Annabelle’s Honey Cake

For years, loaf-style honey cake eluded me. I tried tons of recipes, but always ended up with loaves that were burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. A few weeks ago, a colleague mentioned a wonderful recipe that her mom, Annabelle, uses each year to make honey cake.

This is that recipe, and it gave me a very important reminder about how the type of pan you use will affect your outcome. The loaf on the right in this photo baked in my King Arthur Flour loaf pan and yielded a nearly perfect loaf, with a bottom and sides that are just slightly darker than my personal preference. The loaf on the left, however, baked in a darker pan from another maker and yielded a bottom and sides that are certainly too dark to serve. Next time, I’ll pull the darker pan much earlier and will cut down the baking time in my King Arthur Flour pan by about 3 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup strong black tea

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray two 9 x 5 loaf pans with cooking spray and line each with parchment.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg whites with a fork to combine. Add sugar, vegetable oil, honey, and tea; stir to combine. Add flour mixture in several small batches, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine.

Divide batter evenly between pans; I used a 1/2 cup measuring cup and scooped portions into each pan to try to get as even a division as possible.

Bake for 40-55 minutes*, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pans for a few minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Makes two 9 x 5 loaves.

*The original recipe called for baking for 45-55 minutes, but this was too long for my oven. For a dark pan, I’d recommend baking for about 38-40 minutes, and for a lighter pan, for about 40-45 minutes, to prevent sides and bottoms that are too dark. 

 

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Pecan Bread Budding

Shana tovah, friends! This week’s celebration of Rosh Hashannah meant some fun fall baking and this delicious pecan bread pudding. It’s another winning recipe from my Better Homes & Gardens Fall Baking magazine, a make-it-mine recipe that you can customize to your liking.

I chose to leave out the dried fruit (I’ve never been a fan of things like raisins) and go with pecans, and to add some homemade butterscotch sauce for serving. You could easily mix in dried fruit or different types of nuts depending on your tastes. I used challah, but you could use whatever bread you prefer. French bread or cinnamon swirl bread seem like great ideas.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups dried bread cubes*
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Butterscotch sauce, for serving if desired

*To dry bread cubes, toast them in a 300 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until very light golden, stirring a few times. 

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Lightly grease a 2-quart square baking dish.

Place bread cubes and pecans in baking dish.

In a 4-cup measuring cup (or medium bowl), combine eggs, milk, melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Pour over bread cubes, stirring to coat them.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, until puffed and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 10 minutes; serve warm with butterscotch sauce, if desired.

Makes 8 servings.

Caramel Apple Cookies

caramelapplecookiesShanah tovah, friends! Tonight at sundown, Rosh Hashannah begins, and we celebrate the Jewish New Year. We don’t have big plans here in the Kozusko-Marcus interfaith household, but naturally, all holidays must be marked with baked goods.

These caramel apple cookies are a great choice for fall, and for Rosh Hashannah, when one gives blessings for a sweet new year. I found the original recipe at Cooking Classy and adapted it slightly, altering the amount of grated apple in the cookies and adding several more teaspoons of apple juice concentrate to the frosting in order to make it spreadable. The frosting sets up very, very quickly – almost immediately – and the additional concentrate is absolutely necessary unless you’re going for something like caramel apple fudge (which would be delicious, but not really useful as frosting).

Tonight, whether you celebrate Rosh Hashannah or not, perhaps you’ll reflect on the coming year and what you hope to accomplish…I know I will, and that many recipes will be involved!

Ingredients

For the apple cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated (about 3/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • scant* 1/2 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed but cold

*Note: “scant” = less 1 tablespoon

For the caramel apple frosting

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate, plus about 3-4 teaspoons more for thinning (see below)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.

Place grated apple and lemon juice in a small bowl and toss to combine; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and beat well to combine.

Add about half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined; with the mixer running on low, slowly pour in apple juice concentrate. Add remaining flour and beat until combined. Stir in grated apple.

Using a 2-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of dough onto prepared sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12-13 minutes, until cookies are set. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: in a medium saucepan, combine butter, brown sugar, and 2 1/2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the sugar melts.

Add powdered sugar, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and scraping the pan well. Continue adding powdered sugar, alternating with 1 teaspoon of concentrate at a time; I used about 4 additional teaspoons of concentrate to reach a spreadable consistency.

Very quickly spread frosting on cookies and immediately top with pecans; it helps if you have an assistant to sprinkle on the pecans as you continue frosting.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.