Catherine shares with us Tora’s Apple Cake, which has a rich sponge base, lightly spiced with cinnamon and topped with slices of tart cooking apple. You can either make this as a quick throw-it-together dessert, or take your time to carefully arrange the apple slices for a show-stopping appearance. Either way, it really is an easy treat to prepare – the hardest part will be peeling and chopping the apples!
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing Kosher recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
Tell us about yourself, Catherine Lenson!
I work in growth capital, investing in technology companies. I’m a married mum of two (aged 9 and 7) based in Totteridge, North London, where I am a member of my shul board and a trustee for a prominent UK Jewish charity. I’ve been on a personal health journey over recent years and love finding ways to cook delicious food that’s healthy and nourishing for family and friends. I’m obsessed with my Peloton and it’s made a huge difference to my enjoyment of exercise.
I travel extensively for work and pleasure, and we love to spend our vacation time in Miami. I love to be outdoors – dog-walking, hiking, or just sitting with a book in the sunshine. I’m an avid reader and managed to read 82 books last year having set myself a target to increase my reading. I like to track my reading online via my profile on Goodreads, take a look!
I lived in Italy in my 20s and Italian food is probably still my all-time go-to. My favorite meal would be a Farfalle con salmone e piselli, which we order at the local Italian restaurant in our neighborhood in Miami. Perfect food + that vacation feeling = can’t be beaten.
Find Catherine online:
@catherine_lenson on Instagram
@CatherineLenson on Twitter
Tell us about your passion project
I’m passionate about ensuring that more female entrepreneurs have a chance to get their business ideas funded. I run a program which aims to provide diverse founders with the capital, connections and content they need to be able to scale their businesses. I love the opportunity to see these incredible companies at the very beginning, and am hopeful that many of them become household names in the next few years.
Tell us about your connection with Judaism. How is it expressed in your life in general, and in your kitchen?
My Jewish family arrived in the UK in the early 1700s and are one of the oldest Jewish families in the country. Although I’m halachically Jewish, I grew up in a non-practising home. It wasn’t until I went to university that I started to learn more about the religion and culture, and to identify more strongly with it. Over the last twenty years and through my marriage, I’ve engaged in huge amounts of learning to fill the knowledge gaps that came from not being exposed to the culture growing up. For me, food has been an important way to make old traditions new for my own family, and I love to cook Jewish dishes from all different heritages.
How do you express your values in your home through your kitchen?
I’ve been on a health journey in the last few years. I lost 30kg and have transformed the way I think about food. We try to eat meat-free on a couple of days a week and to find a balanced way of eating in general. We love to entertain, but I’m not interested in spending hours in the kitchen, so I’m all about the quickest way to get something delicious on the table. No shame here!
What is the best thing you learned from another person about food and hospitality?
From a Mizrachi friend: if all the food on your table is gone at the end of the meal, you didn’t make enough food!
What three food items could you not live without?
Challah, tuna mayo, chicken schnitzel (so basic!)
What is your best food tip?
Menu plan. Plan ahead for the week’s food and do the shopping in one go (and as much meal prep as you can in one go). Saves rooting around in the freezer trying to find something to eat at the end of a long day.
What are your 2-3 go-to cookbooks?
Any of the four cookbooks by Sabrina Ghayour and Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (of Honey & Co).
Honey & Co is an exceptional Israeli-style restaurant in London.
This book shares delicious recipes including:
- Jerusalem sesame bread filled with harissa and lemon chicken
- Saffron-poached pears with walnut tahini
- fish pastille, among many more.
My all-time favorite Indian restaurant is called Dishoom, and they now have 8 branches all over the UK!
Dishoom share how to make some of their stunning dishes, including:
- Black Daal
- Okra Frie
- Jackfruit Biryani
- Masala Chai
What makes this book so special is it’s not just a recipe book – it’s full of photos and feels like taking a tour of south Bombay.
Tell us the story of Tora’s Apple Cake
I was first served this apple cake back in the early 2000s by a Norwegian friend who got the recipe from her mother. Although I love to cook, I’m not a very patient baker – I don’t like the precision science of it! – but this apple cake is foolproof and I roll it out whenever I need a quick bake. It’s lovely warm with creme fraiche or cream, but equally nice cold.Print
1 cup sugar
½ cup milk or cream
Few drops of lemon juice
1.5 cups plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 large cooking apples
1–2 tsp cinnamon (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar.
- Place the butter and milk/cream together in a pan and bring to the boil. Add the lemon juice and mix.
- Whilst still warm, whisk the butter, milk/cream and lemon mixture into the egg and sugar.
- To this mix, add the plain flour, baking powder and vanilla essence. Stir to combine.
- Add the mix to a round cake tin, sprinkle lots of cinnamon over it, then add the peeled and sliced apples on top.
- Drizzle more cinnamon and sugar on top
- Bake for 30 mins at 200 degrees.
Keywords: apple cake, dessert
More Community Recipes
Jewish Food Hero’s Community Recipes feature is a space for us all to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. This is an easy and fun way to get new meal ideas and learn about each other. Since you’ve read Catherine’s recipe, do you feel inspired to share your Kosher recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your recipe too!
Check out these other recipes from our community: