made 4 cakes for Rosh Hashanah, to give. Everybody loved them. L'Shanah Tovah, Miri

Reviewer: jerri arlan
best honey cake ever! super moist! i used chai tea instead of regular tea. lots of great spices and the cake came out fabulous. happy new year!

Reviewer: Evie
probably the best cake I've made- sweet spicey and moist!

Reviewer: artist15
This is the best honey cake I've ever made. It's moist and delicious. I was able to make it the day before and wrap it in foil and serve it the next day. I used 1/2 cup of white sugar and it tasted just fine.

Reviewer: Ellen
This was my first time baking honey cake for the Holiday after 30 years of marriage - oi vey! Usually my mother-in-law makes it and everyone raves about it. Well....mine was gone and she had a lot of leftovers. Thank you!!!

Reviewer: Krista D'Andrea
I baked this cake with my 4 year old daughter today. It's so delicious! I added chopped dried apricots and pecans. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

Reviewer: Joanna
Okay, this is ALMOST a really great recipe, except for...there is NO SALT!

I KNEW it seemed like I was leaving something out. I'm taking this to a break-fast tomorrow evening, and plan to make a salted butter caramel sauce to serve alongside it - in order to compensate for the lack of salt. Baked goods NEED salt. They just do. Salt makes everything else taste more like...itself.

Not sure if that was an oversight, but judging from the comments, it looks like I'm the only one who doesn't love salt-less cake!

Reviewer: michele
It looks as though you "lifted" this recipe from Marcy Goldman, who is the author of "A Treasury of Jewish Baking" and you made a few changes so you could. You left out the salt and the little bit of alcohol it called for. Why would you leave the salt out? That is an important component that melds the flavors together.

Reviewer: Diana, Diana's Desserts
Hi Michele, I did not "lift" this recipe from Marcy Goldman. It is definitely my own recipe. I DO have a recipe (under the "Featured Articles and Recipes" category on my website) that was given to me by permission by Marcy Goldman from her book "A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking" called "Majestic and Moist New Year's Honey Cake". Here is the link to copy to bring up the recipe on my site:


Maybe you are confusing the two recipes as they are similar. As far as leaving out the salt, that was a choice I decided to make when I developed the recipe. Sincerely, Diana, Diana's Dessert

Reviewer: Jody
I made this last year and it was EXCELLENT!! I highly recommend it. The recipe is great as is. I will be making it again this year. Many, many thanks!

Reviewer: A Canadian Cook
P.S. Jewish bakers, do try Passover Italian Almond Cake. It's fabulous.

Reviewer: Canadian Cook
Fantastic, best honey cake yet! However, I did make a few changes to suit our needs. My mom dislikes cloves so I omitted them, and found that the remaining spices still gave it a wonderful flavour without a strong spicy note. Recommended if you don't like heavy spice. I also reduced the white sugar to 3/4 cup, and increased honey to 1 1/4 cup, I loved the flavour. I did add a bit of salt.... Thanks, love your recipes, Diana.

Reviewer: Leah Goldman
This is the best honey cake I have ever tasted. This it the third year I am making it and I will never make any other honey cake again. It is delicious and so moist and stays fresh for days. You will get rave reviews

Reviewer: Michelle
A wonderful and simple recipe (the best I've tried so far!) It was moist and flavorful. Everyone loved it! I tried it on a whim because my mom's name is Diana, and it was a winner!

Reviewer: Liora
Great cake- first time I didn't burn a honey cake!

Reviewer: Stav
Delicious! I used 1/2 cup of white sugar instead and added 1/4 teaspoon salt and it tasted just fine.

Reviewer: Leah
I forgot to add that I did not use cloves, allspice or nutmeg as my family does not like these spieces. I did not use the optional ingredients and no topping and i used orange juice and light brown sugar. the cake is fabulous

Reviewer: Elaine
I added 1/2 tsp. salt just because that's what I would usually do. I must have tried 20 honey cake recipes in my lifetime, looking for THE one. Some of the best results were cakes that were pretty far from the original honey cake concept. They tried to overcome dryness and blandness, and they didn't have the slightly-sticky crumb that is a honey cake, and not a spice cake or an apple cake with a bit of honey thrown in. This recipe is hands-down, the best honey cake I have ever made. In terms of quantity, it produced 7 mini-loaves for me (the disposable foil mini-loaf pans). Kudos to Diana.


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