manuka honey jewish honey cake

Cooking with Manuka Honey – Jewish honey cake (lekach)

The honey cake is traditionally prepared and baked by Ashkenazi Jews for the Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah. It symbolises the hope of a ‘sweet’ (i.e. hence the honey) and prosperous new year.

jewish manuka honey cake


  •  200 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 110 g (½ cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 175 g (½ cup) manuka honey
  • 125 ml (½ cup) light olive oil or sunflower oil, plus extra to grease
  • 80 ml (⅓ cup) freshly brewed coffee, cooled
  • 1 orange, zest finely grated
  • icing sugar, to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan-forced). Grease with oil a 27 cm x 8 cm (base measurement) loaf tin, and then and line it with non-stick baking paper
  2. In a bowl, sift together the flour, the bicarbonate of soda and spices
  3. In another bowl, using an electric mixer, whisk together eggs and sugar on high speed for 5 minutes (or when the batter is pale and very thick and a ribbon trail is formed when the whisk is lifted).
    Then add the manuka honey and whisk until combined well.
    Follow this by adding the oil, coffee, and orange zest and again whisk until well combined.
  4. Fold the the flour mixture to the egg mixture by using a spatula or large metal spoon – fold together until just combined
  5. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes*.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then remove from tin and allow to cool completely onto a cooling wire. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve in slices.

* you can check by using a skewer by inserting it into the centre & if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.

manuka honey cake recipe
manuka honey cake recipe


The honey cake can be kept for up to a week in total … ha! as if that is likely 😉 Make sure you wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then foil or in an airtight container, for 3-4 days before serving.

Enjoy creating this 'sweet’ cake and hope it brings you some prosperity and if not, you enjoy sharing it with friends and family.

You can also visit SBS for the original and full recipe. Main cover photo by Alan Benson.

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