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.

96 thoughts on “Honey Cake (lekach)

  1. abrooke65

    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.

  2. narf77

    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 :)

  3. Granny

    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.

    1. Meg

      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.

  4. natalie @ wee eats

    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. :)

  5. Willow

    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!

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