Recipe: Passover Honey Nut Cake in Soaking Syrup

This is a very dense, moist cake full of nuts. The eggs act as the leavening agent. As chef Marcy Goldman notes in her book “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking,” the cake will remind you of baklava. 
For other holidays and uses, substitute all-purpose flour where the matzo meal or matzo cake meal is called for. 
-- Betty Gordon


Hands on time: 30 minutes  Total time: 5 hours  Serves: 10


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    3/4 cup granulated sugar 
    1/4 cup brown sugar 
    1/4 cup vegetable oil 
    3 eggs 
    3 tablespoons orange juice 
    1 teaspoon finely minced orange zest 
    1/4 teaspoon salt 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 1/2 teaspoon for a more pronounced cinnamon flavor) 
    1/2 cup matzo cake meal 
    1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts or almonds 
    1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts 

    2/3 cup granulated sugar 
    1/3 cup orange juice 
    1/4 cup honey 
    1/4 cup water 
    1 tablespoon lemon juice 
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
    Orange slices for garnish, optional 


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 7- or 8-inch round layer cake pan (if you do not have one, you can use a round foil pan of the same or similar size, available in the supermarket baking aisle). 
To prepare the cake: In a medium mixing bowl, using a wire whisk beat the granulated and brown sugars with the oil and eggs until the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Stir in the orange juice and zest, salt, cinnamon, cake meal and nuts. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is light brown and set. Cool for at least 20 minutes. 
To prepare the syrup: While the cake bakes, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, orange juice, honey, water, lemon juice and cinnamon. Heat to dissolve the sugar and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture becomes syrupy. Cool well. 
Pour the cooled syrup over the cooled cake, poking holes in the cake with a fork or toothpick to permit the syrup to penetrate. Allow it to stand for 2 to 4 hours to absorb the syrup. The syrup may pool on top of the cake or around the bottom and you may need to repoke the holes or scoop the syrup back on top. 
You may prefer to refrigerate this cake so that while it is absorbing the liquid, it is also firming up. Also, chilling the cake offsets its sweetness and makes it easier to cut. Serve it on splayed muffin liners. Garnish with orange slices, if desired. -- Adapted from “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking” 
by Marcy Goldman (Broadway, $17.95, paperback)


Per serving: 402 calories (percent of calories from fat, 42), 4 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 64 milligrams cholesterol, 77 milligrams sodium. 

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