Classic Kosher Apple Cake (Parve)

Apple Cake
Apple Cake. Credit: Photostock Israel/Getty Images
  • 2 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: Serves 8 to 10
Ratings (5)

This company-worthy cake, with its layers of cinnamon-laced apples, is a classic example of the dessert dubbed Jewish Apple Cake. Food historians and writers have surmised that the name likely refers to the fact that the cake is made with oil and orange juice instead of butter and milk, which makes it the perfect pareve follow-up to a festive meat meal. For Ohio caterers Paula Levine Weinstein and Julie Komerofsky Remer, this was always a customer favorite. 

Giora Shimoni's mother-in-law, "an excellent baker," makes a strikingly similar cake, but her recipe calls for 3 to 4 peeled and sliced Granny Smith apples, and the batter is enhanced with 2 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. 

My own Savta (grandmother) used far more cinnamon, a little more vanilla, half the salt, and sweetened the batter more than the apples; I adapted her treasured recipe to create a Whole Grain Jewish Apple Cake that's lower in sugar and fat than the original, but just as full apples, and totally delicious. 

Edited by Miri Rotkovitz

What You'll Need

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup neutral oil, such as canola or grapeseed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2-3 apples, sliced

How to Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 300° F (150° C). Grease a tube pan with a removable bottom. In a small bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the cinnamon sugar. Arrange half of the apples over the batter, then sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.

4. Repeat the layering process with the rest of the batter, half of the cinnamon sugar, the apples, and the remaining cinnamon sugar. 

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, 30 minutes, or until the cake is firm and golden, and a tester comes out clean. In some ovens this cake takes close to 2 hours to bake; if it is not ready after an hour and a half, test in 10 to 15 minute increments until it has finished baking. Transfer to a rack to cool. 

6. To serve the cake, run an offset spatula or thin knife between the cake and the pan to loosen. Carefully remove the outside of the pan, run the spatula between the bottom of the pan and the cake, then invert over a plate (the cake will be bottom-side up). Place a serving platter on the bottom of the cake, then carefully flip the cake while holding both plates. The cake will now be right side (apple side) up; remove the top plate and serve.