Cookbook Review: The Kosher Baker

My first paid baking gig was for a Jewish temple in the Seattle area in the early 1990s.  I baked 40 dozen cookies each week for them.  Obviously, they were not a rigid group, because I am not Jewish and I don’t keep a Kosher kitchen.  However, I was very careful to bake according to the guidelines they gave me.  During Passover, I made a lot of flourless treats.  During September, I baked 50 honey cakes of varying flavors.  It was a lot of work, but I had a blast.

When I was given the opportunity to review Paula Shoyer’s new book, The Kosher Baker, I jumped at the chance.   This book is strictly dairy free, so not only is it in keeping with the “no dairy eaten with meat” stricture of the Jewish faith, it is also perfect for anyone with dairy allergies.  Paula uses dairy free margarine (like Earth Balance) or vegetable oil,  dairy free chocolates (which I recently found at my local health food store), tofu cream cheese and sour cream instead of the regular versions.

This cookbook is filled with 160 dessert recipes from carrot cake to macarons, fruit tarts to candy, “cheese”cake to tea cakes.  The photographs are gorgeous, making me want to try all of them!  There are a few gluten free desserts and a section of desserts made with sugar substitutes (like Splenda) for diabetics.  The author did her best to make sure everyone could enjoy her treats.

The recipes in this book are divided by difficulty; starting with quick, one-bowl baked goods and working up to recipes that can take up to two days to make.  Ms. Shoyer also included recipes for all of the Jewish holidays and religious days including a couple of Challah recipes for Sabbath dinner, Passover treats and honey cakes for the Jewish New Year.Dairy Free Apple Upside Down Cake

When this book arrived, I took it right to my kitchen and whipped up the Apple Upside Down Cake.  It was so easy…I didn’t even need a mixer!  I used my Norpro Apple-Peeler-Corer-Slicer to make perfect apple slices, but next time, I think I will do it be hand.  I think thicker slices would have been better.   The more apple flavor, the better in my book.  However, the cake was a huge success.   Over half of it was eaten while it was still warm.    The gang cheated and ate the rest with vanilla ice cream…which would have totally ruined the whole no dairy thing, but there are dairy free frozen treats that would have been just as good if we were trying to remove dairy  from our meal.

Upside Down Apple Cake

Upside Down Apple Cake
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 cups + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • 3-5 baking apples
  • powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Mix the cinnamon and 3 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl.
  2. Sprinkle evenly on the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir flour, 2 cups sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until well mixed.
  4. Peel and slice the apples.
  5. Place the apple slices on top of the cinnamon and sugar in neat, overlapping rows.
  6. Pour cake batter over apples.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until it tests done.
  8. Let cool for half an hour.
  9. Invert onto a platter.
  10. Dust powdered sugar on each serving.

Upside Down Apple Cake

fine print: I received a free copy of this cookbook, but all opinions herein are mine alone.

5 thoughts on “Cookbook Review: The Kosher Baker

  1. Hi there; tried this cake – it was lovely but not light’n’fluffy like yours. I used all purpose flour, but was a little bit disappointed with the texture though my friends enjoyed it. I beat the ingredients by hand (you mention “stir” not “beat”) do you think that would improve the texture? Thanks – love this recipe.

    1. Hi Susan, I am sorry this cake didn’t get as fluffy as you would have wanted. I did in fact just stir all of the ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a bowl. I think, because all of the ingredients are in the bowl together, you don’t want to beat them; just like any quick bread or pancake because they will be tougher. If you want, you could beat the eggs, sugar and oil first, that may add more air to the batter. Then just stir in the dry ingredients.

  2. Hi there again! Thanks so much for your reply; much appreciated! I tried the recipe again (‘cos it’s amazing) and revamped it a little. Split the flour mix to 1/2 all purpose (or plain flour) and 1/2 Self Raising flour. Worked a treat – gave me a lighter texture and is DELICIOUS! Thanks so much again.

    1. You mentioned that the cookbook used splenda for diabetics. Splenda is aspertame-it is a neuro toxin and actually CAUSES diabetes, along with seizures and MS like symptoms. There is nothing good about the fake sugarsm esp Splenda. BTW splenda is NOT KOSHER> Honey raw, unfiltered, molasses, maple syrup are safer and better for diabetics. Sugar is not the problem-bad fat is

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