• Yarden Roman-Gat. Photo courtesy of the family.
    Yarden Roman-Gat. Photo courtesy of the family.
  • Chocolate Rugelach Cake. Photo: Adi Shilon.
    Chocolate Rugelach Cake. Photo: Adi Shilon.
  • Chocolate Rugelach Cake. Photo: Adi Shilon.
    Chocolate Rugelach Cake. Photo: Adi Shilon.
Recipe

Yarden Roman-Gat’s Chocolate Rugelach Cake

Their favorite dish: Yarden Roman-Gat loves chocolate in all its forms. Adi Shilon made a Rugelach cake in her honor, bursting with chocolate

Yarden is a mother, both to three-year-old Gefen and, in a certain way, to the whole family. She is head of the decoration, Shabbat and holiday committee. She is the one to make a ‘welcome’ sign and hang it on the door when someone comes back from a trip. Thanks to Yarden, there is no Friday without a family dinner, no Shabbat morning without jachnun and no holiday without a medley of holiday songs, which everyone knows and sings loudly. Yarden has a great reserve of empathy and love and gives from them generously wherever she goes. She is a physical therapist, and has a master’s degree in gerontology. She makes sure to teach those around her that “old” is really not an insult.

36-year-old Yarden and her partner, Alon, lived in Kibbutz Be’eri for the past three years, during which she formed a group uniting all the elders of the kibbutz. Not just a physical therapy group, but a group for support, companionship, loving discourse and mental exercises. Yarden got to know the kibbutz through the eyes and stories of her patients. About a month ago she left the kibbutz with her family due to the security concerns in the area. They flew to South Africa for a family adventure in a caravan.

Yarden loves to draw. It’s a hobby, that she uses mostly to give special gifts to family members. Paintings such as the one of the yard in the house where they grew up, of a mother working at her desk, or a landscape in her imagination. Yarden’s wonderful parallel world is in Stars-Hollow – she is a die-hard fan of Gilmore Girls and has seen the entire series several times. Every episode she watches is a treat, even if she isn’t sure what happened in the previous episode or what season it is.

Yarden is very connected to nature: as a child she was in a climbing club and even won the national championship in one of the competitions she participated in. When she was released from the army, she walked The Israel National Trail for three months, carrying everything she needed on her back. She passed on her love of nature to her daughter, Gefen, and teaches her the names of all the trees and flowers. Yarden also makes sure to teach Gefen all about the wonder that is chocolate. Yarden loves chocolate in all its forms and Gefen knows that a birthday means cake, specifically a cake bursting with chocolate.

Yarden Roman-Gat was kidnapped by Hamas on October 7th. Her sister-in-law, Carmel Gat, was also kidnapped and has not yet returned. After 54 days in captivity, Yarden was returned.

Rugelach cake for Yarden Roman-Gat

Ingredients for Chocolate Rugelach Cake

For the dough:

  • 3½ cups (415 grams) flour bread/pizza/challah
  • 2⅓ teaspoon (8 grams) Dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup (85 grams) Sugar
  • 7 oz (200 grams) sour cream
  • 2 eggs L
  • 3 oz (85 grams) butter very soft
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 pinch Salt

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) Cocoa Powder
  • 1¼ tablespoons (10 grams) cinnamon
  • a little more ground cardamom (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) Sugar
  • 5 tablespoons (75 grams) butter melted
  • chocolate chips to sprinkle, if desired
  • egg beaten, for brushing

For the syrup:

  • 1/3 cup (85 grams) water
  • scant 1/2 cup (85 grams) Sugar

Instructions

  • 1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix yeast and flour. Add in the rest of the dough ingredients and mix on low speed for about fifteen minutes, until the dough is soft, pleasant and elastic, and the mixer bowl is clean. Is the dough sticky? Add flour. Dry and crumbly? Add a little milk.

  • 2. Set aside to rise in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap, for about an hour and a half in a warm place or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • 3. Mix the filling ingredients together. The butter should be warm and runny and mixed in at the very last moment. Don't worry, the filling hardens quite quickly when you spread it on the dough.

  • 4. Roll the dough into a thin rectangle, spread the filling evenly over the surface, leaving clean edges. Fold the dough in half and press to seal. Roll out again into a rectangle, thin enough to see the filling through it.

  • 5. Cut into rectangles and those into triangles of the desired size. Stretch each triangle and roll while constantly tightening from the wide part to the narrow part. Place in a greased pan, preferably lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle chocolate chips between the rolls if you want, cover and leave to rise for half an hour in a warm place.

  • 6. Heat the oven to 340F (170C) degrees. Brush the cake with egg and bake for about 20 minutes until golden.

  • 7. Boil the sugar water and apply on the cake the second it comes out of the oven.

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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