September 8th, 2010 marked the beginning of year 5771 of the Jewish calendar and for those who don’t know this, it is also the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays. These are the most important holidays on the Jewish calendar starting with Rosh Hashanah and culminating 10 days later with Yom Kippur. These 10 days are commonly referred to as the “Days of Awe”, a time to contemplate your conduct in the previous year as well asa time to set goals for the next year. These 10 days also focus on repentance for the past years indiscretions in an effort to not repeat those mistakes in the coming year. In reflecting on all the changes in my life this past year I’ve thought a lot about my decision to live the primal lifestyle. Its been almost 4 months now and I truly believe the changes in my life are remarkable. I feel fitter, stronger, healthier and happier. These were my original goals when I started on this journey and honestly I couldn’t be happier or prouder of this decision.
Of course, in the spirit of confession that is typical in the Jewish faith at this time of the year, I also had to reflect on how faithful I was to the “primal blueprint”. I believe that I’ve done really well. Of course, no one is perfect, but that’s what makes life so interesting. On a camping a trip over weekend, and after a few to many glasses of wine, I ate a Hostess Ding Dong and Oreo cookies. I’m not gonna lie. They were as good as I expected them to be. However, I really don’t feel that bad about eating these sugary, floury delights. I know I won’t be having another one for a long time. I’d like to say that I will never eat another one again. But, that is not realistic. Rather, I will simply reaffirm my commitment to not eat this type of food in the next year. I will strive for 100% commitment, and I will be fitter, stronger, healthier and happier as a result. I am sure that this next year will prove to be even more remarkable.
Of course, Jewish Holidays typically include some sort of festive meal. My Mom always made a Honey Cake on Rosh Hashanna. It is tradition to mark the new year with something sweet. As a kid this always meant dipping freshly sliced apples in sweet honey and Honey Cake after the traditional meal. Just because I have decided to live primally, however, does not mean that I have to give up this tradition, I simply have to reinvent it. So instead of making the typical Honey Cake made with tons of flour and sugar like my Mom’s, I made a primal version that is still sweetened with honey, but contains no refined flour or sugar. I was really pleased with the results. It was dense, delicately spicy, moist and, just like the original version, went really well with a good cup of coffee. Honey is supposed to encourage a sweet new year and while you might not be celebrating the new year you should try this delicious cake and have a sweet year as well!
Primal Honey Cake
You will need the following ingredients:
- ½ cup strong black coffee (I used Starbucks Instant Via but only used 1/2 a cup of water instead of a full cup as directed)
- 2 ½ cups blanched almond flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
- ¼ teaspoon cloves, ground
- ¼ teaspoon allspice, ground
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup organic honey (if you like it sweeter you can add more)
- ¼ cup almond oil, grapeseed oil or olive oil
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup raisins
To prepare the honey cake:
Preheat oven to 350º. Generously oil a 9″ round or square cake pan. In a small bowl, pour some hot water over the raisins to soften and let cool. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, honey, eggs and almond oil. Beat until smooth with a hand mixer. Add cooled coffee and beat to incorporate. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with hand mixer until smooth. Drain the raisins and stir the raisins into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the well greased cake pan and bake in the 350º oven for 30-35 minutes. Check the cake after about 25 minutes. It will be done when a tooth pick placed in the center of the cake comes out clean. When the cake is done let cool and serve. Traditionally, this cake is not frosted, but you an top it with homemade whipped cream or cream cheese frosting. To make the frosting you can simply beat together softened cream cheese and honey until you get a smooth spreadable consistency.
Enjoy and I hope you have a healthy and sweet New Year.