Recipe: Honey Cake with Orange and Earl Grey Tea

Honey Cake with Orange and Earl Grey Tea
Honey Cake with Orange and Earl Grey TeaSally Pasley Vargas for the Boston Globe

Makes one 10-inch Bundt cake

While honey cake is the traditional cake served on Rosh Hashanah, this one, which is packed with spices, a surprising hint of bergamot from Earl Grey tea, and plenty of orange flavor, should be on your table all fall. Olive oil ensures that the cake will not be dry, and Chinese five-spice powder — a combination of cinnamon, cloves, star anise, fennel, and pepper — adds an interesting twist on traditional honey cake spices. It is worth acquiring five-spice to add to muffins, carrot cake, or your favorite spicy dessert. Or substitute the four ground spices suggested here. All you need to make this easy cake is a bowl and a whisk. After it bakes in a Bundt pan, and cools, glaze the top with honey and orange juice, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Whether Rosh Hashanah is your traditional holiday, or one that you adopt, it is a sweet way to celebrate the Jewish New Year and the cool days that follow.



Vegetable shortening (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan)
cups flour
2teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
2teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder (or substitute 1 teaspoon ground ginger, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground cloves, teaspoon ground black pepper)
teaspoons ground cinnamon
1cup granulated sugar
1cup olive oil
1cup honey
½cup brewed Earl Grey tea, cooled
Grated rind of 1 orange
1teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Use the shortening to generously grease a 10-inch Bundt pan. Sprinkle it with flour and tilt the pan to coat it, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, 5-spice powder (or ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper), and 1½ teaspoons cinnamon until blended.

3. In a large bowl with a whisk, beat the eggs and sugar until light. Whisk in the oil, honey, tea, orange rind, and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture until evenly blended.

4. Pour the batter into the pan. Tap the pan once on the counter to settle any air pockets. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the cake is done when it registers about 210 degrees.)


5. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn out the cake and let it cool completely on the wire rack.


1tablespoon honey
1tablespoon orange juice
2tablespoons turbinado sugar or natural cane sugar

1. In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the honey and orange juice for 10 seconds, or just until the honey liquifies.

2. Brush the honey mixture all over the cake and sprinkle with turbinado or cane sugar. Let the cake sit for 15 minutes before cutting into thick slices. Sally Pasley Vargas