In many Jewish families, a honey cake is part of the new year festive tradition: it is said to bring the promise of a sweet year ahead. There are as many recipes as there are cooks—TMix+ writer Rita Erlich makes a version that includes cocoa—and for every adult who recalls their grandmother’s sticky, spicy Rosh Hashanah cake with a sigh of pleasure there will be another who groans at the memory of the dry slice of stodge ritually dished up each year. This cake falls firmly into the first category and the drizzle of orange-scented honey syrup gives the lightly spicy cake a deliciously sticky crust.
There’s no need to wait for the new year: this is a lovely cake for any celebration. With its crown of glistening almonds it sparkles in the light and looks suitably festive atop a pretty cake stand. Baking in a ring tin is traditional and ensures an evenly cooked result. Because it is a dairy-free cake (in the Kosher tradition, meat and dairy are not served at the same meal) it makes a good choice for the lactose-intolerant. It is intensely sweet and you will need only a small piece.
Thoroughly grease a 22-centimetre ring tin. Heat oven to 175C fan-forced.
Spread the flaked almonds (for syrup) on a tray and toast in the oven until golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Place the sugar and orange zest into the Thermomix bowl. Mix 2 seconds/Turbo and repeat if necessary; the zest should be well incorporated.
Add all the other ingredients in the order listed and mix 10 seconds/speed 7 to create a pourable batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Make the syrup while the cake is baking.)
Allow the cake to settle for 5 minutes or so, then remove it from the tin on to a wire cooling rack. Set the rack over a tray or plate to catch any drips.
Spoon a little less than half the hot honey syrup over the cake. Add the toasted almonds to the remaining syrup in the Thermomix bowl, swirl them through, and spoon this over the cake, making sure it is all used to form a thick almond crust.
While the cake is in the oven, make the syrup. Squeeze the juice from the orange into the (clean) Thermomix bowl, it should weigh about 80 grams. Add 200 grams of honey and cook 10 minutes/Varoma/speed 1—if the mixture starts to boil up on to the lid, turn up to speed 2.5.