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Many Jewish households make lekach (honey cakes) on Rosh HaShanah as another way to symbolically express their wishes for a Sweet New Year.

lekach

Often people will use a recipe that has been passed down through the generations. Honey cake can be made with a variety of spices, though autumnal spices (cloves, cinnamon, allspice) are especially popular. Different recipes call for the use of coffee, tea, orange juice or even rum to add an additional dimension of flavor.

 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Flour -- 3 1/2 cups
  • Baking powder -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
  • Baking soda -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon -- 1 teaspoon
  • Allspice -- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Honey -- 1 cup
  • Strong coffee, cooled -- 1/2 cup
  • Vegetable oil -- 2 tablespoons
  • Eggs -- 4
  • Brown sugar -- 1 cup
  • Chopped walnuts or almonds -- 3/4 cup
  • Raisins, soaked in warm water and drained -- 3/4 cup
  • Brandy, Grand Marnier or rum (optional) -- 3 tablespoons

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the honey, coffee and oil. Set both aside.
  2. Add the eggs and brown sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until light and foamy, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add about 1/3 of the flour mixer, allowing it to incorporate fully. Next add half of the honey-mixture, once again allowing it to be fully incorporated. Continue with another 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining honey mixture and finish with the remaining flour.
  4. Remove the mixer bowl and gently fold in the walnuts, soaked raisins and brandy with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Pour the batter into a greased and flour 9-inch round or square cake pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cake to a counter and cool completely before removing from the pan. Cut into diamond-shaped slices and serve with hot coffee.

Variations

  • Instead of raisins, use currants or chopped, candied fruit.
  • Soak the raisins in the brandy instead of water and just add the raisins to the batter without draining them.
  • Substitute apple juice for the coffee.
  • Add the zest of one orange for extra flavor.
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