Rosh Hashanah

The BEST Honey Cookies and Cakes for Rosh Hashanah

Kosher.com Staff September 11, 2023

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There are certain desserts that go hand in hand with certain holidays. And this time of year, there’s one treat in particular that you won’t want to miss- honey cookies and cakes on Rosh Hashanah.

There are several meaningful reasons why Jews traditionally eat honey cake and honey cookies during the Rosh Hashanah. This sweet delicacy holds a special significance as it is one of the “simanim,” the symbolic foods that Jews taste at the start of the festive holiday meal reflecting our prayers and hopes for a sweet year to come. Every preschool child knows the holiday song “Dip the apple in the honey,” and the association runs deep.

The use of honey in these delectable treats also serves as a reminder to reflect upon the sweetness of life and to express gratitude for the blessings received in the old year. You can make all the desserts in the world for Rosh Hashanah, but if you forgot the honey cake or cookies it’ll just feel like something is missing.

That’s why we’re sharing our favorite honey cookies and cakes with you today. Most are classics, and some have a unique twist, but all are delicious and will bring the perfect touch of sweetness to what will surely be a Chag Sameach!

We’ve gathered our favorite recipes for you below: 19 lusciously delicious honey cakes and keep scrolling for 9 incredible honey cookies!

Honey Cakes:

1. Maple-Glazed Honey Cake by Chaya Rappoport

I look forward to making this honey cake every year for Rosh Hashanah. It’s a delicious, one bowl recipe that’s full of warm, comforting fall spices and honey. The addition of coffee adds unmistakable richness to the batter and the sweet apple cider keeps it moist and fresh. I like to top this cake with a sweet maple glaze and a selection of the season’s best fruits, like figs, concord grapes, jewel-like pomegranate seeds, and jagged pieces of sparkling honeycomb. They transform the cake, turning it from simple bundt cake to elegant dessert, or even showstopping table centerpiece. You could also leave it unglazed and leave off the fruit- it’s so good, you’ll still have people coming back for more. Shana tova!

2. Just Honey Honey Drizzle Cake by Denise Phillips

This delicious traditional cake is made with Gefen honey to sweeten. Many honey cakes have a combination of different sweeteners, such as brown, dark, muscovado sugar or even dates – but this cake is made with just Gefen honey! For best results, bring your eggs and margarine to room temperature before using, include a pinch of salt to bring out the other flavors in the cake, and remember to line your cake well to ensure it comes out of the tin easily.

3. Easy and Moist Honey Cake by Dalya Rubin
Goodbye to boring dry honey cake and hello moist and flavorful honey cake! Thanks to Manischewitz, we’ve created the perfect honey cake recipe for your Rosh Hashanah table this year. We promise you will love it! Made simply in under 15 minutes hands-on time, we hope this will be your go-to honey cake recipe for years to come.

4. Best-Ever Honey Cake by Shaindy Berger
When I got married in 1970, I did not know how to boil water, but with much perseverance and eagerness to bake and cook, I went full speed ahead. Of course there were many trials and errors along the way. Today, I live in Monsey, NY, and B”H, besides teaching English and History to 6th grade girls, I am also teaching Holocaust Studies and Home Management to 12th grade girls (this includes some cooking and baking). Would you like to know where my best recipes come from? They come from my mother and my shvigger (may they both have gezunt and nachas biz hindred un tzvuntzig), because there’s nothing in comparison to the taste from the alte heim. I have been using this recipe for ka’h, 46 years. Before Rosh Hashanah I always get calls from friends and relatives asking for my honey cake recipe, and the response is always, “Shaindy, this is the best ever!” The trick is definitely the banana liqueur, which gives it the right zinger. Enjoy and may it truly be a sweet year!

5. Super-Moist Honey Cake by Bruchie Monheit
I’ve been using this recipe for about 35 years. It’s the best we’ve ever tried by far. After trying a new recipe, we always go back to this one. We don’t just make it for Rosh Hashanah! It’s very moist and tasty. Best a day after it’s baked and stays fresh. Freezes beautifully.

6. Never-Fail Honey Cake by Leah Krieger
This is my mother’s recipe, which I have saved on an aged index card. It never fails and always reminds me of my mother.

7. Honey Orange Date Cake by Sara Finkel
This healthier cake is a nice choice for Rosh Hashanah, when honey is used so freely.

8. Best Honey Cake Mix Hack by Sara and Yossi Goldstein
I’m so excited to bring you this super easy honey cake recipe hack for Rosh Hashanah, using a ready-made mix! It has everything you need in a honey cake. Warm spices, a moist, delicious texture, and -bonus!- less time in the kitchen! You can also use different shaped cake pans if bundts aren’t your thing. See the back of the cake mix box for baking times.

9. Moist and Fluffy Honey Cake by The Peppermill
This is one of our favorite honey cakes— we think you’ll love it too!

10. Honey Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze by Estee Kafra
Never fail and delicious!

11. Berry Streusel Honey Bars by Rachel Berger

These delicious, moist bars hover between cake and blondie, and are a sweet way to have honey cake for Rosh Hashanah. Even if you are not a fan of honey cake, you will love them! These can be made by hand, or with a mixer.

12. Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah by Estee Kafra

This honey cake is a light, airy and fluffy one that is sure to become a family favorite. It’s perfect for Rosh Hashanah dessert.

13. ‘Bee My Honey’ Cake (Mom’s Honey Cake) by Norene Gilletz

For a fabulous, festive presentation, bake this classic cake in a Honeycomb Cake Pan, creating a unique, pull-apart cake that will have everyone buzzing. Your family and friends will “bee” so impressed! 

14. Gluten Free Honey Cake by Elky Friedman

15. Bubbie’s Honey Cake by Reva (Blander) Yaffe

This cake tastes exactly how your Bubbie (or mine) made honey cake. It is a dense cake with a delicious sticky top. It brings back memories every year of Rosh Hashanah at Bubbie with her cake very similar to this one.

16. L’kovod Yom Tov Honey Cake from the Nitra Cookbook

17. Upside-Down Apple Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah by Sara Linder

This beautiful apple and honey upside-down cake has a honey caramel topping that takes it over the top! The apples and honey combo make it perfect for Rosh Hashanah.

18. Plant-Based Jewish Honey Cake by Kenden Alfond

This sweet and tender plant-based Jewish honey cake from the Jewish Food Hero Kitchen is a healthy makeover of a classic Jewish dessert. Traditionally, honey cake is served during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. This plant-based version is lightly sweetened with honey and made with real, whole ingredients – a dessert you can definitely feel good about baking and eating.

19. Tanta Laya’s Honey Cake by Whisk

This recipe originates from Tanta Laya’s aunt Leah Gittel (Lily) Rosenbaum, a”h. If you were Tante Laya’s acquaintance or neighbor, you have definitely tasted this cake already! She used to bake at least 30 of them! I remember how we used to pick ours up from a rebbe who would drive from Lakewood to Far Rockaway the day before Rosh Hashanah. We had to make sure to pick it up before 4 p.m.; otherwise it was left in the cheder over Yom Tov! I don’t think we ever told her, but one year, in the hectivity we actually forgot to pick it up; we used it to break the fast on Tzom Gedalya instead, and it was as delicious as ever.

Honey Cookies:

1. Spelt Honey Cookies by Bat-El Gershowitz
If you’re looking to celebrate the Rosh Hashanah holiday season more aligned with your nutrition goals, this lighter version of the classic honey cookie is a must-try. They are lower in sugar than your standard honey cookie, made from whole grain spelt flour, and are even egg free so they can be enjoyed by anyone with an egg allergy.

2. Triple Chocolate Honey Cookies by Rachel Berger
These are not your typical honey cookies! They are thin, sweet, chewy, and addictive! The batter will seem looser than a typical cookie recipe, but do not worry, that’s how it should be. The honeyed chocolate drizzle on top is literally the icing on the cake, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt is right at home. You’ve got to try these!

3. Yom Tov Honey Shortbread Cookies by Denise Phillips
These shortbread cookies have a subtle honey flavor, which comes from using Gefen Clover Honey. They have a soft, short texture that just melts in the mouth! Perfect for a Yom Tov family gathering or cup of coffee at the end of a heavy festive lunch.

4. The 4 Ingredient Honey Cookie Hack You’ve Been Waiting For by Rachel Kor and Sara Goldstein

These cookies are an incredible time saver — requiring just 4 ingredients — are perfectly chewy, and have the delicious, warm flavors you expect from Rosh Hashanah honey cookies. Once you try this hack, you’ll never go back!

5. Soft Honey Cookies (Big-Batch) from the Nitra Cookbook
Plan your baking day to take the time to refrigerate the honey cookie batter. You do not want to skip that step. The results are a soft and sweet honey cookie perfect for the holidays or a cozy treat any time.

6. Easy Honey Cookies from the Dining In Cookbook
This is an extra soft and smooth cookie, perfect for Rosh Hashanah – or for anytime, with tea.

7. Perfect Honey Cookies with Honey Frosting for Rosh Hashanah by Faigy Grossmann

Can you go into Rosh Hashanah without a jar of honey cookies?! These cookies are the perfect mix of crunchy outside, soft center, and all the delicious spices reminiscent of fall. They’re also super simple to make. Eat them straight out of the oven or jazz them up a bit with a drizzle of honey-flavored frosting. These cookies can even be tweaked to look like little apples for extra cute bonus points!

8. Big-Batch Honey Cookies from the Nitra Cookbook
If you need to bake for a crowd, it’s best to start with a recipe already calibrated to your desired yield output. These delicious classic honey cookies are perfect for Rosh Hashanah.

9. Caramel Honey Cookies from the Nitra Cookbook
These soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies are the perfect cookies to snack on during a long Rosh Hashanah afternoon or anytime. Rolling each cookie in the palm of your hand before baking will give it a really nice look, and is a great activity for the kids! The honey flavor is not overbearing, and the dough is very easy to work with.

Let us know which honey cake or cookies you love to make in the comments below! Shana Tova to all.