Sunday, September 28, 2008

Equal Opportunity Cooking

Pear and Honey Cake

I am not going to pretend to know much about the Jewish religion. I have a very superficial knowledge of Jewish holidays and customs. I have had one Jewish friend in my life and few Jewish aqaintances. There is no specific reason why I just have not encountered many Jewish people. According to Sperlings Best The Jewish population of Fayetteville makes up just 0.10% of the total population. I have lived here for about 14 yrs so that might have a little something to do with it.

Honey Cake is a Traditional Rosh Hoshana/Jewish New Year dessert. I saw this Honey Cake on Smitten Kitchen and it looked so moist and was such a beautiful dark brown that I knew I had to make it.

I am pretty sure you don't have to be Jewish to eat or enjoy Honey Cake but I thought it might be nice to understand a little bit about it.

Rosh Hoshana (Jewish New Year) begins at sundown Sept 29th (this year).

Like Southerns eat black eyed peas for good luck on New Years (according to the traditional calendar) and Northerners eat cabbage;Jewish people eat Honey. Honey is supposed to encourage a "sweet" new year. Apples are also supposed to be good luck as they represent the "sweetness of life." Apparently the two combined are especially good luck.

The apple thing ...well I read that AFTER I had my heart set on adding pears to this. I mean honey and pears? Tell me that does not sound good! I am sure apples would also be a great addition. Heck, Go CRAZY, add BOTH! I also did not add the almonds to this but the recipe calls for them sprinkled over the top.

The only other change I made to this was the original recipe called for whiskey I did not have any whiskey so I substituted spiced Rum. I thought the spicy flavor would compliment it nicely.

Was I right? Well let me tell you I can't find anything wrong with it! I was very diligent in measuring ingredients and my "non-baking self" is pretty proud of this. I was not disappointed in how moist it is and it is equally dark and beautiful just like the pictures I saw on Smitten Kitchen

Pear and Honey Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup room temperature coffee
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup-spiced Rum
2 pears peeled and diced
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Fits in three loaf pans, two 9-inch square or round cake pans, one 9 or 10 inch tube or bundt cake pan, or one 9 by 13 inch sheet cake.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. Make a well in the center, and add oil, honey, white sugar, brown sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee , orange juice and rum . (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a sturdy wire whisk mix until dry ingredients are well incorporated. Fold in diced Pears.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top).* This part is Smitten Kitchens specific instructions I am not sure why but since she is a master baker and I am not, I listened.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Ran across your blog - I love it!

I will be cooking for a few days now! My kids go to year round school here in Fayetteville, and this week has been a bear for finding "new and exciting" meals, snacks, etc. Rachel Ray needs to send out a bi-weekly magazine for my household! (I am in trouble, the boys are only 6!)

Thanks for sharing the honey cake recipe and its background.