Brooklyn-based restaurant takes the cake
Gertrude’s award-winning seven-layer cake is likely a nod to classic black and white cookies.
(Photo: BrillLyle via Wikimedia Commons)

Its design is likely a nod to the classic Jewish black-and-white cookie

JNS Staff Report
December 28, 2023

A black-and-white, seven-layer cake from Gertrude’s, a restaurant that serves “Jew-ish cuisine” in Brooklyn, N.Y., is one of the city’s “Top 8” dishes, according to The New York Times.

Gertrude’s, in the Prospect Heights neighborhood, is the second Brooklyn-based restaurant from owner Nate Adler, and his wife and business partner, Rachel Jackson. According to its website, the menu was inspired by the owners’ “shared love for iconic New York restaurants, Jew-ish cuisine and the vibrant atmosphere found in European bistros.”

In his 2023 dining roundup, reporter Pete Wells laid out the eight things he ate that year that “I’d go back and eat again any day of the week” and the item—with its alternating layers of yellow and chocolate cake with frosting and a chocolate ganache—was the sole dessert on the list.

“Many liberties have been taken since Hungarian Jews carried the recipe for Dobos torte,” a multilayered sponge cake layered with chocolate cream, “across the Atlantic. Gertrude’s monumental version, almost as dense and moist as pudding cake, alternates chocolate and yellow layers like piano keys,” Wells wrote.

The only drawback, he said, was that he counted “six layers on this seven-layer cake.”

“On the other hand,” he continued, “there are two frostings … let’s just call it even.”

Its design is likely a nod to the classic black-and-white cookie found in nearly every Jewish bakery, in which a cake-like cookie is topped half with white frosting and half with chocolate frosting.

Though the cookie is not served at Gertrude’s, it is available at Adler and Jackson’s other Brooklyn restaurant, Gertie. That establishment, a bit more casual, is intended, according to its website, to be a place where you can sit and catch up with friends like you would at “grandma’s.”

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