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.
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.
- 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
- Mix the cinnamon and 3 Tbsp sugar in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle evenly on the bottom of a greased 9X13 pan.
- In a mixing bowl, stir flour, 2 cups sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla until well mixed.
- Peel and slice the apples.
- Place the apple slices on top of the cinnamon and sugar in neat, overlapping rows.
- Pour cake batter over apples.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes or until it tests done.
- Let cool for half an hour.
- Invert onto a platter.
- Dust powdered sugar on each serving.
fine print: I received a free copy of this cookbook, but all opinions herein are mine alone.