Thursday, April 12, 2012

Honey Nut Cake in Syrup

As a kid, I remember thinking that the 8 days of Passover were never-ending. We usually had the majority of the holiday off from school and I have memories of sitting around with Alyssa and other friends in the kitchen searching for something to eat and fighting our cravings for pizza and tacos. 

My parents cooked a lot but they were never big bakers so our Passover sweets were usually store bought and not very satisfying. Just chocolate covered matzah, coconut macaroons, and raspberry rolls.  

But with time, not eating bread products or legumes has gotten much easier. This year, I was looking forward to having a forced adjustment to my diet. I find my diet to be too bread heavy. Partly because restaurants in Turkey usually serve food with a basket of bread. And if there is bread in front of me it is often hard to avoid taking a slice. But also, much of the snacks and street food are made of bread and when running around during a busy day that is what I end up eating.

For this Passover, I had several main courses in mind that I planned to make. Desserts, on the other hand, I was unsure about.  I have not done a lot of successful Passover baking in the past.  So I started with this cake.  It is a simple cake, that is incredibly easy to make and the batter requires little time to prepare.  It has a flavor of nuts, without being overpowering. With the honey syrup, you end up with a cake that is a little bit of a citrus flavor that balances out the sweetness. Considering how easy it was to prepare and how quickly it was eaten, this cake is a winner, Passover or not.

Honey Nut Cake in syrup
adapted from

Makes 1 cake

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon finely minced orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup matzoh cake meal
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds
1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Soaking Syrup

2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 7-inch round layer cake pan.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the granulated and brown sugars with the oil and eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the remaining batter ingredients. 

3.  Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown and set. Cool for at least 20 minutes. 

While the cake is baking you can prepare the soaking syrup.

4. In a medium saucepan, combine the ingredients. Heat to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool well.

5.  Pour the cooled syrup over the cooled cake, poking holes in the cake with a fork, to permit the syrup to penetrate. Let the cake rest for 1 to 2 hours to soak the syrup and get moist and then serve.


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