Lior Lev Sercarz’s spiced honey cake recipe

Lior Lev Sercarz (Courtesy of Lior Lev Sercarz)


Lior Lev Sercarz is the owner of La Boite, an upscale spice shop in New York, and author of “The Art of Blending” and the forthcoming “The Spice Companion.”

“Rosh Hashanah has always been about family for me, and this honey cake is my take on a favorite food from my childhood from around this time,” said Sercarz, who grew up on a kibbutz in Israel. “I add spices like I do in all of my cooking, use silan (date honey) to modernize the recipe and reflect the season, and olive oil to connect my family here in New York City to my father’s groves back home in the Galilee.”

(Courtesy of Lior Lev Sercarz)


  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup silan, divided (3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • Juice of 1 orange plus zest
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Reims N.39 or 1 1/2 teaspoons each ground ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon whole anise seed
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1. Cream the eggs and sugar together in a large bowl or in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat for 3 to 4 minutes or until noticeably lighter in color and texture.

2. Mix together all dry ingredients (except sesame seed) in a bowl and preheat oven to 350 F.

3. Add the pomegranate juice, olive oil, 3/4 cup silan, orange juice and zest to the eggs and sugar; stir well to combine.

4. Gently incorporate the dry ingredients, mixing until it just comes together — a few lumps are OK.

5. Pour into 2 greased or lined 8-inch loaf pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Remove to a rack to cool and brush the tops with the reserved silan; sprinkle sesame seeds on top.