Rosh Hashana Apple Cake

By • September 27, 2009 • 21 Comments

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Author Notes: While preparing four holiday meals for friends and family over the span of the two days of Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) last week, I was reminded that there is a beauty in keeping things simple, both in the kitchen and out. So I was overjoyed to discover a cake that nearly bakes itself. I adapted a recipe touted as "The Easiest Cake Ever" -- meant for ripe pears or stone fruits dripping with juice -- to a slightly more traditional apple cake. Given that apples are not particularly juicy, I decided to first saute them in some margarine and sugar, giving them a slight caramelization as I would for a tarte tatin. I had leftover apples and the cake smelled so good in the oven that I whipped up a second batch of batter in about 5 minutes and popped the second cake in the oven while the first was cooling. [NOTE: the batter is adapted from www.notderbypie.com]zahavah

Serves 8-10

For the apples

  • 4 apples - I used a variety (1 each of Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Crispin)
  • lemon juice to prevent apples from browning as you cut (~1T)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine (or butter if making dairy)
  • 1-2 tablespoon sugar

For cake batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons demerara sugar (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease and flour a 9-inch cake pan, springform or square pan. (If you want to plate this, use a springform; otherwise, just serve it out of the pan.)
  2. Peel and core the apples, then cut into ~12 slices. Sprinkle with lemon juice (you don't need much - maybe a tablespoon or so for 4 apples) while the others are being sliced to prevent browning.
  3. Heat margarine in pan over low heat and add apples and 1-2 T white sugar. Stir for ~10-15 minutes until apples soften. Some of the liquid will soak into the apples, but if too much of it starts to evaporate, then turn the heat down.
  4. While the apples are on the stove top, mix together the remaining ingredients (except for the demerara sugar) -- flour, sugar (the 3/4 C), eggs, oil, baking powder, and vanilla. No mixer is required - you can just mix everything by hand even though the batter is quite thick.
  5. Add half the warm apples (juices and all) to the batter and mix. Then pour into the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly with a spatula . Arrange the remaining apple slices on the top of the batter as decoratively as possible (though even a mishmash will look nice).
  6. Sprinkle the cake with demerara sugar if you'd like and bake for 1 hour. As it bakes, the high egg content causes the cake to rise up as the heavier fruit sinks slightly and the demerara sugar helps creates a crackly crunchy crust that caramelizes slightly at the edges and where the fruit juices pool.
  7. Cool in pan and serve. I doubt you'll have leftovers.
Jump to Comments (21)

Tags: apple, fall, fruit, Holidays, Jewish

Comments (21) Questions (1)

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Stringio

2 months ago Lisa Romanova

Delicious!!! And so easy to make, that's true. Especially good if using tart seasonal apples. Thank you for the recipe!

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about 1 year ago Jennifer

Delicious and easy to make!!! Thanks so much for this fantastic recipe. EVERYONE LOVED IT!!!!!

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over 2 years ago bebe le perche

Amazing cake. Thank you. I used butter instead of oil, demarara sugar and a bit of maple syrup for sauteeing the apples, a splash of brandy and two tablespoons of Greek yogurt in the batter. I ate some warm with a cappucino, and the rest was devoured by my family in minutes after dinner.

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over 2 years ago zahavah

Thank you minissimus, Thi, Nancila, and RachaelMR for your comments. I'm so glad that you've enjoyed this cake that has also become one of my go-to desserts. It's great with pears too!

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over 2 years ago zahavah

Thank you minissimus, Thi, Nancila, and RachaelMR for your comments. I'm so glad that you've enjoyed this cake that has also become one of my go-to desserts. It's great with pears too!

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over 2 years ago minissimus

Made a lovely desert for a brunch I "catered" for my wife. Easy to make from pantry ingredients. The only way to improve it is with a dollop of softly whipped, lightly sweetened cream. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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almost 3 years ago Thi

I made this last week. Very easy but fantastic. The cake was light and the mix of apples give such great flavor.

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almost 3 years ago nancila

So, I made this for Rosh haShana, and it was a huge hit. So I made it again for that next Friday night's dessert. And it was loved again by all. So I made it again for dessert a couple of weeks later for out on the Sukkah. Loved it. And then I made it again...well, you get the picture.

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almost 3 years ago rachaelmr

This cake has become an absolute staple - i made it once for a lovely dinner with friends and now my spouse requests it weekly, i am so glad it is so easy and so delicious - Thank you!

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almost 3 years ago Judy at Two Broads Abroad

Made this cake last week for a "culinary challenged" Rosh Hashana at a friend's house. What a gem. Thanks for this. It's a keeper that I will share.

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almost 3 years ago zahavah

Hi Judy -- I'm so glad that you liked the cake. Shana tova!

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about 3 years ago zahavah

Hi everyone - thanks for all the comments and my apologies for my delayed responses. I've been a bit absent from food52 due to a crazy job. But I'm so glad to hear that you guys had great results with this cake. So easy!

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almost 4 years ago gingerroot

I made this on Saturday for a get together - it was fantastic! So easy to put together and really delicious. The only change I made was substituting one mango for one of the apples (and so used only 1/2 cup sugar). I will definitely make this again.

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almost 5 years ago Julia Alling

The cake was well-received last night. Recipe requested by guests! I also used butter and it was lovely.

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almost 5 years ago Julia Alling

The cake was well-received last night. Recipe requested by guests! I also used butter and it was lovely.

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almost 5 years ago mtrelaun

This was a snap to put together! I substituted butter for margarine, and brown sugar for demerara, and used Fuji and Stayman Winesap apples. Cake looked and tasted great.

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almost 5 years ago porkchop

I made this cake as a last minute addition to family dinner invite. Was enjoyed by all.

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almost 5 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Nice photos. Is that a green flannel sheet? If so, will make me feel better about our props. We're constantly scavenging my house for surfaces.

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about 3 years ago zahavah

Amanda - nice to hear from you (the founder!). I have a whole bunch of different colored cloth napkins that I use as backdrops. So many, in fact, that I store them in my wooden coffee table (you know, the kind that's essentially a huge, hinged box that you get when you live in NY and have not room?). As you can see, I never manage to iron any of them...

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about 3 years ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Yes, I know that kind of furnishing. We keep one of our tables inside the fireplace, because there's nowhere else to put it!

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almost 5 years ago Jestei

This cake was a crowd pleaser. I used vegetable oil rather than canola. because that is what I had, and ditto Turbinado for Demerara sugar. All good. Would make again.