One Good Recipe: Holiday Carrot Honey Cake


Rosh Hashanah will begin this year on Sept. 4 at sundown. The Jewish New Year (or Head of the Year) begins a 10-day period of reflection and contemplation.

At the Rosh Hashanah meal, before the corresponding solemn holy day of Yom Kippur, when fasting is the rule, we eat sweet things to insure a sweet new year. Apples are dipped in honey; the celebratory challah is made with raisins and formed into a round shape, symbolizing the circle of life and the seasons. The challah is dipped in honey as well, for more sweetness and good wishes. Honey cakes are traditional. This recipe is a twist on tradition, using pureed carrots, along with honey and brown sugar for moisture and sweetness.

Jamie Geller writes in her forthcoming book, "Joy of Kosher," "There are things that are your thing, and things that are not your thing. Then there are things that are so not your thing. Honey cake is one of those so?not-my-thing things. Of course, Hubby loves it."

She came up with this unusual version, baked in a bundt pan, that her husband loves. It's kosher, but she writes that "the nuts are a bit controversial. Sephardic Jews eat them on Rosh Hashanah, but Ashkenazis don't. Go figure. So to be safe, use the coconut flakes when serving this for Rosh Hashanah and the nuts when entertaining year-round."

-- Miriam Rubin)

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

  • 1 cup hot water

  • 3 large eggs

  • 3/4 cup canola oil

  • 1 1/2 cups honey

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 4-ounce jar carrot baby food

  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 cups shredded carrots (optional)

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped

  • Pecans or walnuts, or coconut flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8- to 10-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.

Combine the coffee and hot water in a small bowl; stir until dissolved. Combine the eggs, canola oil, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well blended. Stir in the dissolved coffee, sugar, vanilla, carrot baby food, and juice.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add to the egg mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrots, if using, and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched, 45 to 50 minutes. Allow the cake to cool 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Once the cake is completely cooled, prepare the glaze: Whisk the confectioners' sugar with 1 to 2 tablespoons water until a pourable glaze consistency is achieved.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake. Top with the nuts or coconut. Store the cake on a cake platter with a lid or in a container with a tight-fitting lid.

Yields 10 servings.

-- "Joy of Kosher: Fast, Fresh Family Recipes" by Jamie Geller (Morrow, Oct. 2013, $30).

Miriam Rubin (


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