Gluten-Free Honey Cake

Gluten-Free Honey Cake

This Gluten-Free Honey Cake recipe is easy to throw together. Made with a base of almond flour, eggs, and honey, your guests that follow a gluten-free diet can eat it, and others at your table will be so busy enjoying this rich, moist cake that they won’t care what’s in it!

Honey cake is a Jewish holiday dessert recipe, traditionally served at Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year. This cake, also referred to as lekach, is a symbol of the sweetness we hope for in the year to come. Coffee is traditionally used to flavor honey cake, and I use it in my recipe. I also use cinnamon, and a hint of cloves to spice up this Jewish holiday dessert.

My Gluten-Free Honey Cake tastes just like the lekach my Bubby made, when I used to visit her on Long Island. She was an amazing cook and an incredible business woman and is my favorite family role model. My Bubby’s lekach had chopped nuts in it. You may want to add half a cup of walnuts or pecans to this recipe if you like nuts. I left the nuts out as my boys prefer their desserts without chopped nuts.

Gluten-Free Honey Cake
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour ½ cup boiling water through a filter containing 2 tablespoons organic decaf coffee; discard grounds and cool liquid
  2. In a large bowl combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves
  3. In a separate bowl, combine agave, oil, eggs, and coffee
  4. Mix wet ingredients into dry, then stir in raisins
  5. Transfer batter to a greased and floured 9 inch cake pan
  6. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and cool for 1 hour
  8. Serve

This gluten-free, pareve lekach is a fantastic dessert all year round. We don’t limit it to the Jewish holidays. My younger son likes Gluten-Free Honey Cake so much that I’ve been packing it for dessert in his school lunch.

Here are some of my paleo Jewish holiday recipes:

Comments

    • Elana says

      Shoshana, I haven’t tried that. I usually bake it a day or two prior to serving it and it’s still delicious!

    • Joan says

      Amy, I once read somewhere (chef Coppedge?) that rice flour used as a substitute one for one with wheat flour would produce a loaf useful only as a chock for a tire on a hill. So, if you decide to experiment with rice flours, add more liquid, and probably more protein, such as egg white, for structure to replace the gluten in wheat. Best look at other GF cookbooks for ratios. Elana has done a nice job of testing almond and coconut flours in her two cookbooks. Happy research!

  1. Dean says

    Made this for Valentines Day dinner, and WOW! What a moist, delicious cake. I used honey to make a heart shaped cake. My spouse loved it. Just the right spices. Will be making this many times over. Thank you.

  2. Maya says

    I just wanted to thank you for this recipe!!

    I made it for my family this Rosh Hashannah, and it was a hit! The only changes I made was using honey instead of agave and chopped walnuts instead of raisins (I just don’t like raisins). I also made a double batch and had some left over for the rest of the week!

  3. S says

    I have a nut allergy so I am just wondering if you have tried this with brown rice flour? Would you need to add some starch to it too? Sorry I am new at this!

  4. Cristina says

    I just wanted to thank you for this delicious recipe! I made it yesterday and my family and guests loved it.
    I did, anyway, make a few changes to suit our tastes and wanted you to know it works out great. I added 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, used honey instead of agave and olive oil instead of grapeseed oil. And also I previously soaked the raisins in some sweet wine (any will do, even brandy, but I used Málaga Virgen which is actually made with raisins and is very much used here in Spain for cooking.
    I have to say this is one of the best desserts I have ever eaten!! Thanks so much, Elana.

  5. Rachel Sacks says

    I just made this cake for Rosh Hashana (in a couple of days). I decided to stick with honey instead of agave, and I used 1/2 cup of mini-chocolate chips instead of the raisins and the nuts. I think my kids are more likely to enjoy the cake this way. I also cut down the cinnamon and left out the nutmeg. I was hoping to make it more like a pure honey cake flavour and not a spice cake (I know, chocolate chips are not pure honey, but I was worried the cake would feel like it was missing something, and since I had never tried this recipe before I thought better safe than sorry, so I added chocolate chips. I find that almost anything is eatable, at least by my kids, if I put chocolate in it). Anyway, it is delicious and super moist (even though I think I over cooked it a bit). Thank you Elana for another holiday favourite in the GF style! Shava Tova U’Metuka :)

  6. Rochelle Eissenstat says

    Shalom and best wishes for a new year full of blessings from Jerusalem!

    I want to try this recipe with [1] honey replacing the agave syrup, and [2] separating the egg whites and beating them to add height to the cake. Do you think that would work? Or should I use the 2 whole eggs as the recipe is written but beat an additional 2 whites and fold them in?

    Thank you!
    Rochelle

    • Rachel Sacks says

      Hi Rochelle,

      since Rosh Hashana is almost here I thought I’d tell you what I think, even thought I’m not nearly as experienced as Elana. I would suggest to follow your first idea, or separating the eggs and beating the whites separately. I considered doing that tonight but I was too tired to add a step. I don’t think it could hurt anything and most likely it would make it more fluffy. Let me know how it turns out if you try it. I replaced the agave with honey and it’s delicious. I don’t think you should add extra egg whites because that would change the ratio of wet to dry ingredients. Shana Tova to you in Yerushalaiim :) ~Rachelli

  7. Heather Rodriguez says

    Hi Elana,
    I made this recipe today and it is (soon to be was) fabulous! I halved the recipe and used honey instead of agave but kept the same amount of eggs. I also substituted molasses for the coffee per a previous reviewer and I used pumpkin pie spice, dried blueberries, and butter instead of grapeseed oil as that’s what I had on hand. It is so yummy. Thank you for the great recipe!

  8. Heidi says

    This turned out perfectly. It tasted like a coffee cake that I used to make with flour and 2 cups of sugar. Hard to believe it was almond flour and agave.

  9. Laura says

    Too bad I decided to make this for Passover tonight! It was WONDERFUL! But the baking soda is leaven. Oh well – in for a penny, in for a pound! Swapped out 1/2 cup almond flour for coconut flour, and the raisins for currants, as some comments suggested. YUM!!!

    • elana says

      Laura,

      Baking soda is generally considered kosher for pesach.

      According to Rabbi Lerner: the only foods that can be prohibited as “hametz” are those made from the “five species”, specifically wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt.

      Of course, ask your rabbi for more information.

      Thanks,
      Elana

  10. says

    I made this cake and it is so good!The only ingredient I substituted was the caffeine with decaffeinated Chai Spiced Tea . I want to thank you so very much Ellana for real tasty gluten free recipes. I an new to this and I love your site! Thank you again!

  11. aziza says

    I made this cake today, It is very delicious, Yumiiii. I added pecans and chocolate chip.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

  12. Eliana says

    I made this. It was amazing. I never enjoyed honey cake but I am loving it now. Thank you so much Elana!
    my substitutions:
    I used 1/2 c of coconut flour instead of part of the almond flour
    I added ginger and vanilla to replace the nutmeg since I had none
    I used tea instead of coffee
    I think that is it. Delicious! I’m going to my husband’s uncle’s family for part of sukkot and I’ve never visited them before. I’m going to bring them this cake.
    Thank you!

  13. charlene hobot says

    I am GF and love to “play” with food. I do not celebrate Rosh Hashanah but your cake looked so yummy I had to give it a try! My cake looked yummy and smelled so heavenly, however, it seemed “dry” (my mother’s words) and to me not sweet enough (my mother on the other hand said it was fine). I live in Central Florida and my house is electric (some say gas and electric cook differently). I did not substitute anything. I have been reading over your list of ingredients to keep in the kitchen so I had everything on hand. Any suggestions I so want to make this cake again! I know it has to taste as yummy as it smells!

    Thank You,

    Char

  14. Esther says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! It’s quick, delicious and easy enough for a novice baker like me! The best recipe i’ve seen! I made the cake last night and it was so easy and tasty I made another today! Thanks!!! Oh, and I used Bob’s Red Mill almond flour (the only one i could find) and it was fine. i did reduce the liquid (coffee to 1/4 cup) and soaked the raisins in apple juice! Thanks for all the tips!

    • Esther says

      i sprayed the pan with Pam and sprinkled the almond flour on it. let the cake cool completely and ran around the edges with a knife. it pretty much comes up without a problem.

  15. Phyllis says

    Hi Elena,
    You have some fabulous almond recipes! My twin boys have autism and they are on the GAPS diet. I was wondering if I could substitute baking soda and eggs with something else as they are not allowed baking soda and have a sensitivity to eggs.

    Thanks, Phyllis

  16. Susan says

    I liked this so much that I made it twice, once for the High Holidays and then for my sister’s birthday party. I used honey instead of her sweetner. The first version used all almond flour and it was wonderful. The second cake I used a little almond meal when I ran out of almond flour and it was fine, but I could tell the differnece. The almond flour gave a much better taste and texture.
    This recipe convinced me to buy Elana’s cookbook.

  17. rebsalt says

    A friend just refered me to this site as I just cut gluten out of my diet and although it’s only June, I can’t wait until the high holidays this year- something for everyone to enjoy that even I can eat! I can’t wait to keep reading through your recipes and stories. Thank you!

  18. nessa says

    I made this cake last night for our Easter diner today. It is amazingly good, thank you so much! We have been GF for quite awhile and have recently gone grain-free. I was sad thinking we’d have no dessert, but this was perfect.

    I ended up using 1/2 coconut flour and 1/2 almond flour because I didn’t have enough almond flour in the house. [I make my flours at home, buzzing coconut flakes for coconut flour and soaked/sprouted/peeled/dehydrated almonds for almond flour/meal in a food processor.] I used a 1/4 C of raw, unfiltered honey instead of agave. I used currants instead of raisins. Finally, I used 1 duck egg instead of 2 hen eggs.

    It was just so good. I share my substitutions in case anyone else has similar dietary restrictions as us. Also, I admit that I have to fuss with recipes; I just can’t make them straight off the page. ;)

  19. Jessica says

    I’m not really a baker. It’s all the measuring…oy. Anyway, my husband’s birthday was recent, and I wanted to have a cake that was Kosher for Passover but with the added restriction that I don’t eat sugar. I made this and was so pleased. First, it was super easy. Second, it tasted ah-maz-ing. Last, the picky folks at the dinner table loved this cake. The picky eaters had seconds. Brava.

  20. Mom says

    Kosher almond flour – I found a web site for nuts but of course I didn’t keep it ’cause the flour was sooooo expensive. But if you google almond flour you will find it. The company is located in Brooklyn.

    Great honey cakes recipe.

  21. says

    Hello Elana :)
    Thank you so very much for sharing your talents with us – we are so enjoying your recipes, which I believe have truly saved the holidays for me (gluten-free, dairy-free)!

    As we are preparing for the blessings of a revolving door with guests and family in the upcoming months, we would like to prepare things like this honey cake in advance. Does this cake freeze and thaw well?

    Thanks! *SherryQ*

  22. Sue says

    Athy,

    Thanks for the info about using Bob’s Red Mill almond flour!! In this recipe, did you cut out any liquid?? There’s not too much to begin with…. If so, what did you omit?? Or did you just bake it until it tested done????

    Sue

  23. says

    Hi Lauren,

    The cake is great with agave, I would try the recipe as is before making any adjustments.

    Of course, you can also feel free to to experiment and make all the necessary adjustments until it comes out right; just be sure to let us know the results of your cooking adventures!

    Thanks,
    Elana

  24. says

    Hi Elana, this cake looked so scrumptious I just had to try it! I used honey in place of agave. The flavor was very good, but it was rather mushy after baking it for the maximum amount of time. Seems like there might need to be another egg for more structure and rise. I thought honey was similar to agave but perhaps not!

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday!

  25. says

    Rich Ann -So glad to hear about your fragrant car ride; many blessings to you and yours this fall.

    Kate -Thanks for writing; I’m glad the honey cake pleased everyone. I’ll say hi to the mountains for you.

    GP -Thanks! Happy New Year.

    ~M -Very exciting that the wedding is so soon. A big mazel tov to you and your fiance.

    Athy -Thanks for the almond flour brand conversion tips! That is great.

  26. athy says

    Elana – I love this recipe, will try it very soon!!
    YAY! :)

    Sue – Bob’s red mill almond flour will pass if you have no choice but to use a kosher sub. But using his almond flour, this cake would likely need to be baked for 45-50 minutes instead or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. I’ve used his nut flours in a pinch and they pass well enough. Not as perfect as Elana’s recommended honeyville brand blanched almond flour, but the texture is still very good, just needs longer bake time and slightly less water/liquid 1/4th-1/3 cup less is usually what I do.

  27. ~M says

    PS – This is the perfect way to celebrate my passing the bar and my upcoming wedding (11 days!). Thanks again!

  28. Kate says

    Thank you Elana for this wonderful honey cake recipe! I am not Jewish, but I was asked by my boyfriend’s mother to make this dessert for the holiday dinner. Her only request was to make the cake healthy and her husband’s only request was for it to be really sweet for the New Year (talk about pressure…). Your recipe was not only healthy, but sweet, moist and delicious :)

    Your website is such an inspiration to me. I do not have Celiac disease, but my Aunt does and I try to avoid wheat when I can. Baking is my passion and I thought it was impossible without wheat. Thank you again!

    PS
    I just moved from Boulder to New York City and I really miss the mountains :) Good luck and Happy New Year!

  29. Rich Ann says

    Thank you for this recipe! My daughter and I made it yesterday to take to a housewarming party in the afternoon. What a fragrant ride we had with the warm cake in the car! Everyone loved it. FYI – we substituted molasses for the coffee. I’m sorry to hear about the change in schools, but as others said, you need to do what you feel is right for your kids so to new beginnings. I hope your boys thrive at their new place. Many blessings to you and yours this fall season.

  30. says

    ~M – Shana Tova!

    Aviva -That sounds incredible, soaking the raisins in apple juice, YUM! Happy New Year.

    Sue – I’m not sure of any other kosher brands of almond flour; I bet this would be a great question for the forums.

    Karen – Great question, I have modified the recipe to answer it; thanks for catching this omission for me!

  31. Karen says

    looks great, one small beginning baker/novice question…..
    When you say “Pour ½ cup boiling water over 2 tablespoons organic decaf coffee, cool”

    Are we pouring water over freshly ground decaf beans or over decaf instant coffee?

    Thanks

  32. Sue says

    THANK YOU for posting this!! I’ve been looking all over for a GF honey cake recipe :-). I was going to try making my mother’s recipe and just substituting a GF flour blend for the flour.

    The only problem I have now is the almond flour. I keep a Kosher home, and the only almond flour I’ve found so far (I’ve only been GF since July…) that has a hechsher is Bob’s Red Mill, and you don’t recommend that brand. Do you know of any other brands that are Kosher certified (by any agency…) and where I might buy them online??

    Thanks.

    • sellbywire says

      Hi Sue! I keep kosher too and I get my almond flour and many other products at digestive wellness. I actually go to their warehouse when I’m in the area but they have a website too digestivewellness.com. What good is that it’s one of Elana’s favorite brands. (says that on her ingredients page)
      Hope this is helpful to you and good luck!

    • Eliana says

      Hey,
      I e-mailed honeyville hearing that they had kosher almond flour. They talked to me on the phone, found the kosher certification, and e-mailed me a copy of their certificcation, so that is what I use now. (I think it was a california hechsher) I’m replying a little late, but I hope this can help someone out there!

  33. Aviva says

    In the past I have substituted kamut for wheat flour, but this is so much better.
    I soaked sultanas in freshly squeezed apple juice before adding them, a nice touch.
    Toda rabah, L’Shana Tova!!
    Aviva

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