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Thursday, September 29, 2011


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Sweet dessert a must for Jewish New Year table

In the Jewish religion and tradition, no dish symbolizes the beginning of the New Year (Rosh Hashanah) more than honey cake.

Rosh Hashanah, which begins on the evening of Sept. 28, signifies the Day of Judgment, when Jews examine their thoughts and deeds and pray that God will remember them favourably. Through prayer, charity and repentance, man’s sins will hopefully be forgiven, and they will be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Jews celebrate what will hopefully be a "sweet" New Year — thus the importance of honey as an ingredient. People for generations have been baking honey cakes as an integral part of the holiday meal.

Every chef has his or her secret ingredient such Coca-Cola, steeped tea or coffee. Below are two takes on this must-have for the Rosh Hashanah dessert table.

Honey cake improves with age — so bake ahead and freeze.


Yummy Yomtov Honey Cake

1/2 cup (125 mL) raisins

1 teaspoon (5 mL) flour

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) flour

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

1 teaspoon (5 mL) cinnamon

1/2 cup (125 mL) oil

2 small jars baby food carrots

2 eggs

2 tablespoons (25 mL) honey

1. Put raisins in water to plump. Drain and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) flour.

2. In a large bowl sift remaining dry ingredients.

3. In another bowl blend wet ingredients.

4. Combine dry and wet ingredients and then add raisins. Mix well.

5. Pour into greased 5-by 9-inch (13-by 23-cm) loaf pan. Set oven to 350°F (175°C).

6. Bake 50 minutes. Cool then wrap in foil and refrigerate.


Traditional Honey Cake

3/4 cup (175 mL) oil

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

4 eggs, separated

1 cup (250 mL) honey

2 3/4 cups (625 mL) flour

2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking powder

1 teaspoon (5 mL) each: cinnamon and nutmeg

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking soda

1/2 cup (125 mL) cooled strong coffee

1/3 cup (75 mL) orange juice

2 tablespoons (25 mL) Triple Sec

(orange liqueur)

1/2 cup (125 mL) slivered almonds

1. Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2. Cream the oil, sugar, and egg yolks. Add honey.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, nutmeg cinnamon and salt together.

4. Dissolve baking soda in coffee. Combine coffee mixture, orange juice and Triple Sec.

5. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with coffee and orange juice mixture.

6. Beat egg whites till soft peaks form and fold into batter. Pour into a greased 9-by 13-inch pan (23-by 33-cm) or two 5-by 9-inch (13-by 23-cm) loaf pans. Sprinkle almonds on top and bake for 50 minutes.

Source: adapted from the book I Can't Believe it's Kosher.
© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen

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