Gina’s Hair Raising Honey Cake

This cake was first published in 2011 in ‘Monday Morning Cooking Club – the food the stories the sisterhood‘ (via the kitchen of Karen Gutman, from an old friend of ours Gina Swart who made it for many years at Rosh Hashanah – this recipe has a history!)

It is, without a doubt, the best, most moist and delicious honey cake around.

Its name came from the time when Gina was avidly pouring the mixtures into the mixing bowl and got too close – her hair got caught around the whisking beaters, which pulled half of it out! We all laugh every time we make the cake, and every time we share the recipe with friends we tell the story and laugh again.

For a loaf-sized cake with a little more spice, check out our new recipe in Now for Something Sweet.



Gina's Hair Raising Honey Cake

This cake is best made a couple of days ahead. When cool, remove from the tin and wrap well in aluminium foil and then plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to 4 days. It also freezes well. Make sure you check the cake after 50 minutes - if you have a 'hot oven' it may be ready a little earlier than the hour.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Course Sweet Things
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 12


  • 375 ml hot tap water (1.5 cups)
  • 225 grams plain flour (all purpose) (1.5 cups)
  • 225 grams Self-Raising (Self-Rising) flour (1.5 cups)
  • 1.5 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 345 grams Caster (Superfine) Sugar (1.5 cups)
  • 180 ml vegetable oil (3/4 cup)
  • 500 grams honey (scant 1.5 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • You will need a 27 cm (11 inch, large) ring cake tin. It is best to use a X LARGE tin without a removable base, as the mixture is liquid and may leak.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease the tin very well.
  • Sift the dry mixture ingredients together into a bowl.
  • In a separate large bowl (or electric mixer bowl), mix the wet mixture ingredients together until well combined.
  • Add the dry mixture into the wet mixture, alternating with the 1 1/2 cups hot tap water.
  • Pour into the prepared cake tin. Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool before turning out of the tin.




  1. Jackie

    This recipe sounds great. Can I use the same recipe to make honey cake cup cakes?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Jackie,
      Definitely! Just make sure you only fill the cases to just under half way – it rises so much. One year I ended up with full patty pans and cake batter all over the bottom of the oven…
      Watch the cooking time, they will probably only need 20 – 30 minutes. You just might have to taste one to check…
      Happy Baking!

      1. Jackie


  2. Dal

    Are there no eggs in this recipe?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Thanks so much for realising the BIG mistake. Yes, 4 eggs have been left off the wet ingredient list!
      We have now amended…
      Happy baking!

  3. Nicole

    Hi, I live in France. Where could I buy a chiffon cake tin please ?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Hi Nicole,
      You should be able to find one in any good kitchenware store. If you are looking for one to use for chiffon cakes make sure it is NOT non-stick, has a funnel centre and a removable base. If you are looking for one to use for the honey cake, better to use a tin without a removable base but with a centre funnel to avoid leaking – it is a very liquidy mixture.

  4. MG

    I made this recipe last night using a bundt cake pan and even though I greased the pan (and sprinkled with breadcrumbs), the cake did not come out properly. Do I need to use a chiffon cake tin or have I done something else wrong? The cake was otherwise delicious and fluffy!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      The best sort of cake tin for this cake is a large cake tin with a centre funnel and no removable base. We have made it over the years in a bundt tin and it does tend to stick in the grooves. You need to grease it really really well and even then it still tends to stick. We make it in a thick silicon angel cake tin that works perfectly and never sticks. Any smooth bottomed tin should be fine and you can put a little baking paper in the base just to be sure.
      Hope this helps.

      1. MG

        Thanks Lisa, this is helpful. Where can I purchase the silicone cake mould?

    2. Miriam Faine

      the secret is to loosen the cake and then LEAVE till absolutely cool. Ive spent years practising with a bundt tin and that’s definitely the deciding factor.

  5. Rachel

    I just baked this recipe from the cookbook. Thanks for the advice about the cupcakes, I filled my cupcakes about half way of the cupcake holder and they increased double their size. They are perfect thanks!

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Brilliant! Thanks so much for letting us know!

  6. Carly

    Just made these as cupcakes after seeing the suggestion in the comments – great idea and very yummy.

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      It’s such a good recipe and it’s brilliant how it works for large or small tins. So happy you tried them out!

  7. Sam

    Did you use to sell a silicone round cake pan? I can’t seem to find it, are you able to point me in the right direction. Thanks a million

  8. Lisa Goldberg

    HI Sam, yes we used to sell them but our stock ran out – and they are hard to find at the moment. This is what ours looks like

    Any very large tube pan will work. Best if it does not have a removable base as the mixture is very liquid and will leak. If it is not non-stick, you should line the tin with baking paper. if you don’t have a tin with a hole in the middle, you can bake in a round or square tin but you will need to turn the temperature down towards the end and cook it for a bit longer to ensure the centre is cooked. This cake is best made a couple of days ahead, the texture and flavour does improve. This cake rises alot in the oven, so make sure you only fill the tin to half way. Otherwise you will end up with honey cake all over the bottom of your oven….
    Happy cooking!

  9. marie

    Ok to use a large 11 inch round tin (as I do not have a ring tin)

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Yes, it should be ok. If you find the outside cooks too quickly, reduce the temperature and cook for a little longer to ensure the centre is cooked through.

  10. Rosalie. Weisman

    What does 11/2 mean in the recipe for honey cake .? From Rosalie

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Sorry it is not clear – I will amend. It means 1 1/2 or 1.5.

  11. Sheelagh Tancred

    I think that I read some where that can you put almond meal in this cake. is that correct

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      Sorry, no, it was not for this cake.

  12. Layla

    How long does this cake keep, and can you freeze it?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      It keeps for about 5 days, and it freezes very well. It is at it’s best around 2 days after baking.

  13. Cindy Pitts

    Lisa. I am bit confused by the weights. 225gm of flour is equivalent to 1 3/4 cups by measure. But recipe shows 1 1/2. I prefer weighing my ingredients and am not sure which measurement to use. Can you clarify?

    1. Lisa Goldberg

      HI Cindy. It is confusing with different weight and measures for the same thing. In our kitchen 1 cup flour = 150 g. So 225 g is 1 ½ I only cook by weight, and the weight measurements in our recipes are accurate.
      Hope this clarifies!

      1. Cindy Pitts

        Thank you. I used the weights shown and seems to be perfect. Will slice it in 2 days and know for sure. L’shana tova!

  14. Sheryl

    You have indicated 225 grams of flour twice? So does this recipe call for 450 grams of flour? Looking forward to baking it.

  15. Shelley Puterman

    5 stars
    I made this after googling for a honey cake recipe.It was so delicious, and even better the next day. My daughter-in-law is Australian and her mother’s name was Gina. Sadly Gina passed away when Izzy was 11 and finding this recipe felt beshert! It will now be a recipe I use to include Gina in our Rosh Hashanah dinners.

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