Hey There, Honey Cakes!

It has been over 20 hours since I last ate food. Reading (and writing) this blog has made my stomach grumble so hard you’d think the next earthquake was going to start right below the chair I am sitting on.

If you’re Jewish, then you’re in this same state of fasting for the Holiest Day of the Jewish Year, Yom Kippur. We are supposed to reflect on the past year and atone for any wrongdoings, however I find myself dreaming about the food that I’m going to consume in approximately 1.5 hours. Some pizza would be nice. Spaghetti? Sushi? Maybe a bite of a bagel? Yes, I shouldn’t have been rude to my cats last year, but wouldn’t a donut fix that problem? A glazed donut no less!

You’re probably thinking, if the Messy Cooker isn’t eating today, what recipe could possibly be provided for this Holy day (holi-day)? Well, I thought back to the past year, like I should be doing, and decided to start from the beginning…and make something for the Jewish New Year that was 10 days ago, Rosh Hashanah!

Quick Hebrew lesson: Rosh = Head, Ha = Of the, Shanah = Year. In total you get “head of the year.”

For Rosh Hashanah, it’s traditional to dip apples into honey, so you will have a sweet and healthy year to come. To commemorate this, some people eat honey cake, which is just what it sounds like—cake made with honey. The classic honey cake is heartier than a normal cake and is positioned more on the muffin side of the spectrum.

The honey cakes that I made are healthier, sweeter, and a bit more alcoholic than the traditional recipe. The apples make up the healthier component, which also doubles as the essence of moistness (Zoolander reference, anyone?) and keeps the cake moist and fluffy. The cognac buttercream frosting is the sweeter, more alcoholic portion. The buttercream adds a smoothness that honey cakes usually lack and the alcohol adds a tiny kick that appeals to grown-ups and incredibly edgy teenagers.

Heads up (Rosh Hashanah pun…) I made cupcakes instead of cake, mostly because I couldn’t get ahold of a Bundt pan in time.

*Sources: I adapted Tori Avey’s Honey Apple Cake Recipe and combined it with BakingBites.com’s Brandy Buttercream Frosting Recipe.

Apples and Honey Cupcakes with Cognac Buttercream Frosting Recipe

Servings: 1 cake or 22-24 cupcakes

Time: 90-100 minutes

Difficulty: Takes some technique and arm strength


The Honey (Cup) Cakes

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups all purpose baking flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • Dash of ground cloves
  • 4 Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and shredded)

The Cognac Buttercream Frosting

  • 8 tbsp butter, room temperature (not kidding about this)
  • 2 tbsp cognac
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 – 3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Note: you might not need all of the sugar


The Honey (Cup) Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs until they are frothy.
  3. Whisk in the honey, white sugar, brown sugar, oil and vanilla.


4. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and spices.


5. Incorporate the flour mixture into the liquid, stir to blend.


6. Peel, core, and shred the apples (I used a food processor, but a cheese grater will do the trick too). Fold them into the mixture.


Note: shred the apples at step 6 otherwise the apples will turn brown while it’s waiting for you to finish mixing the other ingredients.

honeycakes mix with apples.jpg

  1. Get a cupcake tray. I didn’t have a legitimate one, so I grabbed some tin trays from Safeway. Add cupcake liners to it. Using the 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter into each liner. Add batter until each liner is 3/4 full.
  2. Bake cupcakes for 25 minutes. When the cupcakes start to brown on the surface (and may pull away from the sides of the cupcake tray), the cupcakes should be done. Insert a toothpick into the thickest part of the cupcake. If it comes out without anything sticking to it, it’s done!
  3.  Let the cupcakes completely cool before frosting! (~10 minutes)

Note: Tori Avey had a great point—this recipe makes a very moist cake, so it’s easy to undercook it (like I did). Let it bake a little longer if you’re unsure, but don’t bake it too long or it will dry out!

Note #2: While the cupcakes are baking, start making the frosting.


The Cognac Buttercream Frosting

  1. Get a large bowl and add the butter to it. Try using a fork to smooth out the butter ahead of time before adding in anything else.

Note: If you don’t have a mixer, use a whisk for the next step.


  1. Add the cognac, milk, and vanilla and beat/whisk until smooth. There might be some liquid left in the bowl (see below). This will get mixed in during step 3.


  1. Add in cinnamon and stir in the confectioners’ sugar by mixing/whisking at a low speed until the frosting is smooth, thick, and fluffy.


  1. Use a knife to spread the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Note: I tried spreading the frosting onto a warm cupcake, and while it was delicious, it melted and slid off of the top of the cupcake almost immediately. If your kitchen is incredibly warm by this point, keep the frosting in the fridge to avoid further melting.

Serving Suggestions

Seriously, let the cupcakes cool before frosting. Then, add the delicious cognac buttercream frosting. Feel free to add fun colors to the frosting! Or shred extra apple and place them on top of the cupcakes.

Quick Clean-Up

I did it again…everything on the board. It’s a habit now.


Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Want to see a REAL honey cake? Clickkk here

How about a close-up of a bee? Click click

What about pop art created by a rabbi? Clickity click