As of 6 a.m. on Sept. 4, restaurants have been allowed to serve diners indoors at 25% capacity — the first time since dining establishments were told to shut their doors indefinitely at 8 p.m. on March 16
Rosh Hashanah begins the evening of Sept. 18 and ends the evening of Sept. 20.
For those who celebrate the Jewish New Year: Do you have your honey cake ready?
Honey is a deeply symbolic food in Rosh Hashanah celebrations. It represents the hope of a sweet new year, which is why you’ll find it drizzled over apples and spooned into cake batter during the holiday.
Alongside the challah bread, babka and pomegranates that typically adorn the table during Rosh Hashanah is the honey cake. Sometimes stodgy, always sweet – this brown cake is dense and heavily spiced. Some are made with coffee, some tea, some rum – but every recipe has plenty of that lucky, golden honey mixed in.
Here’s where to find honey cake in North Jersey:
The Russian honey cake from Balthazar has thin layers covered in honey whipped cream. (Photo: Ann Stratton)
Your Rosh Hashanah honey cake is in good hands at the legendary Balthazar. Made with sunflower oil instead of butter, the cake is has a splash of coffee for a hint of bitter earthiness and is spiced with cinnamon, ginger and clove. When it’s warm and fragrant, straight from the oven, it gets brushed with an extra dose of warm honey.
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Balthazar also offers a gorgeous Russian honey layer cake. The thin layers are made with brown honey (which is slowly cooked to intensify the flavor). The delicate slices are held together with a light sour cream filling, topped with honey whipped cream and covered with crumbs made with the browned honey layers. How’s that for impressive?
Balthazar’s honey loaf is made with cinnamon, ginger and clove. (Photo: Courtesy of Balthazar)
The cakes are available for preorder two days ahead of delivery or pickup. You can also call to see if any cakes are available for same-day pick-up. A large loaf is $18; a bundt is $26. The Russian honey layer cake is $35 for an 8-inch cake, $5 per slice in the retail store.
Go: 214 S. Dean St., Englewood; 201-503-9717, balthazarbakery.com.
Zadie’s Bakeshop, Fair Lawn
Zadie’s is one of Fair Lawn’s most popular bakeries – and when you walk in and see all the chocolate-dunked pastries, firm loaves of bread, gooey cookies and light, spongy cakes, you’ll know why.
Owner Adam Steinberg said he scaled down the size of his honey cake to a mini loaf this year. He hopes the smaller portion will suit individuals and couples who are spending Rosh Hashanah alone, instead of at a large party, because of COVID-19.
Go: 19-09 Fair Lawn Ave., Fair Lawn; 201-796-6565, zadiesbakeshop.com.
Liv Breads, Millburn
The honey cake from Liv Breads is light, moist and dairy-free. (Photo: Courtesy of Liv Breads)
Liv Breads is an artisan bakery known for its pastries and sourdough bread. For Rosh Hashanah, it’s offering golden brown honey cake that’s dairy-free and generously spiced with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger.
“Many customers tell us it’s one of the best they’ve ever had because it has a great balance of spice and sweetness — not too overwhelming — as well as being perfectly moist,” said owner Elana Livneh.
Preorders can be picked up across the street from the bakery at the Liv Bread tent between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. from Sept. 17 to 19. A limited supply of honey cakes will also be available in the shop daily. $16.
Go: 184 Essex St., Millburn; 973-218-6922 livbreads.com.
Butterflake Bake Shop, Teaneck
An old-school kosher, nut-free bakery, Butterflake is a Teaneck institution. It’s a go-to for Jewish holidays, as it has an abundance of sweet, savory and bready delicacies, including, of course, a signature honey cake for Rosh Hashanah – available in plain and with fruit. $12.95 for one loaf; $27.95 for three.
Go: 448 Cedar Lane, Teaneck; 201-836-3516, butterflake.com.
La Tabatiere, Closter
Baguettes at La Tabatiere (Photo: La Tabatiere)
La Tabatiere pastry chef Jonghun Won is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America’s Baking & Pastry Program and worked at the two-Michelin-starred Korean restaurant Jungsik in Manhattan, as well as Balthazar in Englewood. This guy knows his stuff. La Tabatiere’s authentic French pastries (Opera cake, plum pistachio tart, chocolate-almond croissants) will share the spotlight with a couple of other treats this Rosh Hashanah: a honey cake bundt and loaf, $20 and $10, respectively. Preorders are available for pickup on Sept. 18 or 19.
Go: 303 Herbert Ave., Closter; 201-767-2545, tabatierebakery.com.
West Orange Bake Shop, West Orange
West Orange Bake Shop will offer honey cake all week from Sept. 14 to 18. The treat is available as a loaf ($6.50) and a larger round cake ($9.50).
Go: 480 Pleasant Valley Way, West Orange; 973-243-1300, facebook.com/pages/category/Bakery/West-Orange-Bake-Shop.
Make your own
If quarantine has inspired the baker in you, perhaps you’d like to try making your own honey cake this year. Kosher markets Glatt Express and Cedar Market in Teaneck and Grand & Essex Market in Bergenfield are sure to have everything you need. Cedar Market even has a whole section dedicated to Rosh Hashanah, which includes dozens of high-quality honey selections. For a cheaper option, try Grand & Essex’s prepackaged honey loaf ($6.99).
Go: 1400 Queen Anne Road, Teaneck; 201-837-8110, glatt-express.com.
Go: 646 Cedar Lane, Teaneck; 201-855-8500, thecedarmarket.com.
Go: 89 New Bridge Road, Bergenfield; 201-244-9955, grandandessex.com.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @rebeccakingnj Instagram: @northjerseyeats
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