Israeli Honey-Sesame Cake is the Perfect Rosh Hashanah Dessert

Science and Health

Honey and sesame are a perfect pair to welcome in the new year. Customarily eaten at Rosh Hashanah, honey is used to add sweetness to the new year, and sesame seeds are eaten for increased abundance, as their size makes them too numerous to count. Symbolism notwithstanding, honey and sesame are a classic flavor combination. 

Sesame seeds are also a favorite ingredient in Israeli desserts and across the Middle East. In Hebrew, this cake is known as oogat soomsoom v’dvash; Syrian Jews have a similar version called ka’ikeh b’ah’sal. This cake is all about the earthy nuttiness of sesame seeds that comes from using both tahini and toasted sesame in the batter. Once it’s baked and cooled, a honey glaze on top adds another layer of sweetness, and it can be drizzled on decoratively for a festive presentation.

This recipe can be made in one bowl without any special equipment, it is pareve (non-dairy) and uses simple ingredients. While this would be a welcome addition to any High Holiday spread, it is also an addictively delicious snacking cake that you’ll want to make year-round.

Note: The cake can be made ahead of time and will last 5-6 days at room temperature, covered or in an airtight container.

Photo credit: Sonya Sanford

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