Traditional Jewish honey cake called “lekach” is ancient, its rich flavor imprinted deep in my memory. I know honey is Paleo and natural, however it sends my blood sugar sky high! This unique recipe tastes just as satisfying as the original, but contains no honey at all! Instead of honey and refined flour, the surprise ingredients are chicory root sweetener, shredded coconut, almond meal, and sweet potato! Fluffy and flavorful, this is truly a guilt-free treat, low in those naughty sugars and carbs that cause weight gain – using zero carb sweetener, low carb almond meal and coconut butter instead of processed flours. Yay! This gluten-free, grain-free cake tastes even better topped with Instant Coconut Whipped Cream.
Lekach honey cake signifies a sweet year. On the day before Yom Kippur it is a tradition to ask for it and receive it from someone like a mentor or parent. The idea is that if during the year, it is decreed by God that you should need to ask for a handout to eat, just this gesture will satisfy the requirement. A noble wish. I love this tradition, but I do not care for honey cake, because it sends my blood sugar thorough the roof. After one piece of honey cake, they’d need to scrape me off the floor and I’d eat nothing but vegetables for a week. What is it about honey?
Honey is a true Paleo sweetener. But it’s also high in sugars. With 50% fructose, 44% glucose, and 1% sucrose, it’s molecular composition is surprisingly close to table sugar. Even though it comes directly from Nature, honey will give you a nice big blood sugar rush, which destabilizes metabolism and promotes weight gain. A little honey once in a while is a good thing, but a regular pattern of honey in your diet will lead you down the path toward hypoglycemia, diabetes, and obesity, that modern epidemic that affects millions of people. As wonderful as it it, honey will NOT help you kick the sugar habit. For more info about pros and cons of honey, check my article Top 5 Paleo Sweeteners.
Old fashioned honey cake is a traditional at Jewish New Year – Rosh Hashanah. Other authentic recipes hail from all over the Middle East – Egypt, Yemen, even India. In biblical times honey cake was made from semolina wheat flour, eggs, oranges, succulent spices, and had a pleasingly grainy texture. If you’re gluten-free, or avoiding glycemic sweeteners, try this recipe and you’ll see what I mean about the rich, biblical flavor. Store the cake for 4 days in the refrigerator, or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes one 9 to 10-inch round cake (I used a spring-form pan), or a 9 x 9-inch square. Serves 6 or 8 depending on how you cut it.
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup cooked sweet potato pulp
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon maple flavor
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Zest of one orange
- 3/4 to 1 cup sweetener to taste such as Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener, or 3 tablespoons tablespoons PureLo Lo Han Sweetener by Swanson, or your favorite sweetener.
- 1/2 cup softened coconut butter, or 113 grams if hard. (If mixing by hand, soften by putting it in the oven briefly 4-5 minutes.)
- 1/2 cup almond meal
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 heaping teaspoon unprocessed salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Mr. Hagen organic decaffeinated coffee
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as pecans, walnuts or almonds, soaked and toasted if possible (See All About Nuts.)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease with coconut oil and flour with coconut flour or almond meal, a 9 to 10-inch cake pan (I used a springform pan).
- In a food processor or blender, add the wet ingredients: eggs, sweet potato, vanilla, maple, vinegar, zest, and sweetener.
- Add coconut butter, and mix until smooth. If you're using a blender and the mixture is too thick, transfer the blended mixture to a mixing bowl, add the softened coconut butter, and stir by hand.
- To the mixture, add dry ingredients: almond meal, shredded coconut, salt, soda, cinnamon cardamom, cloves, allspice, coffee powder. Mix well.
- Pulse or stir in the nuts briefly, reserving a handful for the top of the cake. Pour the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining nuts on top.
- Bake about 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 1/2 hour. Enjoy!