Everyone knows that cupcakes and cookies have been a fashionable and ubiquitous staple of New York and other international cities for quite some time now. While the Magnolia Bakery craze and its myriad successful copycats made red velvet cupcakes as American as apple pie, the trend hasn’t exactly swept the Jewish state. Yet the status quo is slowly starting to change thanks to an influx of English-speaking expat bakers who are eager to bring the tastes of home to Tel Aviv. Check out some of the game-changing bakeries offering the best cookies and cupcakes in the White City.
The minute you step into Café Xoho, you know you’re in for an eclectic treat. Featuring a spacious terrace area with colorful painted chairs, and an interior with handmade mosaic tile tables, and art made by friends, family, and the owners themselves, this is a true DIY operation. Café Xoho is owned by a motley crew of Anglo friends who take pride in baking piles of fresh cookies in house every morning, including gluten-free and vegan options. Highlights include the ice cream cookie sandwiches with different fillings, and the chewy chocolate chip cookies with chunks of rock salt. Everything is made from scratch using only pure, seasonal ingredients and a lot of love.
Located in the new Sarona Market complex near Azrieli Center, Cookie Bucket offers 70 varieties of cookies produced fresh every day in Tel Aviv. The concept is simple: take a small or large bucket, and fill it to the brim with whichever mix you’d like. Unlike other bakeries on this list, Cookie Bucket is more oriented to the Israeli consumer. They deliver variety, quality, and value – knowing that no real Israeli would want to be a freier (sucker) and pay top dollar for a single artisan cookie. Grab yourself a big bucket, preferably to be shared among friends, and load up on tasty options such as the mini elephant ears, chocolate chip, and halva-filled cookies. Additionally, Cookie Bucket offers a delicious range of meringue ‘kisses,’ from strawberry to mocha to pistachio and more.
Luckily for expats and visitors craving Magnolia Bakery, Red Velvet offers the solution in the form of cupcakes that will match your expectations. Be sure to bring your Israeli friends for an authentic taste of the American craze. This is the real deal – fresh, moist cupcakes with perfectly balanced flavors such as peanut butter cream, vanilla Nutella, carrot, and, if you had any doubts, the eponymous red velvet. Red Velvet’s commitment to constantly whipping up creative seasonal recipes means you’ll have an excuse to make another trip. With recent creations ranging from inverted cupcake sandwiches to honey cupcakes for Rosh Hashana, there’s always something new in store at this delightful American-style bakery.
With a chic vintage bakery vibe, and classic checkerboard floors reminiscent of Glaser’s, Magnolia, and other famous New York institutions, Nola American Bakery truly lives up to its name. There is plenty of outdoor patio seating, and an adorable shaded garden in the back, but the interior décor is so charming, you won’t want to leave it. The recipes are inspired by owner Talya Rasner’s American roots and her mom’s cookbooks, and she specializes in catering to American expats nostalgic for their favorite childhood treats. As would be expected, bestsellers include chocolate chip cookies and cakes, vanilla frosting cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles, and chocolate mint cupcakes. And, while not cookie or cupcake related, Nola’s real American bagels are must-haves.
Ice cream sandwiches, a long time favorite of Americans, have arrived in Tel Aviv in the form of Cookeez. The concept is simple but delicious: choose any two cookies (in flavors such as cream cheese chocolate chip, double chocolate, and much more), and then choose the ice cream to go between (whether it’s classic vanilla or chocolate, or something more adventurous, such as mascarpone, banana fudge, or their signature cookie dough). Ayal Mor, the California born-and-bred owner, has all the cookies and ice cream made fresh in the store every day. With delicious sugar-free and vegan options also available, this place caters to a diverse range of preferences. Cookeez has grown so popular that it opened up a second branch this summer on the corner of Allenby and Rothschild.