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Honey cake has been on my mind because it is traditionally made during Rosh Hashanah, the celebration of the Jewish New Year, which occurred last week. The cake is sweetened with granulated sugar and brown sugar, but most significantly, with honey, which symbolizes wishes for a sweet new year.
Honey cakes are moist and compact in crumb, fragrant with spices like cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. A rich mahogany color, its scent is warm and inviting; it's easy to see why it belongs on the holiday table. In addition to spices and honey, this cake includes coffee, apple cider, orange zest, and whiskey. While the coffee doesn't assert itself, it does add depth and richness to the cake. Apple cider and whiskey round out the flavors of this heady, spicy cake.
Although there is plenty of honey in the cake, I've added a shellack to the exterior for good measure. Even if Rosh Hashanah is over, honey cake is a perfect recipe for the fall and winter months that will be here before we know it.