Honey-Spice Cake

Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

I don’t have a crazy sweet tooth, but I love the honey-spice cake I developed while writing How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It tastes unmistakably of honey, but it’s neither too sweet nor too rich. Instead, it’s got plenty of character, thanks to a little rye flour and plenty of spices. It’s almost more like a quick bread than a cake—perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of coffee or tea.


2 tablespoons butter, plus butter for the pan
1 tablespoon grated or finely minced orange zest
1 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rye or whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch salt
Pinch each ground allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee


Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan (if you double the recipe, you can use a tube pan). Combine the 2 tablespoons butter and the zest in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until the butter sizzles, then turn off the heat. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Beat the eggs and sugar together until the mixture is light and thick; beat in the honey and coffee, followed by the butter/zest mixture. Add the dry ingredients by hand, stirring just to combine; do not beat. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let the cake rest in the pan for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a rack. Remove the pan, then turn the cake right side up. Let cool before slicing.


Yield: Makes: 1 loaf (8 or more servings)
Time: About 1 hour, plus time to cool