Like every year, the time comes when we, City Mouse taste testers, arm ourselves with lots of water and insulin, as we prepare to taste, judge, and list Israel’s best honey cakes. Dozens of cakes crossed our table, some were outstanding, and some were, well, less so. Regardless, no cake was left whole. And now, we are proud to present the reason why all of us are renewing our gym memberships – here are the five best honey cakes in Israel’s central region.
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Lehamim Bakery has lots of holiday offerings, including a classic honey cake (NIS 39), “grandma’s honey cake,” which includes baked apples (NIS 44), a tart with fresh fruits and pomegranate (NIS 59), an apple crumble with marzipan (NIS 49), and more.
What we tasted: “Grandma’s honey cake,” and apple crumble with marzipan.
The verdict: Whose grandmother is this, and where can we find her? Her honey cake was one of the best we tasted. It was soft, surprisingly light, just sweet enough, and the addition of apples was outstanding. If you could only have one honey cake this season (and believe us, that might be a good idea), this is it.
Where to find it: Lehamim Bakery, Shuk Hacarmel, Tel Aviv.
Final score: 10
Called, simply, “The Bakery,” this store’s two locations have a wide array of sweet holiday offerings, like the classic Russian honey cake, which features both cream cheese and vanilla cream between layers of honey dough (NIS 65), a date honey and walnut cake (NIS 35), and a vanilla mousse cake with fresh berries (NIS 189).
What we tasted: the Russian honey cake, the date honey and walnut cake, and the vanilla mousse.
The verdict: We were surprised that the Russian honey cake lived up to its potential. The layers of dough, bursting with honey flavor, were an excellent complement to both the cream cheese and vanilla, which gave it an almost ice cream-like feel. A true dessert delight. The date honey and walnut cake was also outstanding. It had a perfect balance of flavors and a delightful texture. Be sure to stop at The Bakery on the way to your holiday meal.
Where to find it: 13 Yad Haruzim St., or 72 Ibn Gvirol St. in Tel Aviv.
Final score: 9.5
For this holiday season, Dallal bakery is offering a classic honey cake featuring malt beer and walnuts (NIS 42), alongside other products like their traditional round honey cake (NIS 42), a Normandy tart made with shortcrust pastry, almond crème, apples, and baked pastry cream (NIS 90), an apple raisin cake (NIS 39), a marzipan apple brioche, and more.
What we tasted: The malt beer honey cake and the apple marzipan brioche.
The verdict: Malt beer in a honey cake? How have we never heard of this before? Dallal’s honey cake is wonderful. Just sweet enough, with great texture, and the flavor is masterfully balanced with just the right amount of spice. It’s not an airy cake, but it’s not too dense either – it melts in your mouth. The walnuts balance out the sweetness, but it would work well even without them. It has the perfect, ever-so-gentle bitter aftertaste.
Where to find it: 7 Kol Israel Haverim St, Tel- Aviv
Final score: 9.5
As Rosh Hashanah approaches, the baker Yona Rosler prepares a slew of different hand-made holiday cakes that combine the flavors of apples and honey. Some of her finest include a citrus apple crumble hone cake (NIS 45-120), a classic honey cake with apple slices and walnut coating (NIS 44), a Danish cake with cheese, apple and date filling (NIS 42), and a baked apple and honey cheesecake (NIS 56-144).
What we tasted: The honey cake with apple slices and the citrus apple crumble honey cake.
The verdict: Biscotti knows how to make a holiday cake. The crumble was superb, combining a balance of sweetness, with a soft, pleasant texture. The honey cake with apple slices was also delicious, but the apples felt a little strange, and did not mesh as well with the rest of the cake like we thought they would. Even so, it wasn’t too heavy or too sweet, which was a plus.
Where to find it: 67 Hayarkon street, Bnei Brak.
Final score: 9.5
This Givatayim bakery is offering a holiday collection rich in honey and spices. On the menu: classic honey cake (NIS 42-47), a ricotta and honey Danish cake (NIS 43-52), an apple tart with mascarpone cream (NIS 72), honey cookies (NIS 32) and more.
What we tasted: The classic honey cake, and the ricotta and honey Danish cake.
The verdict: The ricotta and honey Danish cake was outstanding, and was refreshingly unique as far as honey cakes go. The ricotta is a great twist, and makes for a great end to a holiday meal. The classic honey cake wasn’t anything to write home about, but it wasn’t bad either. It was light and not too sweet.
Where to find it: 53 Derech Hashalom, Givatayim
Final score: 8.5