Mum's honey cake

The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is one my favourite festivals. In no small part this is down to the food associated with it. To usher in a sweet new year, we get to eat lots of sweet stuff (apples dipped in honey is one of the simplest!).

Growing up the youngest of five in a house that always burst at the seams with friends and extended family, my mum was always kept busy making sure the food rolled out of the kitchen in big quantities. Her honey cake was (and remains) legendary. This is her beautifully simple recipe (in her words) that is delicious… all year round.


  • l lb honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in quarter pint of boiling water
  • ½ lb dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • l lb self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon each ginger and bicarb (baking soda)


  • Food mixer with a beater (not whisk)
  • Sieve
  • Shallow baking tin 12x10x3


  1. Beat honey, oil, coffee mixture and sugar together.
  2. Beat in the eggs, then the rest of the dry ingredients sieved together. You should beat for around 3 minutes or until little bubbles start appearing on the surface of the mixture.
  3. Transfer to the tin and bake for around 1 to 1¼ hours in a pre-heated oven set to 325°F.

What you should know

If your oven is a bit hot, like my mum’s, an hour should be ample. Check carefully with a knife that it is done — the knife must be completely clean when you take it out of the cake. Mum says that a loose base tin is the best, then you just lift it out. She also says that her oven is hotter on one side (it’s quite old now) so she checks the cake a few times to make sure it isn’t burning on one side.

One last thing… don’t confuse mixed spice with allspice. They are quite different.

Re: Mum's honey cake

This looks delicious and I plan on making it with some yummy blueberry honey that I just got at the market, but I have one question. Can I use fresh coffee beans ground up into a fine powder? I would hate to buy a whole tin of instant for two tablespoons.

Re: Mum's honey cake

I am sure that would be fine… though you may want to strain the liquid to avoid any bits getting through!

Re: Mum's honey cake