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Jewish Traditional Cakes

By: Elizabeth Hinds - Updated: 1 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Jewish Cakes Honey Ingredients Cake
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One of the major celebrations in the Jewish calendar is that of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year. It was the traditional for Jews, as an illustration of their wish for a sweet year ahead, to eat apples dipped in honey. Two cakes have grown out of that tradition: apple cake, which is one of the most famous of all Jewish cakes, and honey cake.

We’ve kosher recipes for apple cake and honey cake as well as recipes for cookies or kichlach (Yiddish for cookies) and banana loaf.

Apple Cake

This recipe comes direct from the Israeli Embassy.
  • 450g (1lb) plain flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 440g (13oz) caster sugar
  • 225ml (8fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and finely sliced
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and flour a ring pan (or Bundt pan if you have one).

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, oil, vanilla essence, eggs and orange juice. Beat well until you have a smooth batter.

In a separate bowl mix together the apple slices, cinnamon and 5 tablespoons caster sugar. Pour half the batter into the prepared tin. Cover with half the apples. Pour on the remaining batter. Arrange the remaining apple slices on top.

Bake for 70 – 90 minutes. If the top layer starts to brown too much, cover with foil. The cake is cooked when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin before carefully removing. Serve dusted with icing sugar.

Honey Cake

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 150g (5oz) cup caster sugar
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 700g (1lb 8oz) thick honey
  • ½ cup freshly brewed coffee
  • 175g (6oz) walnuts or pecans, chopped roughly
Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3. Grease and base-line a roasting tin.

Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and spices. Set aside.

Beat the eggs and slowly mix in the sugar. Continue to beat until light and fluffy and then beat in the oil, honey and coffee. Fold in the flour and nuts. Pour into the tin and bake for 60 – 80 minutes or until well-risen and golden. Cool and serve cut into squares.

  • You could use two 9” loaf tins instead.


  • 3 eggs
  • 110ml (4fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 150g (5oz) plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 4. Grease a baking sheet. Sieve together the flour and salt.

Whisk the eggs until light and then beat in the sugar, oil and sifted flour until smooth. Drop teaspoonfuls, well-spaced, onto the baking sheet. Cook for about 15 minutes until starting to brown.

Banana Loaf

  • 450g (1lb) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 450g (1lb) caster sugar
  • 225ml (8fl oz) vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 4 bananas, mashed
  • 50g (2oz) walnuts, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Grease and flour a ring tin (or Bundt pan if you have one).

Sieve together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

Whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. When smooth stir in the mashed bananas and nuts. Fold the flour mix into the batter. Make sure the batter is well mixed then pour into the ring tin. Bake for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch. Cool then turn out and drizzle over some icing made by beating together 175g (6oz) cup icing sugar, 4 tablespoons lemon juice and enough water to make a thickish glaze.

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