There are a few different foods associated with the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Apples, honey, pomegranate, are dominant ones, and desserts containing any of the above.
In the past we have pretty much steered away from anything with honey in it to avoid any surprise allergens. Everyone knows the risk honey poses to children in the first year (it contains bacteria which can germinate in an infant’s digestive system and cause infant botulism), but not a lot of people seem to understand why honey can be dangerous for those with food allergies. Bees collect flower nectar and ingest and regurgitate the nectar repeatedly until it is partially digested and then is stored in the honeycomb. Extra water is then evaporated off the honey, bringing it to its final state.
Simple enough, so what’s the problem? Even though honey is often marked as being derived from the nectar of a certain type of flower, ultimately it is impossible to control or know with 100% accuracy to which fields or orchards the bees flew to when connecting nectar, and the potential for cross contamination means that food allergy sufferers need to be careful if not stay away altogether.
So, why do I bring this up? Because this is the first year that I actually made honey” cake for Rosh Hashanah, and I’m kind of excited about it. Substituting out eggs and dairy is hard enough, but subbing out the honey seemed like such a daunting task, so I was really happy to find some recipes in the local paper that sounded like they could work out for a vegan honey cake. I was hoping to have time to try two different recipes, but of course my reality check came pretty quickly to correct that thought. So I chose to focus on a more traditional recipe, using applesauce to substitute the eggs, and date puree in place of the honey, and I have to say it really did turn out just like a traditional honey cake. I split the recipe and cooked it in two loaf pans so I have one for each day of Rosh Hashanah.
Here’s the recipe – Enjoy, and Happy New Year!
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 10 dates, pitted and soaked
- ¼ cup boiling water
- ½ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- whole or chopped almonds for decoration (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and line two loaf pans or a 24 cm springform pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor or blender, add your dates and the hot water and pulse until smooth. From this pulse, measure 1 cup and add it to a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Add to the bowl the remaining wet ingredients (oil, vanilla, and sugar, applesauce) and stir well.
- Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, stirring shallowly at first to combine the dry ingredients, and then fully to create a smooth mixture.
- Pour the batter into your cake pan(s). Top with nuts if desired.
- Bake at 180C for 20-24 min, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool before removing from the pan.
Kathryn Grace says
If I already left a comment on this, I apologize. I think this is the second time I’ve run across this recipe today, but I could be mistaken. The old gray cells sometimes get a little confused. Anyway, this cake looks positively scrumptious. I’m thrilled that you made it with whole wheat flour, so much so that I shared it on my Facebook page, Cooking with Whole Grains & Real Whole Foods.
Thanks for a lovely recipe.
Thanks Kathryn – I actually make all of my baked goods with whole wheat flour!
I don’t celebrate this holiday but I feel like I want to celebrate this baked good! It sounds and looks yummy!
It is a delicious holiday 😉