Hannah Kaminsky, author of the dessert cookbook My Sweet Vegan and talented blogger at Bittersweet, shares her childhood memories of the Jewish New Year and her new grown-up take on a celebratory dessert that is vegan (dairy-free, egg-free, and honey-free) as well as nut- and soy-free for those with food allergies:
As a kid, my favorite part of this day would always be the traditional bowl of sliced apples placed at the center of the table, accompanied by a deep dish of amber honey. Of course, I would dive straight into the sea of gold syrup unencumbered by any of those “boring” apples, fingers knotted tightly together to shovel the sticky stuff straight into my mouth.
Having grown up a bit and matured (I hope) since then, the holiday has certainly become a less messy occasion, and instead of honey, I smother my crisp apples with agave. The thought of this simple pairing led me to contemplate other customary treats for Rosh Hashana, and it was no time before I hit upon the perfect thing to bring to dinner this year: Honey cake.
Not wanting to mislead, I would call this tender loaf a Rosh Hashana Cake instead, but for all any of my family knew, it was the original thing. Amber agave lends a slightly caramel-like sweetness, and that tiny drop of orange blossom water adds that tiny floral hint that honey always seems to carry. By adding a good deal of applesauce into the mix, you’ve got the two staples of the holiday right there in one easy to make cake, and with a thick slice after dinner or even for breakfast, it’s almost a guarantee that this new year will be a sweet one.
Special Diet Notes: Vegan Rosh Hashana Cake
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, soy-free, vegan, plant-based, and vegetarian.
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 cup amber agave nectar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon orange blossom water
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a 9 x 5 greased loaf pan.
- Sift together both flours, baking powder and soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a separate dish, measure out the oil, agave, applesauce, vanilla, vinegar, and orange blossom water, whisking thoroughly to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry via the “muffin method,” and stir the mixture together using as few strokes as possible to prevent over mixing. Once the batter is smooth and no pockets of wet or dry ingredients remain, pour into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes. Since agave causes baked goods to brown much faster than sugar, cover your pan after it’s been in the oven for about 35 minutes to prevent it from becoming too dark.
- When it’s done, a skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. Let it cool completely in the pan before slicing.