Honey Cake (lekach)

honey-cake

Honey cake, or lekach, is a dense and sweet cake traditionally consumed by Ashkenazi Jews over the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Despite having Middle Eastern roots the flavour of honey cake will likely be dependent on the region in which it is baked. Local flora heavily influences the flavour of honey, making it specific to a certain area or even garden. This local connection is what makes food like this truly spectacular – not only is it homemade, its flavour is drawn from its surrounding environment.

However, honey lends more than mere flavour and locality; as a result of its sensuous viscosity it conveys a luxuriously dense texture, rather like black treacle in gingerbread. As such, a slice of this pleasantly substantial cake is enough to satisfy the demands of even the most ardent gourmand. Add a steaming pot of chai into the equation and it’ll be a struggle for said food lover to come up for air, such would be their enjoyment.

Honey Cake

There are any number of ways in which one may present a honey cake – a drizzle of honey, a scattering of almonds or even as naked as the day it was… baked. My personal favourite topping is one devised by James Martin – a simple mixture of honey, icing sugar and water. As with the sponge, simplicity is key if the gorgeous flavour of the honey is to sing. An ingredient as special as honey should be allowed free-reign over its host – one reason why this is a particular favourite of mine.

Local connection: As mentioned above, locality is integral to experiencing the full potential of this recipe. If you live in Bristol the Mall Deli, Clifton, will sort you out with some cracking West Country honey.

Honey Cake {recipe}

Makes one 20cm cake

Ingredients:

• 125g clear honey

• 110g butter

• 50g light muscovado sugar

• 2 eggs

• 150g self-raising flour

• 55g icing sugar

• 1 tbsp clear honey

• Warm water

Method:

1. Grease and line a 20cm springform pan. Preheat the oven to 170C. Melt together the honey, butter and sugar over a gentle flame. Once broken down set aside for 5 minutes before whisking in the eggs and flour.

2. Tip the batter into the cake tin and pop in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until dark brown. Set aside to cool before turning out.

3. Once cool mix together the honey, icing sugar and 2-3 tsp of warm water. Brush the icing over the cake and serve.

Cost: Good quality honey can seem rather expensive at around £4 a jar. However, it can go impressively far as a result of its penetrating flavour. Indeed, this delightful treat should set one back no more than around £3.

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96 comments on “Honey Cake (lekach)

  1. Monique
    February 27, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Did you say “Honey”? Did you say “Cake”? I’m in!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      I did, I did… good!

  2. abrooke65
    February 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I love that you made this! It looks delicious. I eat honey cake every fall, in Sept or Oct when my grandma or mom make it for the High Holy days. It brings me home. Thanks for sharing. Now I know how to make it too! Yours looks gorgeous. I also want to try making a Torta de Santiago, traditionally eaten by Sefardim on Passover.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm

      That sounds lovely! I’ll have to look that one up!

  3. jonabouchard
    February 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Looks great! Adding it to my “to try” list.

  4. pattyabr
    February 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    muscovado sugar- is that a Kosher sugar?
    what a lovely cake

  5. narf77
    February 27, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    Cakes like these are quite easy to veganise, subbing golden syrup for the honey kind of changes the recipe demographic though! ;). Cheers for the cake and consider it converted to Golden Syrup and almond cake…thems the breaks when you have to work with what you have :)

    • Chica Andaluza
      February 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      Didn’t realise that honey couldn’t be consumed by vegans…what a shame :( Three cheers for Golden Syrup though, love the stuff!

      • narf77
        February 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm

        Doing backstroke in a tin of Tate and Lyall’s as we speak… (develops good triceps ;) )

      • frugalfeeding
        March 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm

        It is a shame! Indeed!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

      Shame, but would work well!

  6. annesturetucker
    February 27, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    It looks absolutely gorgeous!

  7. milkandbun
    February 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    I guess its really tasty! In Russia we’ve got a torte, which called “honey cake”, but with cream :)

  8. Sam
    February 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Oh wow this looks so beautiful to have with a cup of tea!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Coffee is my choice :D

  9. shewolfinthekitchen
    February 27, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    star cake!

  10. saucygander
    February 27, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Great looking cake! I have some honey from native Australian flora (blackbutt), so this should be good!

  11. Chica Andaluza
    February 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    It looks and sounds beautiful. Adore honey and back in Spain we have a local pal who give us his home “grown” which is very rosemary scented because of all the wild rosemary around us.

  12. Natasha
    February 27, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Mmmm honey is such a lovely flavor–I love a recipe that lets it shine. This cake looks moist and absolutely delicious.

  13. bakersntakers
    February 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Well you can make it more authentic by using date honey which is where the term for “The land of milk and honey” comes from.

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      Good idea :)

  14. Conor Bofin
    February 27, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    You completely got me at “sensuous viscosity”.
    Lovely,
    Conor

  15. chardrap
    February 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Sounds devine! Must give this a go! :-)

  16. momshieb
    February 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    Just bought a pound of local honey, and now I know what to do with it!
    looks spectacular!

  17. Somer
    February 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Sometimes the simplest recipes really are the best ones. What a lovely little cake!

  18. Granny
    February 28, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Be glad I live far across the ocean, for I would certainly have had a slice, and then another, and another! Reminds me of honey cookies my husband’s mom used to make for Christmas. She’d give us a dozen or more. They were doomed to moment I had a first bite.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Haha! Ooooh cookies – i’ll have to try that!

  19. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer
    February 28, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Should I wait for the farmers’ market this summer to buy fresh local honey?

    • Meg
      March 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm

      You should buy local honey year round. A simple Internet search should yield local apiaries. Store bought honey comes from bees that are artificially bred and fed. They’re overworked, trucked around without an offseason. Local honey, small apiaries, can be supported year-round, unlike most produce farmers.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

      You’ll be able to get local honey this time of the year.

  20. Michelle
    February 28, 2013 at 2:06 am

    What a lovely cake, Frugal.

  21. natalie @ wee eats
    February 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

    I found my late grandma’s recipe for honey cake that had been featured in the local newspaper back before I was born. I’ve been meaning to try it, but I’ve never had honey cake before. Your beautiful pictures and recipe are making me think I don’t need her recipe, I think I should make yours instead. :)

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      That’s so cool :D. Try it once at least :D

  22. sweetfemininity
    February 28, 2013 at 2:48 am

    I love the way you describe this delicacy! My family actually has a few beehives, so our honey is VERY local! ;) I’m adding this to my “to bake” list. :)

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      You have to, by the sounds of it! Jealous!

  23. Liz
    February 28, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Love the golden color. MMM.

  24. chefconnie
    February 28, 2013 at 3:56 am

    I love dense cakes. This one needs to go in my file for cakes to make!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      Oh yes, it must!

  25. Korena in the Kitchen
    February 28, 2013 at 5:38 am

    A slice of this and a cup of chai sounds like heaven.

  26. Sophia
    February 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

    What a great recipe – I love the idea of using local honey and I am becoming quite the fan of recipes that allow single ingredients to really shine!

  27. gemsfoodgems
    February 28, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I love this Frugal Feeding! It looks delicious…

  28. mydearbakes
    February 28, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Oh my! This looks absolutely amazing! =D

  29. fortyjarsfull
    February 28, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    yum :)

  30. Sibella at bakingwithsibella.com
    February 28, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I bet it would taste great made with acacia honey! Saving this recipe to try it soon.

  31. Carolyn Chan
    February 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    That looks so rich and dense yummmm

  32. Deborah DeLong
    February 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Reblogging this!

  33. spree
    February 28, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    My heart belongs to honey! It may also now belong to this cake, for which I thank you Nick!

  34. Willow
    March 1, 2013 at 3:02 am

    I have never eaten honey cake – a predicament that must soon be remedied! I adore honey, in all it’s wonderful, native uniqueness. I imagine this cake would become a fast favorite of mine. As if you didn’t have me already, the mere suggestion of serving it with a cup of chai has my mouth watering. Sounds like the perfect combination to me!

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      You must try it, Willow! Chai works wonders with honey!

  35. Good Cooks
    March 1, 2013 at 3:10 am

    I like how honey give a special recognized taste in baked goods. I like honey, as i like this cake. Thanks for sharing.

  36. Julia {The Roasted Root}
    March 1, 2013 at 8:31 am

    I love the flavor and health properties of honey. This cake looks so unique and tasty! I’d love a slice of it for breakfast with hot coffee or tea!

  37. thelittleloaf
    March 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    What an absolutely scrumptious looking cake! I’ve made honey cake before, but never this dense and sticky looking – yum!

  38. throve
    March 1, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Looks amazing! I have a large jar of honey that is hiding in the cupboard. Thanks for the reminder to find it. I couldn’t think of a better recipe. :)

  39. Welcome Company with Danielle
    March 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    That cake looks gorgeous, not to mention incredibly delicious. And with the chai, YES please! I am going to have to do a little bit of internet measurement conversion research and give it a try.

    • frugalfeeding
      March 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm

      Please do – there are conversion links atop my blog.

      • Welcome Company with Danielle
        March 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm

        Great, thank you! This weekend is the farmer’s market just up the street so I am going to grab some fresh local honey and add this cake to my Easter menu.

  40. musingmar
    March 2, 2013 at 12:37 am

    mmm looks lovely. Look forward to trying with a local honey – lots to choose from!

  41. Karista
    March 2, 2013 at 6:29 am

    What a lovely cake! I love our local raw honey and I currently have at least 3 jars from the summer farmers markets. I think I will be making honey cake :)

  42. Shira
    March 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Looks fabulous Nick! I love anything with honey – you captured this recipe beautifully!

    • Admin
      March 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

      Cheers, Shira!

  43. marymtf
    March 10, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Add some tea and unsweetened cocoa / and or coffee to your cake.

  44. lifeandtimesoflizzie
    March 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Looks great! Do you think you could add anything else to it? Sultanas/cinnamon/etc? Though I guess you might not want to ruin the taste of honey… Will have to give this a try for sure!

  45. MsSopia
    March 10, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    This cake sounds wonderful. I will get out my conversion chart.

  46. baconbiscuit212
    March 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Looks like a dense and moist cake! I love the glaze that you suggest too. Very well done.

  47. Lottie
    March 11, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Just put one of these badboys in the oven about half hour ago! Got to say, it’s smelling rather fantastic!

  48. Adina Solomon
    March 21, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    I have honey cake every year for Rosh Hashanah, but never with icing. Looks tasty.

  49. Lydia
    March 29, 2013 at 10:21 am

    my co-workers loved the recipe, i added peaches and a white chocolate glaze – greetings from Germany!

  50. gn0mel0ver
    May 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    My daddy is a beekeeper. Thanks for a new recipe for honey!

  51. seedtogarden
    September 9, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Love this recipe and love your blog. I never knew that cooking at home from scratch is considered frugality until I started seeing how most of my peers live and eat. Their kitchens are bare!

  52. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer
    November 19, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Thanks for the recipe for honey cake. The ones I have tried were too dry and hadn’t the rich flavor I was after.

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