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Fall brings harvest, naked trees and generally a new Jewish year.  This year is 5772.  The Hebrew calendar is lunar, so holidays don’t fall at the same time each year.  We eat apples and honey to welcome a sweet new year.  This takes on a few variations in the form of honey cake or apple cake.

This year I went to my 3rd synagogue in three years.  I’ve been congregation shopping.  The thing I find most interesting about services is that no matter where you go, the person who sings Avinu Malkeinu, is always a  mousy, squeaky woman.  The song sounds the same everywhere.

I love people watching.  So it was pretty entertaining seeing the guy in the choir who looked and sounded like Woody Allen.  Let me tell you, that makes for an awesome singing voice.  The president of the congregation looks like Beaker (without the crazy hair and quite a bit rounder) which made me giggle during his annual plea for money.

Then there was the old guy (75ish) who’s cell phone went off during services and HE ANSWERED IT!  Really?! I thought only 16 year olds were that stupid/rude/insensitive…

I’ll be making a honey cake, an old family recipe.  A celebration to my Judiasm.

Ok. so I lied.  I can’t find my family recipe.  and I know I had 2 different versions.  As I went in search of a new recipe I found the one I HAD to make.  In Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America there is a recipe from  Runi Hyman of Portland who provided kosher meals for transients and hungry folks from the 1920’s until 1970.

Oregon’s Kosher Maven’s Honey Cake

3 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup oil (I used safflower)
1 cup honey
1 cup warm black coffee
1/2 slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350*
Mix and sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar into a bowl. Make a well in the center and add the sugar, cinnamon, egg yolks, lemon juice, zest, oil, honey and almonds.

Beat the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold the egg white mixture into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

That’s the original recipe as published. I strayed and made mine in muffin cups (helps with portion control) and I omitted the almonds (not a huge fan).  I also used turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw).  Truth be told, I’m not a great folder, so I’m not sure how much air was left in my egg whites once it all came together.  oh and since I made them as cupcakes, they were done in 26 minutes.

The final result was just what I had hoped for.  Delicate honey flavor, moist and tender crumb.  Honey cake yumminess!

L’Shanah tova.  For a good year.

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