I'm always reminded of the change in the seasons with the arrival of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown tonight. It seems to straddle the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. For Jews around the world, it's a time to come together with family, contemplate the past year, and hope for good deeds in the months ahead.
Rosh Hashanah's food customs echo these sentiments. One ingredient that plays a recurring role is honey, which symbolizes sweetness for the new year. As a child, I remember counting on apples and honey, but honeyed cake is an equally traditional and more gratifying end to a meal. It's not too sweet, has a gingerbread quality, and would be the perfect finish (or start) to the day, whether or not you're observing the holiday. See the recipe when you read more.
1 cup hot brewed coffee
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 large apple, cored and grated
12 whole blanched almonds (I used dry-roasted almonds, which I had on hand)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a small bowl, combine coffee and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat honey, sugar, and oil until well blended. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until mixture looks homogenized. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
- Beat flour mixture into honey mixture alternately with coffee mixture until well combined. Stir in apple.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Place almonds on top of batter, to mark the center of each of 12 squares.
- Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.
- Desserts, Cake