Baking in Tel Aviv

Freshly baked Challah Bread

I’ve been taking full advantage of the long European holiday this year where the warm days have turned into weeks of much needed indulgent fanfare. I dabbled in hedonistic soirées and quaint pastry shops exclusive to the South of France over the course of my vacation, but the flash of the Côte d’Azur just couldn’t compete with the wonders of my ensuing trip to Tel Aviv. Certainly the last thing I ever thought I would be doing in Tel Aviv was baking with a local. But this is how it all began…

Upon my AM arrival, my appetite needed immediate attention and what more to satisfy it than a morningtide feast at a trendy cafe reminiscent of Paris, just down the road from my lodging for the week. The tranquillity of a Tel Avivian morning greeted by friendly locals who would give you the shirt off their back (if you had something good enough in exchange) immediately washed any Western headlines of war and strife in the region from my mind. (After all, the Gaza strip does not define Israel.) There certainly was a ceasefire in culinary terms as influences from Jewish, Eastern European, and Eastern Mediterranean to name a few came together in the most harmonious of ways on my every plate.

Breakfast of scrambled egg whites, Israeli yoghurt, and little bites (cheese, roasted tomato, olive, and garlic)

A mere 5 minutes from the beach, my friends and I discovered a local food market where I have never tasted food so fresh (and I thought Italy boasted fresh food!) Challah bread and rugelach dotted bakeries in golden mounds and I… just… couldn’t… resist.

An assortment of baked goods in the market 

Biting into the chocolaty goodness of Rugelach.

I also was able to experience the deistic wonders of old Jerusalem – namely the Jerusalem bagel (who worships the bagel god.) A Jerusalem bagel is larger and oval shaped compared to its traditional counterpart and offers a lighter texture. Upon purchasing one, I was tempted to throw it like a boomerang, but opted against it as I’m sure it would have gone over smashingly with the Old Jerusalem locals……
Jerusalem bagels in the Jewish Quarter

But what I most enjoyed was that in a region of such seeming religious conflict, here in Old Jerusalem, the Christians, Jews, and Muslims all lived together peacefully. And more importantly, it meant that the bagel shop was right across from the baklava.
Baklava shop in the Muslim Quarter

Religious trinkets for sale in the Christian Quarter

Arriving back in Tel Aviv, it was nearing the end of my stay, and to my delight the same goodies were left in my apartment yet again – goodies of home made baked goods from the owner Odelia. I felt like my mother was there inconspicuously baking for me each day. Of course I had to ask for the recipes, but to my delight Odelia generously offered to show me how to bake them in her home! A real Israeli baking experience!

Fresh baked goods served on a silver platter each morning.

Our apartment stay beat any hotel experience and is shared with you of my highest recommendation. Check out the Facebook page.

So off I went to her house to bake…

Baking with Odelia in her kitchen.

We made 3 recipes courtesy of Odelia! (Please note all measurements in grams)

Chocolate Poppyseed Sponge Cake

250g whipping cream (15% fat)
200g white chocolate
100g dark chocolate
100g soft butter
2 XL eggs
200g sugar
1 tsp baking powder
10g vanilla sugar
200g poppy seeds
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a heavy saucepan heat cream on high until gently bubbling. Break chocolate into small pieces and stir into cream to melt. Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat and add the butter and stir until all melted. Strain 1 cup of the chocolate mixture into a separate bowl and set aside (this will be to pour over the cake at the end.)

On high, whisk eggs until light and frothy and slightly stiff. Then add the sugar.

In the remaining melted chocolate mixture, combine the baking powder, vanilla sugar, then the poppy seeds. Finally stir in sieved flour.

Gently fold in the stiffened egg mixture to the chocolate mixture. Pour into paper baking containers (for where to buy the specific Israeli containers see here) until half full.

Bake for 15-20mins. In the end the cake should be like a sponge and will sink. Finally pour over the reserved chocolate mixture. Allow to cool and enjoy!


Almond Flour Shortbread

200g almond flour (try to get almond meal from almonds ground with skin on)
300g plain flour
100g powdered sugar
200g soft butter, cubed
10g baking powder

Preheat oven to 180C

Cream together butter and sugar. Add almond flour and mix on slow speed.

While mixing, sieve in 200g cup of regular flour then pulse in the baking powder.

Add another 100g of flour little by little to the mixture until it clumps together so that it is not sticky but not too dry.

Roll the dough on a floured surfaced to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies in desired shapes.

Bake for approx. 6mins.


Coconut Cake

100g whipping cream
125g oil
125g sugar
2 XL eggs
250g flour
10g baking powder
10g vanilla sugar
50g dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180C.

Before combining the ingredients, on high whisk 2 XL eggs until frothy and stiffened.

Combine cream, oil, and coconut flakes. Then add sugar, baking powder, vanilla sugar. Sieve flour into the mixture and combine.

Gently fold in the egg mixture to the batter.

Pour into 9″ cake tin. Now for the Odelia secret: once in the cake tin, grate dark chocolate into the mixture so you get lovely little specs of black against the coconut and gently combine.

Bake for 25-30mins.

During my stay, I kept noticing women wearing these dainty little bracelets and I suppose it was somewhat of a fashion trend in the city. So I couldn’t resist buying one with a throw back to the recurrent 90s trends as of late…

More to come on bakery visits and street style in Tel Aviv…



Founder Haute Appetite. @ElizabethMinett

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Haut Appétit is a digital lifestyle experience to discover Elizabeth Minett's personal style, dessert recipes, and beauty tips. A guide to satisfy an 'it' girl's appetite for life.


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