Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Rosh Hashanah Bundkuchen to wish you a sweet New Year!

Long days, short years.  That's what people say about raising children.  It seems like we just studied and celebrated Rosh Hashana, and here we are again.   Last year, we read about Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah, and made round Challah.  We learned about some of the traditions surrounding Rosh Hashanah from Sammy, including the tradition of eating apples dipped in honey in the hope of a sweet year.  This year, our house is celebrating our family's heritage by reading a new story - Even Higher!  A Rosh Hashanah Story by I. L. Peretz and adapted by Eric A. Kimmel  and making cake with apples and honey.

rosh hashana even higher
Even Higher! is a beautiful story about a rabbi who disappears every year just before Rosh Hashanah.  No one knew where the Rabbi of Nemirov went, and no one could find him.  Since he was gone just before God opened the Book of Life and decided what He would write about each person, the townspeople assumed the Rabbi must have gone to heaven to beg God to forgive the people any wrongdoings.  His ability to come and go was thought to be a miracle.  What makes this story interesting for our family is there is one man who does not believe Rabbi has gone to visit heaven.  His name is Litvak - which is what a person from Lithuania is called.  Neal's great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from Shavel, Lithuania in the early 20th century.  Litvak in the story is a skeptic, and doesn't believe the Rabbi has gone to heaven, so he secretly follows him.  He finds he has done something even greater than going to beg for mercy -- he has gone to help a neighbor, bringing her firewood and lighting a fire to warm her cold rooms.  A good reminder to all of us - Jew or Christian - that sometimes the greatest miracles are the little things we do for each other, especially when we do it because we should, not for any glory.
apples honey bundt pan

And since in Jude's mind, no lesson is complete without a craft, we made Apple Honey Cake.  Like last year's challah, we baked the cake in a circle, to symbolize life and how each year returns to its beginning.  To make the round shape, we used a bund pan.  Some believe the etymology of the word bund is "gathering," and a bundkuchen is a cake meant to be shared with friends.  Our cake is variant on a recipe my own father has made more times than I can count - I have no idea where his recipe came from, just that it is extremely popular in our family.  I am almost positive he learned it from his Lutheran German father.  I'd like to think that somewhere, back in time, the recipe belonged to a Jewish neighbor of our family, a cake and its recipe were shared among friends, and now has worked its way through both families.  It is naturally dairy free (so it can be served at any Kosher table), but we adjusted it to be gluten free as well.  We also traded the granulated sugar for honey, to make it more fitting for Rosh Hashanah.  Please allow us to share our cake with your family.

Rosh Hashanah Apple Honey Bundkuchen gluten dairy free pareve

Apple Filling:

5 small or 3 medium apples, diced
1/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Cake Batter:

1 c. vegetable oil
1 3/4 c. honey (or 2 1/4 c. granulated sugar)
4 eggs
1/2 c. orange juice
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 c. gluten free flour mix (King Arthur or Better Batter)
1 Tbsp. xanthan gum (if using Better Batter, decrease to 1 1/2 tsp.)
1 Tbsp. baking powder

Optional: 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar for finishing

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease and flour a 12 cup bund (bundt) pan.  (You can also use a 10 inch tube pan, or 2 - 8" x 4" loaf pans.)


Peel, core, and chop the apples.  We quartered ours and then cut each quarter into roughly thirds.  If you want a more delicate cake, cut the apples smaller, but no smaller than 1/4".

Mix the apples, sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Stir to coat, and then set aside.


pour honey easily from an oiled measuring cup

Measure the oil first. Swirl it around in the measuring cup, and then pour into a mixing bowl.  Then, measure the honey, and add to the oil.  The honey should easily side out of the greased cup.

Add the eggs, juice, and vanilla, and stir to combine.

In another bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, and baking powder.  Mix to combine thoroughly.

Combine the dry with the wet.   Add a small amount of flour, mixing it in before adding more.  If using a stand mixer, turn it down to low first.   Once all the flour is combined, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Pour about half the batter into the prepared pan.  Top with a layer of apples, pushing them down into the batter to fit more in.  Try to keep them away from the edges so the next layer of batter will seal around them.

Top with the remainder of the batter, and top that with the remaining apples.

A Jude's-photography-view of the process

Bake for 75-90 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

apple honey bundt cake
Cool in pan 15 minutes, then turn out onto serving platter.  (It will deflate slightly.  Don't panic!)

 Use a basting brush or a soft paintbrush or (clean!) toothbrush to brush off any loose flour.  Allow to cool for at least another 45 minutes.

When ready to serve, dust with confectioner's sugar. 

L'Shana Tovah! May you all have a sweet and blessed year!

Y is for (new) Year
Photobucket ThePinJunkie

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  1. Beautiful cake, and very cute chef :) :)
    I'm saving the this recipe

    Have a wonderful Rosh-Hashanah!!

  2. Looks delicious! It's been too long since I baked Challah, and it is on my "to-do" list this week!

  3. This cake looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Food on Friday.

  4. This looks so delicious! How wonderful that you study and celebrate the holiday with your family. A great hands-on way to learn of our heritage! Thanks for linking up with "Try a New Recipe Tuesday!" I hope you will be able to join us again this week! http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2013/09/try-new-recipe-tuesday-september-10.html

  5. This looks incredible. Thanks for sharing on the weekend re-Treat link party!

    Britni @ Play. Party. Pin.

  6. It looks like your kids enjoyed making this cake to celebrate the Jewish New Year!

  7. YUM! Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! :) I can't wait to see what you share this week! Its LIVE!


  8. What fun it is to bake with kids. The cake looks so yummy!


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