Updating the Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

— by Margo Sugarman

I am not a huge fan of the honey cake. I have rarely tasted one that was not dry or sticking in the throat. The recipe that I had been using for honey cake all these years was “okay,” but nothing more. Now I decided it was time to update my recipe and give it a twist. Why not cupcakes? They are so in fashion that a honey cake version almost demands being made this Rosh Hashanah. So after a few less-than-successful attempts at adjusting my recipe and making it cupcake-friendly, I think I have done it. My loyal testers (my husband and kids) gave them a hearty thumbs up, and that is all I needed to proceed to the next step — sharing the recipe.

Full recipe after the jump.
This recipe is still based on the cake we used to eat at home, which my mother called “ginger cake,” and not “honey cake.” The reason was that she flavored it liberally with ginger powder, which gave the cake a really fragrant spicy taste, which I love. This recipe is still heavy on the ginger.

I made two different frostings to go with the cupcakes, another update to the traditionally dry cake. One is a honey glaze, and the other is a tofu cream cheese frosting (which is my favorite).

I have made the cupcakes parve, but you can use butter instead of margarine for a slightly creamier flavor, and you can use regular cream cheese instead of the tofu version.

Honey Cupcakes With Two Frostings

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup margarine/butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt

How to do it

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F.
  2. Line two muffin tins with #5 size cupcake liners.
  3. Whisk the sugar and margarine in a mixer on high speed until creamy. Add the eggs and whisk for a few minutes, until the mixture has lightened and has a fluffy consistency.
  4. Add the honey, and mix on medium speed to combine.
  5. Add all the dry ingredients, and mix on slow speed until just combined. (Resist the urge to eat all the batter…)
  6. Using a tablespoon, fill the cupcake liners no more than halfway up — the batter rises quite high in the oven, but does drop afterwards.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick can come out of the center of a cupcake clean.

Makes about 22 cupcakes

Frostings

Honey Glaze

  1. Mix together 8 tablespoons honey, 8 tablespoons icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Slowly add hot water, until you reach a runny consistency — the mixture will be slightly translucent.
  2. Using a tablespoon, you can glaze the cupcakes when they are still warm, and they will absorb the glaze to become slightly sticky. You can also wait until they are cool, and then glaze.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Mix together 2/3 cup Tofutti cream cheese and 3 teaspoons of honey until smooth. Gradually add about 5-6 cups of icing sugar, until you reach a spreading consistency. (Note: With the Tofutti cheese, you will always have a slightly runny consistency. If you use regular cream cheese, you will achieve a consistency that is more stable, and can easily be piped out of a bag if required. If you want to pipe the frosting, you will need a larger quantity of it.)
  2. Spread frosting on completely cooled cupcakes.

Margo Sugarman is the creator of The Kosher Blogger, a website of keeping kosher and loving good food.

Cupcakes With an Israeli Twist

— by Margo Sugarman

When I first visited Israel as a child, one of the new tastes that I have experienced and loved was the iconic Nesher malt beer. As a child, the concept of drinking beer, even though it was alcohol free, was very exciting. The taste of this local malt brew was wonderfully caramelly and rich, and to this day, I love the taste, which brings me back to my first visit to Israel.

While cupcakes are definitely not an Israeli confectionery, one way of bringing a little Israel-ism into these small cakes is by baking them with malt beer. When I came across a parve cupcake recipe, that used stout beer, on Chef Chloe’s vegan cooking website, I knew I had to make a few adaptations to make it more Israeli by using malt beer instead. Malt beer is said to also have additional health benefits (although I am not sure whether they survive baking at 350 degrees). The result is a very moist chocolate cupcake, that’s parve, and uses no eggs either.

Full recipe after the jump.
You can frost these cupcakes with any frosting you wish. I use a Tofutti-based cream cheese frosting for parve. Otherwise, any butter or cream cheese frosting will work well.

Malt Beer Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 12/ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup malt beer
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla

How to do it

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix until the mixture is homogenous.
  3. Line a muffin tin with #5 cupcake liners, and fill each to about two-thirds full with batter.
  4. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Makes 14-16 cupcakes

Parve Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, mix 90g (3 oz) Tofutti cream cheese and a few drops of vanilla extract until combined.
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time, and mix until combined. Continue adding the powdered sugar until you get a good spreading consistency — about 300g (10 oz) powdered sugar (3 cups). (Note: When you use the Tofutti cream cheese to make frosting, you won’t reach a stiff spreading consistency as you do when using butter or cream cheese. This frosting will always be glossy and soft.)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of soft butter, 100 grams of 25% fat cream cheese, and a few drops of vanilla.
  2. When it is smooth, gradually start adding powdered sugar (about 300 grams of powdered sugar in total), and mix until you get a good spreading consistency (the mixture should not fall off the spoon or should not run off the beaters).

Vanilla Butter Frosting

  1. In an electric mixer, beat 110g (4 oz)  unsalted butter, 60 ml milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 250 g (10 oz) powdered sugar, until completely smooth.
  2. Gradually add up to another 250g (10 oz) powdered sugar, and beat until the frosting has a smooth spreading consistency.

Margo Sugarman is the creator of The Kosher Blogger, a website of keeping kosher and loving good food.