Honey cake emerges from its hibernation around the High Holidays in the fall, when honey and other sweet foods are eaten to usher in a sweet new year.
But as much as this is an early fall cake for the holidays, its warming spices make it a perfect winter cake as the finish to a delightful Winter Celebration Menu, or as a morning treat with coffee.
This deliciously crumbly cake served as an exercise in imperfection for me, once again.
Gorgeously garnished and glazed in my mind…created for the perfect Winter Celebration Menu with my favorite feasting friends at the house…the cake chose not to escape elaborately or delicately from the tiara cake pan I choose.
Thus, we have a rustic “irregular” cake.
I must say, however, blemished the presentation, the flavor is and was downright amazing.
Cinnamon Glazed Honey Orange Rye Cake
1 1/2 cups melted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pure honey
3/4 cup lukewarm coffee (brewed and cooled slightly)
1 tsp. fresh orange zest
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup powdered sugar
5-6 Tbs. milk
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fresh orange zest
Candied Orange Peel**
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan with butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together the 1 1/2 cups of melted butter, the eggs, sugar, honey, coffee, and orange zest. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture, then stir with a fork or a whisk until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until set in the middle—the cake should hold firm when lightly pressed on top.
Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before very carefully inverting it and removing the pan.
Allow the cake to completely cool before drizzling with Cinnamon Glaze:
Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, cinnamon, and orange zest. Drizzle over the edges of the cake, allowing the mixture to glaze all vertical surfaces.
Garnish with Candied Orange Peel**
1 large orange, scrubbed well
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbs. white sugar, divided
Using a serrated vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the orange in long, vertical strips ~ leaving as much of the bitter white pith on the fruit as possible.
Reserve the lemons for another use.
Cut the peels into thin, delicate slices.
Place the peels in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds.
Drain in a colander.
Repeat ~ this removes the bitterness of the pith, but also lessens the lemon flavor intensity. For a stronger lemon flavor, boil twice. For a mellower taste, boil three times.
While draining the peels, bring 2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups sugar to a boil. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the peels and reduce to a simmer, for about 60 minutes.
Strain the peels, reserving the orange simple syrup for another use (think yummy cocktails).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the peels out in an even layer on the parchment. Let the peels cool for about 15 minutes till tacky to the touch.
Dip the peels into the remaining sugar, tossing until coated. Sugar coating the peels will add sweetness and help to keep them from sticking together.
Place the peels back on the parchment. Let them dry for 2-3 hours.