Traditional Honey Cake

Great Grandma's Honey Cake

When visiting my dad in Montreal I overheard him and a friend talk about his two wonderful family recipes for honey cake. Not having been raised with my father, and knowing very little about his side of the family - I couldn't pass on the opportunity to connect to my paternal ancenstors via culinary traditions. One of them was from a friend of my grandma and seems a bit too tricky to make. The other, which I'm sharing here, seems very authentic and has even more honey than my Savta Ruthie's recipe which I grew up on.

It is very moist, and having less spices (and no cloves at all - fathom that!) it has a definitive honey flavour, which is a good thing. Honey is a strong flavour when added to more delicate things; but can easily get lost in a recipe such as cakes and cookies. It has very little oil, and is immensely moist and with a long shelf life. It is wonderful accompaniment to either tea or coffee. And also makes a very big cake, that you can cut into squares and share with family and friends as a gift - simply wrap in a wax paper and tie with a bow.

The cake has a bit of an unusual mixing method, so pay attention to the instructions:

Preheat oven to 350F/180c

Mix together ("Honey")
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup suagr
3 Tbs vegetable oil 
1 lb honey, liquid (place in hot bath prior if it has already crystallized) 

Mix together ("Tea"):
1 cup dark tea, cooled + 1 tsp baking soda

Sift or mix dry ingredients:
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp allspice, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Additives:
1/2 cup nuts (such as pecans, walnuts or sliced/slivered almonds)
1/2 cup raising or dates, dusted with some flour first (if you don't do that they will sink to the bottom of the pan and burn or caramelize at best) 

Juice of 1 orange 

Alternately add the tea blend and the dry ingredients to the honey blend. Mix well. Add the nuts and dried fruit and the orange juice. 

Place in a a round spinrgform pan lined with a baking sheet (or in a large rectangle pan) and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Keeps well but if you don't think you can eat it within a week, keep it refrigerated. 

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