September 21st, 2008

jewish apple cake

apple cake 6

if you take a look at all of the recipes i’ve made for this blog so far, i don’t think there’s one that you can’t eat for breakfast. apple cake is certainly no exception. in fact, it may be the perfect breakfast cake – it’s got apples and orange juice in it, so there are two servings of fruit right there. it’s also a great opportunity to use in-season apples, which just become all the more irresistible during the fall. and although the apples i bought were all about 2/3 the size of a normal apple (weird!) they didn’t stop this cake from tasting amazing.


apple cake 2

the first time i tried to make this cake, i failed horribly. it came out undercooked and bubbly. and despite putting it back in the oven for another 45 minutes, it still would not bake all the way through. i refused to blame it on the recipe and instead chalked it up to my wacky tiny oven (as seen in this post). undeterred, i took another crack at it and lo and behold: what came out of the oven was a thing of beauty. perfectly golden brown and infusing my apartment with apple.

apple cake 3

although i thought i had triumphed in the face of defeat, i quickly learned that it’s never too late for baking tragedy to strike. making a rookie mistake, i tried to remove the cake from the tube pan before it had completely cooled. to my horror, the following happened. any sensitive readers or children may want to turn away from the screen.

apple cake 5

thankfully, the cake still tastes unbelievable. enjoy, but don’t make the same mistake i did!

apple cake 7

jewish apple cake
you’ll see below that this cake is not quite kosher. if you want, you can substitute the butter for 3/4 cup oil. if you do, you also might consider adding a bit more sugar or beating the eggs until fluffy to keep the cake from getting dense.

3 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup orange juice
2 cups plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
3 tsp cinnamon
4 granny smith apples, cored, peeled and sliced

1. in a large bowl, beat the eggs. add the butter, 2 cups sugar, vanilla and mix. in a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder. add to the egg/butter mixture, alternating with the orange juice.

2. pour about 1/3 of the batter into a greased and floured tube pan. lay down about a 1/3 of the sliced apples, fanning them out to cover the entire layer of batter. top with a bit of the mix of 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon.

3. reapeat this until you have run out of batter and apples. the top of the cake should have a layer of apples, cinnamon and sugar. bake at 350F for 1 hour. cool for a short time before loosening the sides with a knife. allow to cool completely before removing the cake completely from the pan.

41 Comments for jewish apple cake - why not leave some love?

  1. sara angel says:

    i am so eager for fall to get here. i think i’m going to use this recipe to celebrate when it does 🙂 looks great!

  2. Renee says:

    This looks perfect for morning coffee! I plan to bake it this week.

  3. Maggie says:

    The slices look delicious! Getting cakes out of the pan is always tricky business.

  4. Awesome, just in time for the holy days!

  5. Annie says:

    Looks great. I love apple cakes and have two different ones already. I will have to try this. Even though it broke on you, the crumb looks really moist and yummy. Bookmarked!

  6. pat says:

    wow that sounds like a cake my husbands grandma made years ago.. I used to make it a lot.. will need to check the recipe against yours.. is it a Pennsylvania recipe?

  7. Olga says:

    Hi, neighbor.
    I’ve made a simpler version of this cake for years. The recipe comes from my mom and it is fool proof. In fact, you don’t even have to use a specialized pan: you can even bake it in a meatloaf pan.

  8. Your warm cake photo is too funny, but I bet it tasted amazing!

  9. Joe says:

    I love the pictures and your blog. I will be back for more. Found you on foodgawker!

  10. Lisetta says:

    i made a similar version of jewish apple cake tonight. it literally JUST came out of the oven, at 12:35 am. i want to go to bed and was thinking of flipping it out of the bundt pan early. your pic tells me, however, that i should stay awake a while longer. thanks! i will try your recipe.

  11. Phil says:

    What’s not kosher? Eggs are pareve, you can mix either meat or dairy with them, just not both. A cake with butter and eggs isn’t traif, just milchig. You couldn’t serve it after a meal with meat, but who eats dessert right after a meal anyway?

  12. Hi Pete.
    Found your nice blog on photograzing……
    will be making your Jewish apple cake tomorrow w/ the apples I picked today!
    The cake is kosher, however, the reason they call it a “Jewish” apple cake is because oil is used instead of butter, so you are able to serve it with a meat meal.
    I would eat this instead of meat anyday!

  13. jo says:

    this cake looks so delicious and moist!

  14. Diana says:

    Hey Pete,
    I stumbled across your website several months ago, and I love checking out all of your recipes. This is the first one I’ve tried, and so far it smells delicious! I’m making it to take to my mom’s for Rosh Hashanah!


  15. […] ~ Jewish Apple Cake Laura Rebecca’s Kitchen ~ Cinnamon Apple Cake Noble Pig ~ Butterscotch Apple […]

  16. Diana says:

    Posting again with an update!

    This cake looked and tasted amazing. I can’t wait to share it with my mom. I hope you don’t mind, but I posted the recipe on my (newly-created) blog.

  17. Googlegoof says:

    I had the perfect recipe I baked for years and loved it…and lost it! I’m going to try yours today for Rosh Hashanah. I tried a few other recipes and they have been too dense. I’m hoping your recipe (butter instead of oil) will be just perfect. Thanks for the hint!

  18. Ruth says:

    Thanks Pete,

    I live aboard my boyfriends sailing boat and want to make him an apple cake for his birthday today. Will be cooking up a storm in my little galley. His mother arrives tomorrow from the UK (not met her yet)Hopefully my cake baking skills will gain me a few browny points. Wish me luck!

  19. elizabeth says:

    Pete, we made the jewish apple cake last night, did not turn out the way we planned, but v tasty, and we’ll try again!!
    thank you for very organized, and simple recipies!

  20. Helen says:

    I made this for Thanksgiving and it turned out so well! I ate half the cake the day after so thanks for posting a great recipe.

  21. Dave says:

    I did try it with oil, for the real jewish/kosher experience, and it turned out great (I added some orange peel too)

    Oh, and it only gets better after 3 to 5 days, believe me!

  22. Ashley says:

    This cake smells amazing! Only problem I had was…I cooked it an hour, and it’s still not cooked completely. High altitude help needed!!! :0) However, it still tastes wonderful.

  23. Jay says:

    I have made a similar recipe for years and it is always popular with Jews and “goyim” alike. I got my recipe from an old lady that went to our synagogue when I was a child; I was into cooking even then. The main differences I see are that my recipe uses 1 cup of vegetable oil (instead of butter) and less orange juice (1/3 cup). The sliced apples ( 2 1/2 pounds) are mixed with 1/3 cup honey and a tablespoonful of cinnamon before layering with the batter and I sometimes add pecan or walnuts to the apple layers. It cooks for about 1 1/2 hours. I sometimes make a carmel sauce to glaze it with, but since the carmel is made with butter and cream, the cake is no longer parve (not that it matters to me!).

  24. hi,
    love your photos and recipe choices- what a super blog,
    A Fellow Baker

  25. Heather Briney says:

    Love the Recipe, made it last night for friends and it turned out amazing. My grandfather used to make this type of apple cake all the time and yours tastes just like i remember from my childhood. I was so upset when his recipe was lost after his death but now i can make this and think of him often and continue his tradition from here forward. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  26. Jeff says:

    This recipe rocks. Made it here in Quito, Ecuador at 9,000 feet, reducing only the leavening by 75%, got a moist, rich, dense crumb. The cake gets better after the first day, as the apples make it nice and moist. I’m going to try it using apple chunks next time around to see if I can’t get more apples more evenly distributed throughout the cake. This is going into my keepers file. Thanks!

  27. kitty says:

    I tried out this recipe and it was amazing. I am so impressed with it. My husband loved it, as did our friends. I’m definitely making this again. Thank you so much for posting this. It was so delicious with a cup of fresh coffee. Absolute bliss. And now that it’s Autumn, it’s more than welcoming having a slice of apple cake to munch on whilst the leaves turn golden red outdoors. A lovely cake for the New Year.

  28. Rose + Sarah says:

    Sarah made this and it tasted like HEAVEN. This is especially good with some coffee and vanilla icecream. Yummy! Thanks Pete!

  29. Shelley says:

    Love your blog! I plan on trying many of your recipes. This one is almost the exact same apple cake recipe that was my grandmother’s – when I bake it for my mother she feels like her mother is in the room. Our recipe calls for 3/4 cup of oil which makes it easy & quick- also I sue a 9×13 pan for it & sometimes serve it from the pan so there isn’t ever a problem getting it out of the pan.

  30. Jojo says:

    Why do some bloggers think they need to post pointless pictures with their recipes?

    Yes, digital photography is easy and that may be the reason these bloggers HAVE NO SELF CONTROL!

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, why not make those words SAY SOMETHING MEANINGFUL OR HELPFUL??!!

    • Lou says:

      Geeeez chill out! If you don’t want to see these “pointless” pictures, here’s an easy solution…don’t go on food blogs! Personally I like seeing the step by step process. Stop hatin JoJo.

  31. Jessica says:

    I made this cake last night at my husband’s request (he was begging, really). It smelled awesome while cooking, and looked beautiful in the bundt pan when I took it out of the oven after exactly one hour. I let it cool for what seemed forever, and it was cool to the touch, but still mine ended up more mangled than yours! Oops! Didn’t matter though, it was so delicious I don’t think anyone will care how it looks…he was calling it Apple Crumb Cake. It was funny, but again, so yummy. I will definately make this again, soon!

  32. Elinoar says:

    What makes this cake a Jewish one?

    • Jay says:

      It is traditional Jewish cake and similar recipes can be found in Jewish cookbooks. Most of the time the cake are made with oil rather than butter so that it can be eaten with meat meals. Jewish kosher laws prohibit eating dairy with a meat meal.

      • Elinoar says:

        Tell me about it, me being Jewish myself and living in Israel 🙂

        All jewish (ashkenasi) cakes are adopted from german and around. Poland etc…..
        There is no one significant sign that this cake is Jewish. although it can served as one.

        Not all jewish people keeps the kosher law either.


        • Jay says:

          I am also Jewish and went to college in Israel (Hebrew University of Jerusalem- Mt. Scopus) for 3 years.

          I don’t doubt that many traditionally Jewish recipes are derived from other recipes from areas in which they live, however this particular recipe seems to always show up in Jewish cookbooks and never in German ones.

          I don’t keep kosher at all however my great-grandparents did. I suppose that kosher was more the rule in the past even in relatively secular families. It was just a traditional way of eating. The apple cake (made with oil) allowed it to be parve which I think most cakes are not.

          • Elinoar says:

            I dont want to have any w you. I just mention that this cake had no jewish significant whatsoever and it can be served for Jewish or as you said it yourself……….” The apple cake (made with oil) allowed it to be parve which I think most cakes are not………….”

            you have great blog BTW.


            p.s. – I think all jewish bloger shoulf be united under one umbrella :-)))))

  33. Since I wrote a book called A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, you can imagine how many apple cakes I’ve created, baked and ate. Yet the photo of your apple cake inspires me anew.
    So many apples, so many apple cake recipes, so little time.
    Better start peeling.

  34. Michael Majgaard says:

    Hey guys,

    To my luck my first try was a GREAT SUCCESS 😀 Then yesterday I wanted to bake it for my birthday to day and I failed big time.. Just the opposite of Pete’s first try..
    What is the reason for the under undercook problem?


  35. falling apart or not, that’s a gorgeous looking/sounding cake!
    Adding that to my pile of must tries!

  36. Fibie says:

    Wow! This cake is absolutely decadent. It looked different than your picture, but tasted so sinfully good. I even took pictures for show and tell. Thanks Pete, I think I’m ready to open my own bakery now! (hee hee).

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