A Chodosh Family Tradition
Contributed by Lisa Chodosh
This recipe comes from my paternal grandmother, Rebecca Chodosh. As was typical of her generation, she never wrote down any of her recipes. It took my beloved Aunt Pearl to stand by her side and diligently measure each ingredient and record the procedure. I've updated the method a bit to reflect modern techniques and equipment, but this cake will always bring back loving memories of two great ladies.
Both of these fine cooks liked to make taiglach on one day, then make the honey cake the next using the honey the taiglach had been boiled in. If you're lucky enough to have taiglach honey at hand, use it in place of the jarred honey, omit the ground ginger and reduce the amount of sugar to 1/2 cup.
This cake is a bit spongy in texture, and will have a fair number of small holes and tunnels. This is as it should be. The flavor is slightly spicy and the cake is not overly sweet. It will stay, wrapped well, for many days at room temperature and even longer in the refrigerator.
1 cup honey
1 cup brewed coffee, strong
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons anise seed, ground
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (or margarine), melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a saucepan, heat coffee and honey together just to the boil. Turn off heat, stir to make sure honey is fully dissolved, allow mixture to cool.
Sift flour with baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and anise seed. (Anise seed can be ground in a spice grinder, with a mortar and pestle, or placed in a plastic bag and crushed with a rolling pin).
Place eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer, mix to blend well. With machine running, gradually add the sugar to the eggs, mixing until sugar is dissolved. Add cooled, melted shortening or margarine.
With the mixer running on low speed, alternately add coffee/honey mixture and flour to the batter. Add vanilla. Beat until just mixed through. Scrape down bowl, turn on machine just to mix.
Generously grease and flour a 9x13" pan. Pour batter into pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes in a preheated 350° oven, until cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a rack before unmolding.
This cake is best wrapped and stored for 24 hours before serving to allow the flavors to fully develop.
Lisa Chodosh grew up in Wayland and is now a Manhattan-based restaurant consultant who regularly cooks for crowds. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.