Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Coffee and spice honey cake

This is traditionally associated with Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year). This recipe is based on the one given by Evelyn Rose in The Complete International Jewish Cookbook, which is really a Mrs Beeton’s for the Jewish housewife of the 1970s. It even has a section on how to organise dinner parties which contains the following invaluable tip: “… the Jewish woman is expected to entertain in a more sophisticated fashion than ever before, paying attention to the flowers, the d├ęcor and the table accoutrements as well as to the food that she sets before her guests.” Sound advice indeed!

225g plain flour
170g demerara sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
250g clear honey
100g sunflower oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
100ml strong black coffee
50g chopped walnuts

  1. Set the oven to 170°C, and prepare either one large tin (an 8-inch round tin is fine) or two loaf tins, by lining the bottoms with baking paper and greasing the sides.
  2. Mix the flour, sugar, spices and baking powder. Add the honey, oil and eggs and beat until smooth. Add the coffee and the walnuts and mix in.
  3. Pour the batter into the tin(s) and bake for 85 minutes.
This cake keeps very well, and actually improves during the first week or so. I usually only make one round cake, so it never lasts that long, but if you make two smaller loaves then you can wrap one in foil once it’s cool and set it aside.

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