You can't really celebrate Rosh Hashanah without Lekach, which is interesting because many versions of this cake enlist warm black coffee. This one just contains instant espresso powder and is total nectar, but not at all cloying. Since honey is the star ingredient, pick one with a big personality.
It looks odd in the photo, sitting like a great, stupid, brown brute on that elegant white plate. But I didn't want to meddle, because it looks smartest naked. How many of us can lay claim to that?
If you have to accessorise, do it after you've carved slices. During tea-time, have it with clotted cream and honey alongside a cup of hot, milky Earl Grey. For dessert, I think it's good draped in molten gula melaka and hot mint tea.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground clove
- 125g unsalted butter
- Half a nutmeg, grated
- 225ml dark, spicy honey
- Zest of half an orange
- 150ml milk
- 300g plain flour
- 2 heaped teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line and lubricate a 24cm or 9 inch cake tin, preferably Springform.
Whisk the eggs with the sugar and a pinch of salt furiously. You seek pale, thick and swollen glory - the batter need not leave a lasting ribbon trail. Melt the butter with the honey in a saucepan before adding the milk. Allow to cool and pour into the eggs, whisking. Incorporate the flour in instalments of humped tablespoons, once again whisking constantly, until you get a satiny batter. Sprinkle in the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, ground cinnamon and clove, grated nutmeg and orange zest and beat those in.
Scrape it all into the prepared tin and marshal to the oven where it shall cook for 60 - 80 minutes. Don't worry if it takes up to 95. You know it's cooked when a skewer inserted into its belly emerges clean.
It will behave in a cool place for about a week, from experience.
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Lekach with clotted cream and honey
Stories and photos copyright © Bryan Koh, unless otherwise stated. Not to be reproduced without permission from the author.
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