The celebrations for Rosh Hashanah, or Jewish New Year, begin tonight. This year we’ll miss having dinner with my family and the in-laws, ringing in the new year together (yes, both sides of the family celebrate together – how cute is that?). Instead we’ll be in Israel, enjoying a small potluck feast with our friends, who become the closest thing to family in a foreign place. I developed this recipe for parve Applesauce Cake with Pomegranate Glaze for the Jew and the Carrot this year and loved it so much that I’m making it again to bring to Rosh Hashanah dinner. Please check out the original article (full of fun facts and information) on the Jew and the Carrot!
Although honey cake might be the most traditional dessert for the holiday, I know a good many families who turn to apple cake year after year. The thing is, I’ve had terrible luck with making apple cake in Israel. You already know that I have issues with my oven. Well, every time I’ve tried to make a traditional apple cake it just won’t cook. The top appears golden, a toothpick comes out clean, I’m convinced I’m in the clear – and then. Then I go to flip the cooled cake and it turns out the bottom is total mush. I tried again last week – this time with pomegranate seeds mixed in – and was met with a double failure. Not only did the cake not cook properly, but the pomegranate seeds became crispy and totally unappealing inside. Even my husband wouldn’t touch it.
So my decision to make an applesauce cake really came from a practical place. Something about those pieces of apples was not working in my baked goods. I knew I wanted to incorporate date honey as a nod to honey cake, and my love of date honey, so added some of that. And, since pomegranates are another symbol of the new year and one of my favorite fruits I wanted to include them but already knew that simply putting seeds in the cake was not going to work. So instead I made a glaze studded with pomegranate seeds. An apple-honey-pomegranate cake! If that doesn’t symbolize a sweet new year, I don’t know what does!
This cake came out good. I mean perfect good. With just a hint of spice and a lot of apple flavor, the texture was moist, tender, and springy. It was so moist that I left it on my kitchen counter uncovered for three days and it didn’t show even the slightest signs of drying out. (Three days, by the way, is the amount of time it took two of us to consume this entire cake.) The cake, which is not overly sweet, doesn’t even need the pomegranate glaze. But it’s worth it. Besides looking pretty, the glaze adds a touch of complexity, a sweet-tart element that leaves you licking the plate. It’s good.
And, if you don’t celebrate Rosh Hashanah, this cake is still just perfect for fall. It’s as good for breakfast as it is for dessert, and is bound to show up on my table throughout the year.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg or ground cloves
- 1½ cups dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup date honey (substitute regular honey if date honey is unavailable)
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup sugar
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ¾ cup pomegranate seeds
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- In a small mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg or cloves. Set aside.
- In a separate large mixing bowl stir together the brown sugar, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the date honey, then whisk in the eggs one at a time.
- Add the apple sauce and stir until fully mixed in.
- Add the flour mixture one third at a time, making sure it is well incorporated before each addition.
- Spoon the batter into a greased 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.
- Transfer to the preheated oven and bake 40 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly then invert onto a plate or board. Let it cool while you make the pomegranate glaze.
- Combine the pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered and stirring frequently, until syrupy and reduced by about half (about 15 minutes).
- Remove from the heat and stir in the pomegranate seeds.
- Spoon the glaze over the cake and serve.
Submitted to Tastetastic Thursday over at A Little Nosh and Fusion Fridays over at Jane Deere