This Jewish apple cake is an incredibly moist cake that is loaded with chunks of sweet apples and a hint of orange zest. It is perfect for any occasion.
Apple cake is a perfect dessert for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. It is a tradition to eat sweet apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize the sweetness of a new year. Or rather, the anticipation of a sweet new year.
Is This Jewish Apple Cake Really Jewish?
The original recipe for this apple cake came from a very old church cookbook. The irony is that it is a Catholic book and not Jewish.
Since this apple cake is made with oil instead of butter, it is classified as pareve, (a food that has neither meat or dairy). That means it does conform to Jewish dietary regulations, and can be served with dairy or meat based meals.
Why You Will Love This Apple Cake Recipe
One of the things that makes this apple cake so special is its flavor and ease of preparation, meaning you don’t have to be a chef, it’s a perfect beginning bakers recipe! The combination of sweet apples and spices is simply irresistible. The cake is also very moist, thanks to the addition of applesauce and oil.
- Easy to make. This recipe is super easy to make. Prepare the apples layer with the cake batter, and bake.
- Moist and tender crumb. The fresh grated and diced apples combined with the oil and honey create a dense, moist tender cake crumb.
- Budget friendly. The ingredients to make this Jewish apple cake are usually on hand, and very inexpensive, making this a perfect any time dessert.
- Festive. Whether you are serving it as a pareve dessert for Rosh Hashanah, as a fall Oktoberfest dessert, or simply as a treat at during a coffee break, this cake is always welcome.
A Delicious Spin On Classic Apple Cake
The original recipe did not call for honey but honey is such a natural fit for a Jewish apple cake. We replaced a bit of granulated sugar with some honey and just love the results. Honey is such a flavor powerhouse and depending on the type of honey you use, you can tweak the flavor.
Here are a few other changes I made to the original version:
- First, since we are using honey in this recipe, we reduced the oven temperature to 325°F. Honey will make baked goods brown quicker so reducing the oven will compensate for that. If you choose to eliminate the honey then increase the temperature to 350°F.
- A second change I made to the recipe was to decrease the amount of oil a bit. The original recipe was just too oily. I wanted to taste the fresh apple cake, not the oil.
- And finally, the third change I made was the addition of orange zest in the cake batter and an orange drizzle icing for the top.
The result is a beautifully moist, fresh, and delightful Jewish apple cake. It is a good thing apples are available all year because you will want to make this cake ALL THE TIME.
Ingredients For Our Jewish Apple Cake Recipe
Here is a quick shopping list of the groceries you will need to make this amazing apple cake. If you keep your pantry stocked well, you probably already have most of these items. Just cross off the items that you already have in your pantry.
The best part about adding honey to the cake is that it helps the apple cake stay fresh and moist longer. Not that this cake is going to last very long. People are going to go back for seconds and gobble this cake up in a flash.
- Produce: Apples (peel and dice the apples), orange, and lemon (for the juice).
- Spices: Cinnamon, allspice
- Sweetener: Granulated sugar, honey, powdered sugar.
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Flour – All purpose.
- Leavening: Baking powder and baking soda.
The only things I had to grab at the grocery store were some apples, an orange, and some honey.
Scan down to the recipe card for all the measurements and instructions to make this apple cake.
How To Make This Jewish Apple Cake
Before you start, prepare a bundt pan or tube cake pan with shortening or non stick spray, and preheat your oven. Then peel and dice the apples and mix them with the sugar and spices.
Here is a quick overview so you can get an idea of how easy this recipe is to make. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the details.
- Mix Wet and Dry Ingredients: Combine the wet ingredients in a bowl then sift the dry ingredients over the top and stir until well combined.
- Layer Batter and Apples: Begin layering by adding a cup of batter, then a cup of apples, and repeat, finishing with a layer of batter on top.
- Bake and Cool: Bake for 1 to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature in the pan.
- Prepare and Apply Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth. Add more juice for a thinner glaze if desired. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
Apple Cake Serving Suggestions
Serve this moist Jewish apple coffee cake by itself, when you’re entertaining guests, with other holiday Jewish food, or as a snack. You can bake this Jewish apple dessert in a bundt cake, in a 9×13 inch baking pan, or in two 4×7 loaf pans. It’s a fast and easy apple dessert any time of the year, but is especially popular as a finish to a September or October Jewish Rosh Hashanah family dinner.
Additional menu ideas for a Rosh Hashanah dinner could include Chicken Noodle Soup, Roasted Baby Potatoes, a fabulous Whole Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, vegetable sides such as Honey Roasted Carrots with Sage, Steamed Green Beans, and a mixed greens salad like our Pomegranate Pear Salad, accompanied with No-Knead Rosemary Bread on the side.
Other Apple Recipes You Might Love
- Applesauce Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping
- Apple Empanadas
- Apple Slab Pie Recipe
- Apple Ginger Muffins
- Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
Tips for Success
- Instead of all-purpose flour, you can use gluten-free flour or whole wheat flour in the recipe.
- Make mini apple cakes by baking the batter in a muffin pan, mini bundt cakes pan, two loaf pans, or a 9×13 pan.
- The most common spices used in Jewish apple cake are cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. You can also add other spices, such as ginger, cloves, or cardamom when you make this popular Jewish cake.
- Instead of apples, you can use diced pears or a combination of pears and apples.
- You can use apple pie spice instead off the individual spices.
- Use fresh apples. Fresh apples will have the best flavor and texture. We used diced apples, but thinly sliced apples is common to use in this recipe also.
- Use a light or mild tasting oil and honey so the the flavors don’t over power the apple flavor.
- Don’t overmix the batter. Overmixing the can make the cake tough.
- Cool the apple cake before glazing.
Variations to This Jewish Apple Dessert
Here are some Jewish apple cakes with delicious twists that infuse them with exciting new flavors.
Easy Apple Cranberry Walnut Cake:
- Mix in 1 cup of dried cranberries and 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts into the batter. You can also simplify things by folding the apples into the batter instead of layering them.
Maple Pecan Jewish Apple Bundt Cake:
- Follow the original recipe, but swap the honey for pure maple syrup and add 1/2 cup of chopped pecans to the batter.
- For the glaze, swap the orange juice for maple syrup.
Jewish Apple Spice Cake with Ginger:
- Add a teaspoon of cardamom and 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger to the apple cinnamon mixture. Fold 1/3 cup of chopped, candied ginger into the batter.
- Jewish apple cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- If you are storing the apple cake at room temperature, be sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or foil to prevent it from drying out. If you are storing the cake in the refrigerator, you can either wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container.
- To freeze Jewish apple cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then foil. Place the wrapped cake in a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to thaw the cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
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Some pieces of equipment you may find useful when making this Jewish apple cake recipe:
Frequently Asked Questions
The best type of apples for Jewish apple cake are sweet and tart apples, such as Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Braeburn.
It’s up to you whether or not to peel the apples.
You can either grate or slice the apples. If you grate them, you’ll have a more cake-like texture. If you slice them, you’ll have a more chunky texture.
Yes, you can add other ingredients to your apple cake, such as raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips.
We used a bundt cake pan, but you can also use a tube pan. You can also bake in two loaf pans, or even in mini bundt pans, but you will need to adjust the baking time.
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FOR THE APPLES
- 6 apples, peeled and diced (2-1/2 pounds)
- 1/4 cup sugar (50 grams)
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon allspice
FOR THE CAKE
- 1-3/4 cup granulated sugar (350 grams)
- 1/4 cup honey (85 grams)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (360 grams)
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 cup powdered sugar (113 grams)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- Pre-heat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan or a 10-inch tube pan (or spray the pan with non-stick spray)
- Mix the diced apples with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and allspice. Set them aside while you prepare the batter.
- In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, honey, eggs, oil, orange juice, orange zest and vanilla.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the wet mixture and stir until combined.
- Spread about a cup of the batter into the pan then top it with a cup of the apples. Repeat this several more times, alternating layers of apples and batter, ending with a layer of batter on the top.
- Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.
- minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool down to room temperature before removing it from the pan. To remove the cake, slide a thin spatula or knife around the edges of the pan then invert it on a serving platter and slip off the pan.
Make the glaze:
- Combine the powdered sugar and the orange juice in a small bowl and whisk it until it is smooth. If you want a thinner glaze add a smidgen more juice.
- Drizzle the glaze over the cake.
- Make sure you use a 12-cup bundt pan. A smaller bundt pan will not fit all the batter for this cake. Since the batter is thick, you can use an angel food pan with a removable bottom, just make sure it is 10 inches in diameter.
- If you do not use honey in the cake batter then increase the sugar to 2 cups and increase the oven temperature to 350°F and only bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes. The oven temperature needs to be a bit lower if you use honey because honey will make the cake brown faster.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 376Total Fat: 11.5gSaturated Fat: 1.6gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 3gSugar: 46gProtein: 3.8g