Dessert Person starts off with Loaf Cakes and Single Layer Cakes, easing us in slowly before the real pain of fancy pastries sets in. We’re hoping to do biweekly bakes as we make our way through the book (our wallets and our pants will thank us), and the first one today was Spiced Honey and Rye Cake, a straightforward loaf that Claire says is an upgrade of the traditional honey cake served during Rosh Hashanah.
Well, here we are. Recipe #1, the start of something new and hopefully something exciting in these less than exciting times. Spiced Honey and Rye Cake. After making this recipe, I definitely came to appreciate the accuracy and honesty in Claire’s recipe matrix. This one is very easy, very quick, and very delicious. I couldn’t find rye flour at my local grocery store, so I subbed-in whole wheat flour as per one of the suggestions in the recipe. But I did use a local and expensive honey, which I would recommend (as does Claire) because honey is definitely the flavour that comes through the most.
The mixture of spices also gives off a “holidays vibe,” so that brought me some joy as it baked. Simple recipe for sure but worth it. It did two things for me in particular: it made me feel extremely excited and more confident about baking through this book (might be in some denial there), and it left me with a delicious, moist, and flavourful loaf to eat. Not a bad combo.
It was both really awesome and unnerving to kick things off with this Spiced Honey and Rye Cake. It was so fun to bake something simple, warming, and delicious on a snowy Sunday afternoon, but it also makes me afraid for how much harder things are going to get 50 pages from now. I liked that this loaf was pretty low in sugar, featured some of my favourite spices like nutmeg and cloves, and had a really strong honey flavour that came through. I wasn’t able to find rye flour (I’ll need to start stocking up on some of Claire’s common ingredients) so I substituted spelt flour like it suggests in the book. I think rye would have probably had a more distinct taste, but this still turned out great.
The recipe called for a little bit of unsweetened apple or pear sauce; I could only find apple but I think the taste of pear would be really good in this. I’d love to try making this cake again with different kinds of fruit puree like peach, mango, or even pumpkin. With this combo of spices, you really can’t go wrong. Two things I’ve learned so far: Claire is meticulous when it comes to techniques, and is a boss with flavour combinations. Can’t wait to see what else is in store!
We’ll be back in two weeks with the second loaf-style recipe in Dessert Person: Almond Butter Banana Bread!