My Mother’s Apple Cake

Apples and honey are common symbols of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year. Apples are dipped in honey to symbolize wishes for a sweet new year, and both feature prominently in traditional dessert recipes (see honey cake truffles and apple honey cake).

Growing up, my mother made this amazing apple cake every year for Rosh Hashanah. When I moved to Texas, I usually don’t cook meals for Rosh Hashanah, so I started making it for Yom Kippur’s break fast. Apple cakes like this are incredibly common, and so associated with Jews that many recipes are called “Jewish Apple Cake”.

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What I’m Cooking: Summer Desserts & a Salad

First, a small brag. These peaches are from the two trees I have in my front yard. It’s been a couple of years, and I forgot some cardinal rules, so I lost a fair amount of the crop to critters, but I managed to salvage a nice amount. I was also surprised to learn that the younger (by a year) of the two trees is actually a white peach!

I made three great recipes this week that I had to share with you all. The first is a pie that I haven’t made in years, but one bite reminds me why it’s been on my mind for years.

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Strawberry Loaf Cake


When I first stated baking for the synagogue, I scoured the internet for cookie recipes that would be incredible but relatively inexpensive. I wanted a citrus cookie, but as our Rabbi is allergic to lemon, I looked for an orange cookie. I found this incredible cookie, and I’ve made it numerous times over the last four or five years.

Fast forward to last year, when a request for Sprinkles Cupcakes’ recipe for Strawberry Cupcakes introduced me to that wonderful recipe, and made me want to replicate it in cookie form. I had leftover strawberry puree, and tried adapting the orange cookie recipe, but my couple of different tries didn’t hit the mark and I moved on from that quest. Continue reading “Strawberry Loaf Cake”

Syrup Soaked Orange Semolina Cake

Tray of desserts for a Jerusalem-themed event

Several years ago we had an Israeli-themed dinner at the synagogue, and I was in charge of making the desserts. A couple of weeks ago, we had a Jerusalem-themed event, and I ended up making the same set of desserts again, because I enjoyed them so much.

Another tray of desserts for a Jerusalem-themed event

One of the recipes is these Tahini Cookies from Yotam Ottolenghi, who is amazing. Another are these Kadorei Shokolad (Chocolate Balls), which my Israeli friends agree are wonderful and traditional. I rolled half of the balls in desiccated coconut and the other half in nonpareils; both are wonderful, and they give color and contrast to the cookie trays. I scoop the balls using a #60 cookie scoop [I own two different ones, I’m so addicted to cookie scoops!], a dozen or so at a time. I roll them smooth, coat in the desired coating, then put in the fridge to harden once I’ve finished the batch, otherwise they’ll be a little too soft.  Continue reading “Syrup Soaked Orange Semolina Cake”

Whole Orange Cake

Sometimes you spy a recipe somewhere, decide you have to make it, and it becomes a favorite. Other times, you have an idea for a bake, and go searching until you find a recipe that meets your idea. This is one of those times.

While pondering what desserts to bring to my friend’s new years party, I somehow got the idea of making a whole clementine cake. I suppose it may have been influenced by Mary Berry’s recipe for a Whole Orange Cake (I’m on a major Great British Bake Off obsession right now), although I definitely wasn’t thinking directly about it. The first recipe I found was Nigella’s Clementine Cake recipe, which looked wonderful, except it used ground almonds and my friend has a nut allergy.

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Apple Honey Cake

For many of us, holidays are a combination of dishes that must be made, new dishes to try, and the sad fact that each person can only eat so much. Every year for Rosh Hashanah, my mother makes a fabulous apple cake. When I moved down here to Texas, I started making it for break-the-fast (the meal following the 25 hour fast during Yom Kippur, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah) instead, because my friends and I weren’t cooking dinner during Rosh Hashanah. Continue reading “Apple Honey Cake”

Honey Cake Truffles

Honey Cake Truffles

I was trying to find a fall-themed dessert for a Sukkot celebration, which had to meet the criteria of being easy to grab and requiring no utensils. I somehow started thinking about possible truffles – pecan pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie – and looking at various recipes for them. But it just didn’t seem quite right. And then it came to me – why not a honey cake truffle?*

So I did what I usually do – googled various phrases trying to find recipes. I figured it was so obvious it had probably been made a million times. But this was apparently not true. I couldn’t find a single recipe. Continue reading “Honey Cake Truffles”