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Honey Cake (lekach)

February 27, 2013

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


• 125g clear honey

• 110g butter

• 50g light muscovado sugar

• 2 eggs

• 150g self-raising flour

• 55g icing sugar

• 1 tbsp clear honey

• Warm water


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.

Honey Cake

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.

Honey Cake

3. Once cool mix together the honey, icing sugar and 2-3 tsp of warm water. Brush the icing over the cake and serve.

Honey Cake

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.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2013 6:06 pm

    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. February 27, 2013 6:11 pm

    Looks great! Adding it to my “to try” list.

  3. February 27, 2013 6:19 pm

    muscovado sugar- is that a Kosher sugar?
    what a lovely cake

  4. February 27, 2013 6:25 pm

    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 🙂

    • February 27, 2013 7:41 pm

      Didn’t realise that honey couldn’t be consumed by vegans…what a shame 😦 Three cheers for Golden Syrup though, love the stuff!

      • February 27, 2013 7:46 pm

        Doing backstroke in a tin of Tate and Lyall’s as we speak… (develops good triceps 😉 )

      • March 2, 2013 10:32 pm

        It is a shame! Indeed!

    • March 2, 2013 10:33 pm

      Shame, but would work well!

  5. February 27, 2013 6:31 pm

    It looks absolutely gorgeous!

  6. February 27, 2013 6:46 pm

    I guess its really tasty! In Russia we’ve got a torte, which called “honey cake”, but with cream 🙂

  7. February 27, 2013 7:04 pm

    Great looking cake! I have some honey from native Australian flora (blackbutt), so this should be good!

  8. February 27, 2013 7:43 pm

    It looks and sounds beautiful. Adore honey and back in Spain we have a local pal who give us his home “grown” which is very rosemary scented because of all the wild rosemary around us.

  9. February 27, 2013 9:29 pm

    You completely got me at “sensuous viscosity”.

  10. February 27, 2013 10:21 pm

    Just bought a pound of local honey, and now I know what to do with it!
    looks spectacular!

  11. February 27, 2013 10:43 pm

    Sometimes the simplest recipes really are the best ones. What a lovely little cake!

  12. February 28, 2013 12:46 am

    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.

  13. February 28, 2013 1:02 am

    Should I wait for the farmers’ market this summer to buy fresh local honey?

  14. February 28, 2013 2:06 am

    What a lovely cake, Frugal.

  15. February 28, 2013 3:14 am

    Love the golden color. MMM.

  16. February 28, 2013 5:38 am

    A slice of this and a cup of chai sounds like heaven.

  17. February 28, 2013 10:57 am

    What a great recipe – I love the idea of using local honey and I am becoming quite the fan of recipes that allow single ingredients to really shine!

  18. February 28, 2013 11:58 am

    I love this Frugal Feeding! It looks delicious…

  19. February 28, 2013 12:34 pm

    Oh my! This looks absolutely amazing! =D

  20. fortyjarsfull permalink
    February 28, 2013 1:20 pm

    yum 🙂

  21. February 28, 2013 3:29 pm

    Sounds wonderful! I bet it would taste great made with acacia honey! Saving this recipe to try it soon.

  22. February 28, 2013 3:55 pm

    That looks so rich and dense yummmm

  23. February 28, 2013 4:20 pm

    Reblogging this!

  24. February 28, 2013 11:07 pm

    My heart belongs to honey! It may also now belong to this cake, for which I thank you Nick!

  25. March 1, 2013 3:02 am

    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!

  26. March 1, 2013 3:10 am

    I like how honey give a special recognized taste in baked goods. I like honey, as i like this cake. Thanks for sharing.

  27. March 1, 2013 8:31 am

    I love the flavor and health properties of honey. This cake looks so unique and tasty! I’d love a slice of it for breakfast with hot coffee or tea!

  28. March 1, 2013 12:42 pm

    What an absolutely scrumptious looking cake! I’ve made honey cake before, but never this dense and sticky looking – yum!

  29. March 1, 2013 8:53 pm

    Looks amazing! I have a large jar of honey that is hiding in the cupboard. Thanks for the reminder to find it. I couldn’t think of a better recipe. 🙂

  30. March 1, 2013 10:55 pm

    That cake looks gorgeous, not to mention incredibly delicious. And with the chai, YES please! I am going to have to do a little bit of internet measurement conversion research and give it a try.

  31. March 2, 2013 12:37 am

    mmm looks lovely. Look forward to trying with a local honey – lots to choose from!

  32. March 2, 2013 6:29 am

    What a lovely cake! I love our local raw honey and I currently have at least 3 jars from the summer farmers markets. I think I will be making honey cake 🙂

  33. March 3, 2013 5:00 pm

    Looks fabulous Nick! I love anything with honey – you captured this recipe beautifully!

  34. November 12, 2013 3:02 pm

    Looks delicious and crazy sweet 🙂

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