Rosh Hashanah, Past:
I sat down several weeks ago, in advance of the beginning of the upcoming Jewish New Year (sundown, Wednesday, September 8), to reflect on this significant time in my life, and on some of my most happy memories. I looked back upon the days when my children were young, and I would visit their Irvine elementary school classes myself, laden with sliced apples and honey and with round loaves of challah, studded with raisins, to share with their classmates. For the teachers, I would also bring slices of my honey-apple-nut cakes.
Rosh Hashanah, Present:
My home will be bursting with out-of-town family and guests, who will come to celebrate the wedding of my eldest child, a son (now in his late thirties), and, to praise the recent engagement of my youngest child, my daughter (now in her twenties). For these events, I will bring together all three of my children and their significant others, my husband and myself, and my aging parents. Three generations will once again share the
honey, the sweetness of life. Family portraits will be professionally taken as we raise our wine glasses and take a bite of challah. We will recite together the traditional words “May the New Year be sweet.”
Rosh Hashanah, Future:
I have locked into my memory the present, as I have the past, and will draw upon these pictures in my future senior years. From this, I will always have strength.
The following recipes for cakes are excellent to bake and to serve for Rosh Hashanah. You may also wish to go with a boxed mix or another favorite of yours, and make alterations, simply by adding chopped apples, nuts, and dried fruits, or coffee for some of the liquid. If you wish to substitute honey for the sugar, try this formula, though keep in mind that the result may be on the sweet side: Reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by one-fourth cup for each cup of honey used. Add one half teaspoon of baking soda for every cup honey. Lower the oven temperature by twenty-five degrees to prevent over-browning.
APPLE CAKE WITH HONEY FROSTING
This moist, delicious cake can be served as a simple apple cake, though it is much, much more special with the honey frosting. Because of the many steps and cooling, it is best to bake and ice this cake a day in advance, and refrigerate it.
To make the frosting, I find a little experience in icing preparation is helpful. Two mixing bowls for your electric mixer ease the steps. If the icing separates, do not fret; simply adjust the speed to higher and stronger. I must also share some recent compliments that I have received on this cake and icing from several friends, male and female, remarking how light and delicate the taste and the texture the icing is, so go for it. It is fabulous.
Two and one-fourth pounds sweet apples, (approximately six), such as Golden Delicious, peeled, halved, cored and finely diced
One and one-fourth cups sugar
One cup, plus two tablespoons (two and one-fourth sticks), butter or margarine, at room temperature
One-fourth cup honey
Three eggs, at room temperature
Three cups all-purpose, unbleached white flour
Two and one half teaspoons baking powder
Two generous teaspoons finely grated orange rind (I used the rind of two oranges.)
One cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (or other favorite nut)
Honey Frosting, optional:
Two eggs, at room temperature
One half cup honey
One cup butter or margarine, slightly softened but still cool
One half cup walnuts (or other favorite nut), chopped for garnish
Lightly grease a thirteen by nine inch, with two inch sides, rectangular cake pan. Line base and sides of pan with parchment paper and grease again.
Mix apples with one half cup of sugar; let stand while preparing the batter.
Beat the butter until smooth. Add remaining three-fourths cup of sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in honey; then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour with baking powder and stir in the egg mixture. Stir in orange rind. Add apple mixture, which will be syrupy, and the nuts.
Spread batter in prepared cake pan and smooth top. Bake in a preheated three hundred and fifty-degree oven for forty-five to fifty minutes, or until cake tests done with a toothpick and the top is lightly golden. Cool in the pan on a rack about twenty minutes, or until just warm. Turn out onto a rack. Carefully peel off parchment paper. Cool to room temperature.
To make the frosting: Beat eggs in a large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Bring honey to a boil in a small saucepan; then gradually pour honey into eggs, whisking constantly. Whip at high speed of mixer until completely cool and thick, about five minutes, gradually until thoroughly mixed. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top with chopped walnuts. Refrigerate about two hours before serving. Serve cool or at room temperature.
Yield: Fifteen to twenty to servings.
LEKACH – COFFEE AND HONEY LOAF CAKE WITH SWEET SPICES AND HAZELNUTS
This is a lighter version of most traditional honey loaf cakes. The sweet spices cinnamon, ginger and cloves along with the coffee and chopped nuts, give it plenty of flavor.
One and one half teaspoons instant coffee
Six tablespoons hot water
One and one half cups all-purpose flour
One half teaspoon baking soda
One half teaspoon ground cinnamon
One half teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
One half cup sugar
One half cup honey
One third cup vegetable oil
One half cup chopped hazelnuts (or, other favorite nuts)
Powdered sugar, optional garnish
Lightly grease a nine by five inch loaf pan, line with parchment paper or wax paper, and grease the paper.
In a cup, dissolve the coffee in the hot water. Let cool. Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Beat eggs lightly. Add sugar and honey and beat until mixture is very smooth and light in color. Gradually add oil and beat until blended. Stir in flour mixture alternately in two batches with coffee. Stir in nuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in a pre-heated three hundred and twenty- five degree oven for eighty-five minutes (almost one and a half hours), or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for about fifteen minutes. Turn out onto rack and carefully peel off paper. Wrap in foil when completely cool. (If tightly wrapped, cake keeps one week at room temperature). Serve in thin slices. If desired, dust slices with a
little powdered sugar.
Yield: Approximately fourteen slices.