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The Jewish New Year—Rosh Hashana—is celebrated without a lot of pomp and circumstance. Often a simple gathering of family to eat, drink and ring in a new year with hopes of happiness and good fortune ahead. Oh, and maybe a few screechy blows on a dusty shofar (ram’s horn) with varying degrees of success.
don’t take center stage quite
as they do during Passover
or Hannukah, but there are some symbolic food
staples you can expect to find. Fruit jams and compotes will dot most Rosh Hashanah spreads along with fluffy Challah
bread, and ever-polarizing gefilte fish
. Brisket too, because where there are hungry jews there is likely some brisket
not far behind.
But most notably, and perhaps most symbolically, honey is served and eaten as a representation of our hope for a sweet year to come. Apple slices—another high symbolic food for followers of the Old Testament—are often the vessel for honey at Rosh Hashana, but there are plenty of other ways to deliver it, including a traditional honey cake or honey loaf.
Zaro’s Family Bakery
One family who has been making a Rosh Hashanah honey cake for generations is the Zaro family—of Zaro’s Bakery—a fourth-generation Jewish bakery founded in 1927 now with ten brick & mortar locations in New York. Throughout the year, Zaro’s sells more than 1.5 million bagels to hungry New Yorkers, but during Rosh Hashanah, it’s all about that honey loaf cake, and they generously shared their recipe for this sweet, moist, and celebratory cake to make at home.
Zaro’s Honey Loaf Cake
Michael Zaro, who runs the company with his family tells us that the recipe has been in the Zaro family for generations and that it’s very special. “To know our great grandfather [Joeseph Zaro] created these recipes, and we get to continue to share them with New York, makes all of us so happy.” Serve this honey loaf cake at Rosh Hashana (or any other time) with coffee for a light, honey-sweet dessert.
- 2 2⁄3 cup honey
- 3 eggs
- 11 egg yolks
- 1 1⁄3 cup vegetable oil
- 3⁄4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp orange marmalade
- 3⁄4 cup coffee – brewed and cooled
- 4 cup rye flour
- 3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 5⁄8 tsp baking soda
- 1⁄8 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 300F. Grease two 9’x5” pans.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, combine all wet ingredients and whisk together thoroughly. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and slowly add the mixture of wet ingredients.
- Whisk as you go, adding little by little, until a homogenous mixture forms.
- Divide batter between both pans and place on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.