Looking for a cake for your break-the-rules breakfasts? You need to try Maria’s Honey Cake, our standby for those lazy cottage mornings.
This is a cake with a story. A big cake. A cake who’s recipe could only have been handed down by a Polish landlady to a new immigrant. A cake that is hearty and simple, and designed to feed a crowd.
I first ate this cake as a child when our fishing friends would bring it along for our camping holidays. The fishing families were the people I grew up with – my dad’s fishing buddies and their families who replaced the relatives my parents left behind when they immigrated from Italy. These are the people who I spent Christmas and Easter with. And every summer holiday, when the families would camp together so the men could fish. This was how I spent many weekends growing up, and that is where Maria’s cake first showed up.
Maria’s daughters make the cake now, when they go to the cottage, because everyone still loves it, and it’s big enough to share. I remembered the cake a few years ago, and emailed them for their mom’s recipe. They told me Maria got the recipe from her Polish landlady when she first arrived in Canada as a new bride. It’s a no-nonsense cake, spicy and delicious, and it has lasting power – it’s been around at least 40 years in Maria’s family.
This was one of the cakes of my youth, and I made it during our cottage holiday a few years ago, crossing my fingers that the girls would like it so it could become one of the cakes of their youth. Well, they loved it, so now it’s officially our cottage cake. It’s perfect for dunking, and we’re a big family of dunkers. I make it once during every cottage holiday, and we have it with coffee and milk for breakfast. It’s staying on our list of bad-but-very-very-good breakfasts.
Here’s the recipe so you can give it a try. And don’t forget the coffee or milk for dunking!
Maria’s Honey Cake
1 cup sugar
1 cup coffee
1 cup vegetable oil
1 pound liquid honey
4 cups flour
2 tsp magic baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Separate egg whites and yolks. Beat whites until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate.
3. Beat egg yolks and sugar. Add dash salt.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
5. Add honey, coffee, and oil to the eggs and sugar and blend. Add the dry ingredients slowly until blended. Gently fold in the refrigerated egg whites. Pour batter in a greased and floured bundt pan. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.
Note: This recipe, being a little old-school, calls for a pound of honey – which is not really how you buy honey any more. Since 1 pound is 454 grams, I usually buy a 500 gram jar of honey and pour almost all of it in, leaving just a little in the bottom. It works out just fine. For you precise types, there should be about 2 tablespoons left in the jar.