Last updated on August 17th, 2023.
Whether you feel like baking something not too complicated and time-consuming, but you still wish to impress someone, this Honey Almond Cake is the answer. Moist and tender spiced honey cake soaked with honey and topped with crunchy toasted almonds.
This cake does not call for almond flour or almond paste; it only calls for silvered toasted almonds sprinkled on top of the cake post-baking. This simple and unsophisticated addition of almonds takes a delicious honey cake to the next level by adding a toasted nutty flavor and a crispy texture.
The cake in this recipe is the same recipe as this Traditional Jewish Honey Cake, with a few minor and simple changes. And just like the Traditional Jewish Honey cake and this amazing Jewish Apple cake, this cake is a great way to celebrate the Jewish holidays traditionally. This cake is a great way to celebrate anything, including nothing at all.
Why honey cake?
Spoiler alert: the reason is not rooted in the failed attempt of our enemy to destroy us…
Well, as its name suggests, honey cake is sweetened with honey and is full of warm honey flavors.
In the Jewish tradition it is custom to eat honey cake during the Jewish new year (Rosh-Hashana) as a blessing and a wishful thinking to the upcoming year to be as rich and as sweet as honey.
Also, there is the symbolic meaning of unity. Honey is made by bees who work together in unity, and this unity is believed to be a source of strength and prosperity. It is with a unity that the Jewish people will service and prosper.
Other names for Honey Cake
A traditional Jewish honey cake is also known as Lekach, and it means” honey cake” in Yiddish. However, the name is rooted in the German word lecke meaning “lick”.
I am not sure if it refers to the idea of licking the spatula during the baking process or licking the fingers while eating this cake (or after). If I had to guess, I would say both, and feel free to quote me on that.
Why this Honey Almond Cake recipe?
The two main reasons firstly, this recipe is unbelievably delicious and is a celebration of flavors and textures in the mouth. Secondly, this is a straightforward and super-fast recipe you can bake last minute with no special preparations. Especially since this recipe calls for everyday pantry ingredients, you most likely have in your pantry.
Ingredients used in this Honey Almond Cake recipe:
- Dark brown sugar, since this type of sugar is coated with molasses, it provides moisture and a flavor that goes wonderfully with spices and honey.
- Eggs, at room temperature. In this recipe the eggs have few jobs: they aerate the cake and provide volume and height; they stabilize the cake as the cake is baking and then later prevent it from collapsing and also contribute some flavors.
- All-purpose flour, this cake is essentially a pound cake with a rich and dense texture, AP flour is the best way to go about it.
- Ground cinnamon is the best way to enhance the sweet honey and provide a warm and comforting flavor.
- Vegetable oil, like motioned above it is important that the cake is dairy-free and vegetable oil is the best choice for this cake as it is 100% fat and is flavorless.
- Salt, for flavor balance.
- Baking soda is one of the two sources of aeration, in this case, the other being the eggs. (As we beat the eggs with the sugar, we incorporate air).
- Unsweetened apple sauce is used in this cake for two main reasons, firstly, it is a non-dairy source of liquid. Secondly, apple sauce is very acidic which will activate the baking soda and balance the sweetness coming from the sugar and honey. Check out THESE apple muffins for another recipe that calls for apple sauce.
- Honey is the heart of the recipe. Use a good brand, the darker the better.
- Slivered toasted almonds, slivered because they spread almost evenly on the cake, and toasted because they have the “nuttiest” flavor.
For ingredients subsections options, click HERE.
Baking the cake:
Baking this Honey Almond cake has two parts: the mixing process part and the soaking-topping part.
Part one: the mixing process of this Honey Almond Cake
You can find the full recipe including measurements at the bottom of this post.
Firstly, and most important is to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature, or else the cake will turn out too tough. The sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon) and the apple sauce and honey in a separate bowl.
One: beat the eggs and sugar together until light in color and doubled in volume, about 2-3 minutes on high speed.
Two: with the mixer on medium-high, drizzle in the vegetable oil.
Three: mix in 1/3 of the dry mixture followed with ½ of the apple sauce than repeat with the rest.
Four: Pour the batter into t greased pan and bake.
Part two: soaking and topping the cake:
Allow the cake to cool for about 10-15 minutes in the pan then invert the cake on top of a cooling rack. Place the cooking rack on top of a baking sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 300F.
Using a toothpick or a cake tester gently pock the cake throughout its top surface, (I counted 200 pocks, gentle is key). Then using a pastry brush the top of the cake with honey.
Sprinkle the cake with the toasted almonds and bake for 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow the cake to completely cool before gently moving it to a serving plate. Moving the cake while it is warm might break it.
When soaking a cake with syrup, always make sure that the syrup is at the opposite temperature of the cake. So, if your honey cake is warm use room temperature honey. However, if you baked the cake a few hours to 1 day in advance, warm the honey in the microwave for 30 seconds.
Storing the cake:
The cake is best eaten fresh and at room temperature. It is best to store the cake at room temperature for up to 2 days.
You can bake the cake one day in advance before soaking and topping. Also, you can bake the cake up to 3 weeks ahead and store it in the freezer.
To freeze the cake, make sure to wrap the cake with plastic wrap and place it in a freezable plastic bag before freezing it. Once ready to serve, remove from the freezer, unwrap it and allow it to reach room temperature before soaking and topping.
Frequently asked questions:
I don’t like almonds; what are my options?
You can replace the almonds with pecans, walnuts, or any other nut you prefer. Also, you can skip the topping part altogether.
The cake seems to be too sweet; can I reduce the amount of sugar or honey?
I do not recommend reducing the amount of honey. But yes, you can reduce the amount of sugar by a ¼ cup and only use ½ cup (100 g) of sugar. However, depside the fact that the cake calls for honey and sugar, it is not overly sweet since the apple sauce is an acidic product that balances the sweetness of the cake.
Can I bake this cake in a different pan?
Yes, you can bake this cake in 9” or 8” round pan as well as a 8” loaf pan. Make sure to adjust the baking time. The cake is ready when a toothpick comes out clean at the center of the cake.
Can I use homemade apple sauce?
Yes. However, since homemade apple sauce is very fresh, it contains more pectin, which may interfere with the setting of the cake. (The cake might look wet or unset). If that happens, reduce the amount of apple sauce to 125 g. (about ½ cup).
What other option can I frost the cake with?
THIS cream cheese frosting is perfect for this cake. Chocolate ganache like THIS one is also a good option.
One more thing…
Don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram if you bake this recipe. Would love to see your creations!
Almond Honey Cake
- 3/4 Cup Light or brown Sugar (150 g / 5.5 oz)
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil (200 g / 7 oz)
- 1 2/3 Cup AP Flour (200 g / 7 oz)
- 2 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 3/4 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce (200 g / 7 oz)
- 1/3 Cup + 2 TBS Honey (150 g / 5.5 oz)
- 1/2 Cup Sliced toasted almonds
- 1/2 Cup Warm honey for soaking
Preheat oven to 340F. Line the bottom of 9" round pan with parchment paper and grease the sides.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon,salt and baking soda together. set aside.
In a large measuring cup, mix the applesauce and honey together. Set aside.
In a bowl of a standing mixer, place the sugar and eggs and mix medium speed for a few minutes until the mix is lighter in color. 4-5 minutes
Change mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle the oil into the bowl. Allow to incorporate. Return speed to medium.
Add the flour in 3 additions alternating with the Applesauce honey mix.
Pour batter into greased pan.
Bake until the center is golden and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. About 25-30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool.
When reay to top the cake. Preheat oven to 300F. Remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet.
With a small tooth pick, pook the cake brush it with warm honey and top with almonds.
Bake for 5 minutes. Allow the cake to completely cool before placing in a serving dish.