It’s the Jewish New Year and nothing symbolizes a sweet new year like this delicious and gluten-free honey cake recipe. My secret flavor-add is coffee. This cake is rich, sweet, moist and festive. Happy New Year. This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosures.
L’shana Tova or Happy New Year!
On Rosh Hashanah, Jews around the world will celebrate the Jewish New Year.
Symbolically, people celebrate Rosh Hashanah with a lot of sweet dishes. This is to wish people a new year filled with sweetness. This holiday is loaded with sugary stuff, but it’s worth it for one day!
A traditional, sweet dish made for Rosh Hashanah is honey cake.
Most people who eat gluten free think they have to give up honey cake, but alas, you do not because I’ve got you covered with this stupendous gluten-free honey cake recipe. Get ready to enjoy honey cake again (sans gluten!).
Why Honey Cake?
Honey is a symbolic food eaten for Rosh Hashanah. Jews around the world dip apples in honey to symbolize a sweet New Year.
Inspired to make a traditional sweet dessert for Rosh Hashanah, I dusted off my go-to honey cake recipe and converted it into a gluten-free honey cake recipe instead.
The best way to do this is to use one of the awesome one-to-one gluten-free baking flours available. We are so lucky that we have so many options.
I used this exact Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten-free baking flour for this recipe. I love that the flour is dairy free too, enabling me to keep the recipe parve (parve means the dish contains no meat or dairy and therefore can be eaten at both meat and dairy meals when someone keeps kosher).
You could also use great one-to-one gluten-free flour blends like Cup4Cup or Pamela’s all-purpose gluten-free flour blend. I’ve only “officially” tested this recipe with the Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 flour though.
My original honey cake recipe calls for making loaves of honey cake, which you can certainly do (and you’ll need two loaf pans), but I think a bundt-shaped honey cake would be more festive.
It looks so pretty, right?
If you don’t have a bundt pan, I highly recommend you purchase one for this honey cake and for future cakes. You can purchase a bundt pan for $10-$20 on Amazon.
Whatever pan you use, generously spray it with cooking spray. This is a sticky, moist cake and it likes to adhere itself to the pan.
How to Make this Recipe
This cake is a little finicky to make, so please be sure to follow my recipe instructions carefully below.
You’ll notice a few interesting things about this cake.
(1) The Coffee: You’ll notice that I use coffee in this cake. You will definitely taste the wonderful, rich coffee flavor, and most people love this flavor.
You can either brew some instant coffee or save a cup of your morning Joe to use in the cake. If you don’t like coffee, you can brew some tea instead and still get outstanding results.
When you add the coffee to the batter, do it slowly. Add a little coffee, then a little flour to the wet ingredients. Do not pour the coffee in all at once. I did that once in haste to make this honey cake and my cake fell flat. Very flat!
(2) The Rise: You’ll notice this cake rises to the tip top of your bundt pan as it bakes, and then it caves in a bit about halfway through the baking process. This is totally fine and normal.
The cake will sink (a bit) when you remove it from the oven and as it cools, but once you remove it from the bundt pan, it will lay flat on your serving dish and no one can tell is sunk.
If you have some edges that cook up higher than others, just cut or cut them off to level your cake so your cake sits flush on the serving platter.
How Does It Taste?
This honey cake is a delicious, celebratory cake. Here are the three words I would use to describe it:
- Sweet: Yes, you’ll taste that honey and sugar. This cake will absolutely help you ring in a “sweet” New Year.
- Moist: It’s a very dense and moist cake. You won’t miss the gluten, I promise. It has a wonderful texture that is spongy – just as a honey cake should be.
- Rich: You’ll taste that wonderful coffee flavor. It adds so much flavor to this cake – don’t skip it! As I mentioned above, if you don’t like coffee, use brewed tea instead for similar results.
If you like honey cake, I have a feeling you will love this recipe.
Here’s wishing you a beautiful and sweet New Year (without gluten, of course). L’shana tova.
Looking for Additional Recipes for Rosh Hashanah?
Here are a few of my other traditional recipes for Rosh Hashanah – all gluten-free, of course!
Gluten-Free Oat Challah (the recipe I use for Shabbat): You can add sweetness to my traditional gluten-free challah recipe by adding 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/4 cup of applesauce to my original recipe. Bake the challah in a bundt pan for a festive, round shape.
Gluten-Free Apple Cake – This recipe is perfect for Rosh Hashanah too and is filled with bits of sweet apple filling.
Carrot and Walnut Soup – Carrots are a sweet vegetable and a symbolic food for Rosh Hashanah. This is a great starter recipe for your celebratory meal.
Dill Roasted Salmon – This is perfect for Rosh Hashanah dinner and luncheons; fish is also a symbolic food for the holiday.
Gluten-Free Honey Cake
- Bundt pan
- 1 cup brewed coffee
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup avocado oil or other vegetable oil
- 1 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour (or other 1-to-1 GF substitute)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- powdered sugar, optional
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Spray bundt pan generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
- If you need to make coffee, combine 1 cup of hot water + 1 Tbsp instant coffee and allow mixture to cool for several minutes. You can use 1 cup of pre-brewed coffee as well. Add baking soda to coffee and mix. Mixture will bubble. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl (using your standing mixer), add eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, honey and lemon juice. Mix on medium to high for 2 minutes or until mixture is creamy.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
- Set your mixer to low speed and slowly add 1/2 cup of the flour mixture, then pour some of the coffee into the mixer. Continue rotating additions of flour then coffee until all ingredients are well combined. Batter will be wet and liquidy. Do not overbeat.
- Pour batter into well-greased bundt pan and place in oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The batter will bubble up and may even sink (this is okay). The edges may brown and crisp (this is also okay).
- Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool for 30 minutes before removing it from bundt pan. This is a sticky cake, so consider using a butter knife to shimmy around all the edges of the cake before flipping it onto a cooling rack. If you used a well greased bundt pan, you should have no issues getting the cake out. It may take some work to get it out, however. Allow it to cook on the wire rack for another 30 minutes (or longer) before serving.
- Once the honey cake is cool and right before serving, sprinkle some powdered sugar over the top for a festive look (optional).