apple cake on white plate with gold fork on table

Deliciously Sweet Apple Cake for Rosh Hashanah: A Family Recipe

Apple cake for Rosh Hashanah isn't just a dessert; it's a tradition that embodies the sweet promise of the New Year. In this guide, we'll uncover the cultural significance of apple cake during this festival and walk you through Aunt Jane's beloved family recipe. Discover how to pick the best apples and master the art of baking a delectable cake that captures the essence of Rosh Hashanah.

Key Takeaways

  • Jewish Apple Cake is a Rosh Hashanah tradition symbolizing a sweet New Year, blending family heritage and culinary delight - a festive treat enjoyed year-round.
  • Choosing the right apples, like tart Granny Smiths or sweet Honeycrisps, and mastering the apple slice thickness can significantly elevate the cake's flavor profile and texture.
  • Customizing the Jewish Apple Cake to suit various dietary needs and personal tastes, by experimenting with gluten-free flours or creative icing options, allows everyone to partake in this sweet tradition.

the best jewish apple cake

Celebrating Rosh Hashanah with Jewish Apple Cake

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, offers an opportunity for celebration and reflection. Sweetening these moments with a delicious apple cake enhances the experience. The Jewish Apple Cake extends beyond being a delightful treat, symbolizing hope for a sweet year ahead as part of a tradition passed down through generations. As the seasons transition and apples reach their peak ripeness, the Jewish Apple Cake captures the essence of this special holiday. Can you imagine a more delightful way to ring in the New Year?

The apple cake signifies more than taste, it's a tradition fostering connections among families, friends, and communities. It's a culinary ritual, a time for families to come together, share stories, and create memories over a slice of this delicious cake. Each bite is a testament to the power of tradition and the joy of sharing.

The Jewish Apple Cake, while a Rosh Hashanah staple, also serves as a bridge between old and new, tradition and innovation, while blending the sweetness of the past with the promise of the future. This cake is perfect for celebrating Rosh Hashanah, and it can also be enjoyed throughout the year.

The Tradition Behind the Cake

The Jewish Apple Cake is steeped in tradition. As a dessert served during Rosh Hashanah, it symbolizes a sweet start to the New Year. But the cake isn't just about symbolism, it's about experience. The process of preparing the cake, the aroma that fills the kitchen as it bakes, and the joy of sharing it with loved ones - all these elements form a beloved tradition that's as much a part of Rosh Hashanah as the cake itself.

This cake represents more than a dessert. It carries a story, tradition, and a piece of heritage passed down from generation to generation. It’s about family, heritage, and the bonds that food can create. It’s the taste of tradition, the sweet promise of a new year, and the warmth of family all baked into one delicious cake.

Aunt Jane's Legacy

The story of our Jewish Apple Cake recipe begins with Aunt Jane, a woman known for her culinary skills and her big heart. Aunt Jane was famous in our family for her Jewish Apple Cake, a recipe that quickly became a family favorite. Her magic ingredient? Her tiny little hands. They measured the ingredients, mixed the batter, and crafted a cake so delicious it could only be the result of love and tradition.

Aunt Jane was more than just an amazing baker. She was a pillar of strength, a beacon of resilience, and a testament to the power of giving back. She devoted much of her life to volunteering, helping the mentally handicapped and supporting her local community hospital. Her legacy lives on, not just in her delicious apple cake, but in her spirit of charity and community.

Apple and honey spread for Rosh Hashanah

Selecting the Perfect Apples

Naturally, apples are the star ingredient in any apple cake. The choice of apples can significantly influence your cake’s outcome. For our Jewish Apple Cake, we recommend tart Granny Smith apples to balance out the sugar in the cake recipe. But don’t stop there! By incorporating a mix of Granny Smith, Gala, or Honeycrisp apples, you can introduce additional flavors and textures into the cake.

The key is to choose apples that are firm-tart or firm-sweet like:

  • Esopus Spitzenburg
  • Northern Spy
  • Pink Pearl
  • Pink Lady
  • Ginger Gold
  • Golden Delicious
  • Honeycrisp

These apples maintain their structure during baking, ensuring a perfect texture in your cake. So, the next time you’re in the produce aisle, don’t just grab any apples. Choose with care, because the best apple cake starts with the best apples!

Keep in mind, the apple cake’s appeal doesn’t lie solely in the apples, but in the balance of flavors they contribute. So, take a moment to think about the taste profile you want in your cake. Do you prefer a tart kick to contrast the sweetness of the cake? Or do you prefer a sweeter profile to complement the other ingredients? The choice is yours!

Tart vs. Sweet: Balancing Flavors

Flavor balancing is an art, especially in apple cake, where the interplay between tart and sweet is the key. The tartness of Granny Smith apples juxtaposed with the sweetness of the cake provides a flavor profile that is both balanced and intriguing. 

But why limit yourself to one type of apple? Mixing tart and sweet apple varieties can create a well-rounded flavor profile for the cake. The contrast between tart apples like Granny Smith and sweeter varieties is key to achieving the perfect taste in apple cake. So, don’t be afraid to mix and match your apples. After all, variety is the spice of life!

Slicing Apples for Optimal Texture

After choosing your apples, the next step is slicing them. The way you slice your apples can significantly affect your apple cake's texture. Thinner slices can disintegrate during the baking process, while thicker slices may lead to uneven baking. So what's the solution? Aim for uniform slices to ensure even baking and a perfect texture every times.

But there's more to slicing apples than just getting the right thickness. To keep your sliced apples from browning, toss them in lemon juice or vinegar right after slicing. And remember, a sharp knife is essential for clean cuts to preserve the texture of your apples. So slice with care, because your apple slices are not just ingredients, but the stars of your cake!

Making jewish apple cake with chopped apple, batter and spring form pan

Crafting the Ultimate Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

Having covered the basics, we now proceed to the main task – creating the ultimate Jewish Apple Cake. Our recipe, handed down from Aunt Jane, is a treasure trove of flavors and textures, a testament to the power of simplicity and tradition.

The process starts with mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately. This includes sifting together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt, and whisking together oil, eggs, honey, vanilla, and orange juice. Then comes the exciting part – layering the batter and apples in the pan! This ensures that every slice of cake is studded with tender, juicy apples.

Baking the Jewish Apple Cake is a labor of love, but the results are worth it. After about 60 minutes in the oven, you’ll have a cake that’s perfectly golden and irresistibly moist. But the true beauty of this cake lies not just in its taste, but in the joy it brings to those who share it.

Ingredients You'll Need

The charm of the Jewish Apple Cake is inherent in its ingredients. The main players are:

  • Granny Smith Apples
  • Sugar
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt 
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Orange Juice
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Eggs

These essentials come together to create the classic flavor of Jewish Apple Cake.

But there’s room for creativity too! For extra flavor, you can add lemon juice to the apples and sprinkle granulated sugar before baking to enhance the cake’s sweetness. Every ingredient, from the tart apples to the sweet orange juice, plays a role in creating a cake that’s truly special.

Mixing and Baking

With your ingredients at the ready, you can begin the mixing and baking process. Begin by layering the chopped apples with the cake batter in your pan, ensuring fruit is distributed throughout the cake. This step is key to achieving that delicious apple flavor in every bite!

Now, it’s time to bake your cake to perfection. Start by baking at 330 degrees F for about 60 minutes. For the last 10 minutes of baking, increase the temperature to 350. This helps firm up the cake and gives it that beautiful golden color.

Remember, good things take time, and the Jewish Apple Cake is no exception!

dry ingredients and wet ingredients in respective bowls, just before mixing

Customizing Your Jewish Apple Cake

One of the appealing aspects of baking is its allowance for creativity and customization. The Jewish Apple Cake is also exceptional! It’s no different than the others. From adding nuts and berries to experimenting with different types of honey, there are countless ways to make this cake your own.

Consider adding pecans or walnuts for an extra crunch, or incorporate berries for a fresh, fruity contrast. And don’t forget about the honey! Different types of honey, from clover to manuka, can add unique flavors to your honey cake.

But the customization doesn’t stop there. You can also experiment with different flours, such as almond or whole wheat, to create your own unique flour mixture and change the cake’s consistency. And for a decadent finish, consider drizzling a brown butter or caramel sauce on top.

So get creative and make this cake your own!

Add-Ins for Extra Flavor

Considering adding extra flavor to your Jewish Apple Cake? Consider incorporating nuts or berries into your cake. Not only do they add a delightful crunch or burst of flavor, but they also introduce an extra layer of texture that makes every bite even more enjoyable.

If you’re looking for a natural sweetener, consider using maple syrup or applesauce in place of refined sugar. These alternatives offer health benefits such as antioxidants and add a unique flavor to your cake. So go ahead, experiment with these add-ins and elevate your apple cake to the next level!

Creative Icing Options

For a sweet finishing touch to your Jewish Apple Cake, you might consider a creative icing option. A homemade salted honey glaze or a thick vanilla icing can be brushed or drizzled over the cooled cake for a glossy finish and additional flavor.

But remember, when it comes to icing, it’s important to let the cake cool completely to prevent the icing from melting off. Once your cake is cooled and ready, let your creativity shine! Whether it’s a drizzle of caramel sauce, a dusting of powdered sugar, or your own unique creation, a little icing can go a long way in enhancing the flavor and presentation of your Jewish Apple Cake.

apple cake batter

Storing and Serving Suggestions

Upon baking and cooling your Jewish Apple Cake, consider your storage and serving options. Proper storage is key to retaining the cake’s moist crumb and delicious flavor. Whether you’re storing it at room temperature for a few days or in the freezer for long-term storage, there are a few tips you’ll need to keep your cake tasting its best.

Keep in mind that refrigerating your cake could dry it out, so it’s best to avoid this option. Instead, wrap your cake tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil to keep it fresh and moist. If you’re storing it in the freezer, make sure it’s well-wrapped to prevent freezer burn.

When it comes to serving your Jewish Apple Cake, consider the occasion and your guests’ preferences. Serve it plain to let its natural flavors shine, or dress it up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra special treat. No matter how you serve it, your Jewish Apple Cake is sure to be a hit!

Keeping the Cake Moist

A distinguishing feature of a remarkable Jewish Apple Cake is its moist crumb. To achieve this, it’s important to store your cake properly. Wrapping your cake in plastic wrap or aluminum foil is effective in maintaining its moisture after baking.

For added protection, you can also place the wrapped cake in an airtight container. This helps to preserve its moisture content and keep it fresh for longer. So remember, a little care in storing your cake can go a long way in keeping it moist and delicious!

Accompaniments for Your Cake

Even though the Jewish Apple Cake stands delicious on its own, pairing it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream can enhance the dessert experience. The creaminess of the ice cream or whipped cream complements the rich flavors of the cake, providing a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.

But remember, the best accompaniments for your cake are the ones that you and your guests enjoy the most. So whether it’s a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of caramel sauce, or a scoop of your favorite ice cream, choose the accompaniments that best suit your taste and enjoy your delicious Jewish Apple Cake!

Presentation and Serving Tips

In baking, presentation holds equal importance to taste. And with a little attention to detail, you can make your Jewish Apple Cake look as good as it tastes. From choosing the right pan to adding decorative touches, there are many ways to make your cake a visual feast.

Using the right prepared pan is crucial for Jewish Apple Cake; a tube pan with a removable bottom is recommended for easy removal. If a tube pan isn’t available, a 12-cup bundt pan or loaf pans can be used instead. Not only do these pans make it easier to remove the cake, but they also give it a beautiful shape that’s sure to impress your guests.

When it comes to decorating your cake, don’t be afraid to get creative. A sprinkle of powdered sugar, a handful of chopped apples, or a drizzle of caramel sauce can transform your cake into a masterpiece. So go ahead, let your creativity shine and make your Jewish Apple Cake a feast for the eyes as well as the palate!

Getting the Cake Out of the Pan

While baking your Jewish Apple Cake, consider your strategy for removing the cake from the pan. A 10-inch tube pan, or alternatively a standard 10 to 12-cup Bundt pan, is recommended for easy removal. Before adding the batter, spray the pan thoroughly with cooking spray. This ensures that your cake will release easily, maintaining its beautiful shape and texture.

In case your apple cake sticks to the pan, don’t worry! You can follow these steps to remove the cake from the pan more easily:

  1. Carefully use a plastic knife to loosen the cake around the center tube and the sides.
  2. Gently lift the cake out of the pan, using a spatula if needed.
  3. Transfer the cake to a serving plate or cooling rack.

With a little patience, care, and the help of baking soda, you’ll have a perfectly shaped cake ready to impress your guests.

Decorative Touches

Introducing decorative touches to your Jewish Apple Cake can amplify its visual appeal, making it all the more enticing. Consider a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a snow-like appearance, or fresh apple slices or nuts for a natural enhancement.

For a glossy finish and additional flavor, try brushing or drizzling glazes such as a thinned honey mixture or a thick vanilla icing over the cooled cake. Remember, the key to a great presentation is in the details. So take the time to add those finishing touches that will make your cake stand out!

honey apple cake decorated with apples

Adapting the Recipe for Various Dietary Needs

We acknowledge that dietary needs and preferences vary among individuals. That’s why we’re sharing tips on how to adapt the Jewish Apple Cake recipe to suit different diets. From making it dairy-free to using gluten-free flour alternatives, there are many ways to customize this recipe without compromising on taste.

Whether you’re serving it at a family gathering or a holiday celebration, it’s important that everyone can enjoy a slice of this delicious cake. So let’s dive into some of the ways you can adapt the Jewish Apple Cake recipe to meet different dietary needs.

Remember, baking is all about creativity and experimentation. So don’t be afraid to try new ingredients and make this recipe your own. After all, the best Jewish Apple Cake is the one that you and your loved ones enjoy the most!

Gluten-Free Flour Alternatives

For those catering to a gluten-free diet, there’s no cause for concern! There are plenty of alternatives to wheat flour that you can use in your Jewish Apple Cake. You can use:

  • A 1:1 gluten-free flour blend, such as Bob's Red Mill, as a direct substitution for wheat flour
  • Almond flour
  • Coconut flour
  • A gluten-free-all-purpose flour blend, such as gfJules

Although you might need to adjust the quantity and liquid content.

While these flours may change the texture of your cake slightly, they offer a great way to make this cake suitable for those with gluten sensitivities. So don’t let dietary restrictions hold you back. With a little creativity, you can make a delicious, gluten-free Jewish Apple Cake that everyone can enjoy!

Sweetener Variations

Numerous alternatives to refined sugar are available for sweetening your Jewish Apple Cake. Natural sweeteners like coconut sugar, stevia, and monk fruit extract can provide a healthier alternative, while fruit-derived sweeteners like allulose and sugar alcohols like erythritol and xylitol can add sweetness without the extra calories. For those who enjoy a hint of spice, cinnamon sugar can also be a delicious addition to your apple cake.

For a vegan-friendly version of the cake, consider using maple syrup as a substitute for honey in your apple honey cake recipe. These sweetener variations allow you to customize the cake to fit your dietary needs and preferences. So go ahead, experiment with different sweeteners and discover a new way to enjoy your Jewish Apple Cake!


More Apple Recipes to Explore

If the flavors of our Jewish Apple Cake have won your heart, why limit yourself? Apple season inspires a wide array of desserts that can be enjoyed during holiday celebrations and beyond. Some delicious apple desserts to try include:

  • Honey-Baked Apples
  • Apple Tart made with Honey
  • Old Fashioned Apple Pie

The possibilities are endless.

For those who prefer a more sophisticated dessert, why not try apple pecan bread pudding, apple pecan fritter bites, apple pecan monkey bread, or apple pecan cake with caramel glaze? Or perhaps you’d like to try a twist on a classic dessert, like apple upside-down cake, apple fritters, apple-rum spice cake, apple-pomegranate cobbler, or spiced upside-down apple bundt cake.

We encourage you to:

  • Share your own takes on these apple desserts
  • Engage with our community
  • Exchange ideas
  • Learn from each other
  • Celebrate our shared love for apple desserts

So go ahead, explore these apple recipes, and let’s continue this delicious journey together!

From Pies to Muffins

Apple recipes, ranging from savory Tarte Tatin to sweet muffins, display a world of delicious possibilities beyond traditional apple pie. Here are some ideas to try:

  • French apple tarts
  • Cinnamon-apple babka
  • Deep-dish apple pie
  • Crepes with apple walnut filling
  • Apple pecan fritter bites
  • Apple pecan monkey bread

These recipes expand the traditional repertoire of apple desserts, making each day of apple season a culinary adventure.

One of our favorite twists on a classic apple dessert is apple pie muffins. These muffins incorporate the classic flavors of apple pie filling, spices, and buttermilk, with options to add nuts, raisins, or a brown sugar and cinnamon topping. So why not give these a try?

With so many apple recipes to explore, every day can be a celebration of the humble apple!

Share Your Creations

We’re eager to see your variations on these apple recipes! Share your creations by tagging our blog on social media. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a beginner, we believe that everyone has a unique culinary voice to share.

So, don’t be shy, let’s create, share, and celebrate our love for apple desserts together!


We’ve journeyed through the story of Jewish Apple Cake, from its roots in Rosh Hashanah celebrations to Aunt Jane’s cherished recipe. We’ve delved into the art of selecting the perfect apples, crafting the ultimate Jewish Apple Cake, and customizing it to your taste. We’ve shared tips on storing and serving your cake, presenting it beautifully, and adapting the recipe to meet various dietary needs.

Baking a Jewish Apple Cake is more than just a culinary endeavor; it’s a celebration of tradition, a testament to the power of community, and a sweet tribute to the joy of sharing. So, as you take this recipe and make it your own, remember to bake with love, share with joy, and savor every bite.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the significance of Jewish Apple Cake in the Jewish New Year celebration?

Jewish Apple Cake is a cherished tradition during Rosh Hashanah, symbolizing the hope for a sweet year ahead.

Who is Aunt Jane and what is her connection to the Jewish Apple Cake?

Aunt Jane is known for making the best Jewish Apple Cake in the family, and her version of the cake became a family favorite.

How did Aunt Jane measure the ingredients for the Jewish Apple Cake?

Aunt Jane measured the ingredients with her tiny little hands, adding a personal touch to her recipe.

What kind of person was Aunt Jane?

Aunt Jane was an amazing and strong woman who dedicated her life to helping mentally handicapped individuals and volunteering at her local community hospital. She was truly an extraordinary person.

How can the Jewish Apple Cake recipe be customized?

You can customize the Jewish Apple Cake recipe by adding nuts or berries, drizzling homemade Cashew Cream Icing, and experimenting with different types of honey and flour. Enjoy your custom creation!

best jewish apple cake tall pin