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Little Honey Cake


Little Honey Cake

These bite-size cakes are actually biscuits dipped in honey syrup. They take a bit of patience to make but keep for ages, so you can make them the week before Rosh Hashanah. They are perfect as a gift or to serve for afternoon tea. — Merelyn Chalmers in The Feast Goes On

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For the honey syrup

  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthways
  • 1 Cup honey
  • ½ Cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the cakes

  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ Teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ Teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 Cup light olive oil
  • ¾ Cup superfine sugar
  • ¼ Cup sweet sacramental wine or port
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Strained juice of 1 orange, about ⅓ cup
  • ⅓ Cup pistachio nuts, toasted and finely chopped


For the honey syrup

For the honey syrup, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into a saucepan, add the bean, honey, light brown sugar, lemon juice and zest, and the cinnamon stick. Slowly bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

For the cakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking trays.

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil and sugar until well combined, then stir in the wine and orange zest and juice.

Gradually pour the oil mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to form a rough dough. Place in the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the dough hook, beat for 5 minutes until smooth, shiny and glutinous, adding extra flour if the dough is too sticky.

Roll the mixture into small walnut-size balls and place them 1¼ inches apart on the prepared baking trays. Lightly flatten each ball with the back of a spoon to make a slight indent and bake for 12 minutes, or until firm.

Remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick from the warm syrup, pour into a shallow dish and soak the cakes in the syrup for 30 seconds on each side. Using two forks, lift the cakes from the syrup and place on a wire rack positioned over a tray. Sprinkle with the pistachios and allow to stand for 1 hour.

The cakes will keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 weeks.