Honey Cake with Coffee Glaze

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes  Every year for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish new year), my mom makes an amazing honey cake. It’s bursting with warm spices mixed with honey and dark coffee and whiskey flavors. We eat as much as we can after the big holiday meal (which is never so much) and then save the rest for breakfasts and desserts the following week. We eat it slowly so it will last and we enjoy every bite.


This year while rationing/eating my take-home honey cake care package, I thought about how this lekach (Yiddish for sweet cake) deserves a place in your fall (and winter) baking rotation.

When I asked my mom for the recipe she sent me a document and I could hear her voice in what she had written. I can hear her dislike for the raisins that she shares instructions for. They’re complete with “optional” and “I don’t usually use them”. She also shares her favorite instruction which is “prepare cake a day or two before eating”. This is the best instruction because it’s true. The cake is good when it first comes out of the oven, but it’s best 24-48 hours after baking.



I thought for sure this recipe was something handed down through generations of women, brought from the old country and surviving in the new. In truth, this recipe has only been in play less than a decade (it’s not even the original honey cake of my youth!). Many honey cakes share the same bones and I’m not sure what drew my mom to it in the first place, (mental note made to ask her) but I’m glad she picked it and made it her own. It’s awesome.

I will say the second most important step is in greasing your pan. I’ve looked at a dozen recipes for honey cakes that cook in bundt pans and the directions ranges from “generously grease” to “lightly grease” to “use greased parchment paper”. I greased something between generous and light and still had my cake break on me…mountains of sadness. Next time I’ll be inserting a piece of greased parchment paper on the bottom.

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Oh, kitchen mistakes.

Thankfully the rest pulled out pretty easily and I was able to have an almost level cake (at least for photos!) but many delicious crumbs to munch on.

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

Also, because it was in pieces I couldn’t pour the coffee glaze over the cake on top of a wire rack (which is what I would normally do to keep it neat), so instead there are glaze puddles. Definitely, not the worst thing.

Here’s to sweet beginnings!

Honey Cake by Herring and Potatoes

This is a very slight variation on my mother’s recipe which is a variation on Marcy Goldman’s Epicurious Recipe

Honey Cake with Coffee Glaze
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¾ cup canola oil (or any neutral oil)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar (dark or light is fine, I used a dark)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm, strong brewed coffee
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ tsp grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup whiskey (I used a bourbon)**
For the top
  • ¼ cup slivered and toasted almonds (optional)
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbsp brewed coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease your pan of choosing. I used a 10-inch tube pan, but you can use a bundt pan or loaf pans. Line the bottom with greased parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Once combined, make a well in the dry ingredients add in all the wet ingredients. Using a strong whisk or an electric or stand mixer, bring the ingredients together into a thick batter. Make sure there aren't lumps of flour or dry ingredients stuck to the bottom.
  4. Pour the batter into your prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes for a 10-inch tube pan and maybe 10-15 minutes less for loaf pans. You can test for doneness with a toothpick.
  6. Let the cake sit in its pan for 15 minutes after it comes out. After 15 minutes, invert it on a wire rack to cool completely. When it's almost fully cooled, make the glaze if you plan to serve it right away. Otherwise, wait to make the glaze until the cake is ready to be eaten. (Mom says: 24-48 hours after it's first baked is when it's best!)
  7. Combine the confectioners sugar and 1.5 Tbsp of coffee in a small bowl. Mix well. If you need to, add a little more coffee to thin the glaze.
  8. Place a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Put the cake on the wire rack. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting any excess drip on the sheet pan.
  9. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve!
**If you don’t want to use alcohol, increase the coffee or orange juice by ¼ cup



Balilah Salad with Bulgur

Balilah Salad with Bulgur by Herring & Potatoes

There’s been a lot of awesome recently. A few of the good stuffs: Rosh Hashanah meals and family gatherings, fall weather slowly rolling in, and an updated blog! After a year of writing recipes, taking photos, and putting together posts it was time for some changes. I’m shouting out a million thanks to Ari who created the new blog and transferred everything other for me.

He heard my groaning over lack of functionality on the last site and did all the things that I don’t know how to do to build this new site. Amazeballs. Thank you.

Balilah Salad with Bulgur by Herring & Potatoes

Now that I have this shiny new blog, it’s time for a shiny new recipe.

I first read about this salad in Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook Jerusalem, and really liked the simplicity but heartiness of it. Many middle eastern salads satisfy that possibility: simple to make and a substantial side dish.

Balilah Salad with Bulgur by Herring & Potatoes

In reworking this recipe, I added even more to it by introducing bulgur as part of the mix. Often, when I’m cooking for just us during the week, I’m not making multiple salads and side dishes. A side dish like this allows me to add a piece of protein to it and call it a meal.

Balilah Salad with Bulgur by Herring & Potatoes

This salad is also really flexible and doesn’t demand that you follow it exactly. Add a new ingredient like red onion or arugula or throw in more or less cumin or lemon juice. The ingredients aren’t expensive and it doesn’t take a lot of time to prepare; a recipe like this is great because it can help home cooks to build confidence in their taste buds and cooking abilities!

Now I’m going to finish off the last of my apple-raisin challah and take some time to reflect on the most excellent way this new year is beginning.

Balilah Salad with Bulgur by Herring & Potatoes

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Recipe

Balilah Salad with Bulgur

Serves: 3-4 Servings

  • ½ cup of bulgur
  • 4 scallions in thinly sliced rounds
  • ¾ cup parsley
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cooked (or from a can) chickpeas
  • 2½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh pepper
  • 1.5-2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  1. Boil 1.5 cups of water on the stove. Stir in the bulgur, shut the heat, cover, and let sit 12-15 minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed. After 12-15 minutes drain the bulgur, fluff with a fork, and let it sit out uncovered.
  2. Roughly chop the parsley. Add it and the sliced scallions to a mixing bowl.
  3. Supreme the lemon (see the photo above) by slicing off the skin and pith and removing the sections. Chop up the lemon flesh (make sure you don't have any seeds in it) and add it to the mixing bowl. Reserve the rest of the lemon for juicing later.
  4. Over medium-low heat, warm a little olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the chickpeas, 2 tsp cumin, ½ tsp salt, and a few grinds of fresh pepper and toss until all the chickpeas are coated in the spice and warmed through. You don't want to cook them again.
  5. Add the chickpeas and the bulgur to the mixing bowl with the scallions, parsley and lemon.
  6. Drizzle the olive oil, add a ½ tsp more cumin, and squeeze the rest of the lemon juice over all the ingredients.
  7. Toss well and taste for seasoning.
  8. Serve warm or room temperature.