Prep: 15 min // Bake: 45 min
Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish celebration of New Year, where lots of food is prepared and consumed. Honey also has its symbolism, marking a sweet new year. It is celebrated sometime in October but it doesn't matter because this cake is so good that I like to bake it all year round and in our New Year's celebration too. Set the politics aside (turmoil and war were sweeping the region as these lines were written) and you will be left with a delightful, moist Middle Eastern cake, rich in flavour, and full of fragrance from the honey and spices. It smells awesome when baked and tastes even better the next day when flavours have rested and incorporated.
This cake is squidgy and fluffy, melts in your mouth and you will be surprised how dead easy to make, with ingredients you can find everywhere, making it one of the most delicious tea cakes you have ever had! The end flavour reminds me of the Greek melomakarono, but in a more subtle and textured form, which is mind-blowing and highly addictive! This makes sense if you consider the orange zest and the superbly aromatic Greek thyme honey I used for this recipe. In my version, there is also 50% less sugar (compared to recipes around the internet). Sweetness (and calories) mainly occur from the honey, and I use some sugar to help structure the cake.
180g dark-coloured aromatic honey (I use Greek thyme), plus some more from serving
80g light brown sugar
80g Greek yoghurt (around 2 heaped tablespoons)
110ml vegetable oil (around 1/2 cup)
110ml strong flavoured black tea (around 1/2 cup - I use cardamom tea for an extra twist)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 orange zest
220g Plain Flour (or 110 plain + 110 buckwheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/3 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
Make the black tea, let it cool down (put it in the fridge), and preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan).
In a large bowl mix your wet ingredients using a whisk. First, beat the eggs, then add the sugar, honey, yoghurt, oil, tea, vanilla and orange zest, whisking until smooth.
In another bowl pass the flour through a fine sieve (that will give the cake a more fluffy and airy texture) and mix well with baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, allspice and cinnamon. You can even skip the second bowl and do all that directly in the bowl with the wet ingredients.
Slowly pour the wet into the dry ingredients bowl and whisk gently until you have a brown, well-blended, quite runny batter.