November 20, 2017

rohan’s spiced honey cake

This post is several months late, but you know, it’s a spice cake and those are very winter appropriate (not to mention Thanksgiving appropriate if you want an alternative to pumpkin pie!) so here it is nonetheless. This past summer was the 11th year of my annual reread of Lord of the Rings, and this time my friend Katie joined me. To make it a truly immersive Middle Earth experience, every time we finished one of the books, we’d prepare a themed meal and watch the corresponding movie. For Fellowship of the Ring, we had a dinner of mushrooms that even Farmer Maggot would envy. But for The Two Towers, we wanted something sweet.

Enter “Rohan’s Spiced Honey Cake,” something that we’re pretty sure would be featured in the halls of Meduseld in times of peace and plenty. I don’t have any evidence to support my belief that King Theoden would appreciate a good honey cake, but it just seems fitting. Surely somewhere in the long leagues of Rohan there was an apiary.

“If by my life or death, I can convince you to make this cake, I will. You have my whisk.”

This cake tastes like good cheer by a fire place, full of warming honey and spices. It is quite good naked with a cup of coffee, or with a smattering of cream cheese frosting if you’re feeling especially King of the Golden Hall-ish. And be sure to prep your bundt pan properly before baking to ensure easy unmolding. I was a bit lazy about it, so part of the cake stuck to the inside of the pan. Tragic.

Rohan’s Spiced Honey Cake
From Marcy Goldman’s New Year’s Honey Cake

Yield: One bundt cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 60-70 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (not including cooling time)

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup warm coffee
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup rye or whisky
  • Bundt pan
  • Sliced almonds (optional, for decoration)
  • Powdered sugar (optional, for decoration)



Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare your bundt cake pan by thoroughly rubbing the inside of it with vegetable oil and then dusting it all with flour, tapping out the excess. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies so that the cake comes out easily.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour in the oil, honey, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, coffee, orange juice, and rye (or whisky).

Whisk this all together until a thick and uniform batter forms.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. The original recipe says to sprinkle the almonds on top here before baking, but I prefer to just sprinkle them on top afterwards. Bake the cake in the middle rack of your oven for 60 to 70 minutes, though you should check on it at 45 minutes and periodically after that to ensure all is as it should be.

The cake is done when it springs back when lightly pressed or when a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for half an hour before unmolding it and letting it cool completely on a wire rack.

Prior to serving, dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

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