Chocolate Honey Cake or Honey Bee Cake is a popular choice for Rosh Hoshanah. Additionally, honey cake is distributed to the congregation by the rabbi on the eve of Yom Kippur. Honey is an important part of Jewish history and culture with many Biblical references: "The Torah describes the Land of Israel as 'flowing with milk and [date] honey;' the heavenly manna that sustained the Jews for 40 years in the desert was like “a pastry fried in honey; in reference to a swarm of bees he saw in the carcass of a lion he'd killed, Samson posed a riddle to a group of friends: 'From the devourer came forth food; and from the strong came out sweetness.'"*
This delicious cake is a recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson's famous Honey Bee Cake. Nigella makes hers complete with marzipan 'bees.'
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 sticks soft butter
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp vanilla flavor
1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz. chocolate, semi-sweet or dark works well
1 cup very hot water
Preheat the oven to 350°F, 325°F for dark pans. Spray sides of a 9” spring-form pan with cooking spray and line bottom with parchment paper circle.
Melt chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals until smooth. Set aside. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with steel blade add sugar, butter, vanilla, honey, eggs, flour, baking soda and cocoa.
Process ingredients in a few short bursts until just combined. Add melted chocolate and process again briefly. With the processor running, pour in the hot water. Process until smooth. Batter will be thin. Fill the spring-form pan and place into the oven.
Bake for 1 hour to 1hour 15minutes. Check at about 45 minutes, and if cooking too fast, cover with foil. When done, the cake will spring back when pressed in the center and a toothpick tester should come out clean. Let cool completely in the spring-form pan.
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup honey
6 oz. Semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
In a small saucepan, bring water and honey to a boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Whisk until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk again until smooth.
Run a knife between the cake and spring-form pan to loosen it, then unclip the pan and remove the ring to make sure it removes cleanly. Pick up cake and remove the parchment circle, then place the cake back on the spring-form base. Put the spring-form ring back around the cake and clip it closed. Place cake on a cookie sheet on a large length of foil (wider than the cake to allow for oozing glaze).
Pour glaze over cake inside pan, letting the glaze run down the sides of the cake. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then remove the cake ring. Glaze remains tacky for a while, so to speed up hardening, chill in freezer for about 20 mins. Using knife, cut through any glaze that extends beyond the circumference of cake base; transfer the cake on spring-form base to serving plate.
Yield: one 9” cake
*Excerpted from Honey in Jewish Law, Lore, Tradition, and More