The Jewish High Holidays are almost upon us. The holidays begin with Rosh Hashanah (from the Hebrew words rosh, meaning head or beginning, and hashanah, meaning year). Tradition tells us that we should dip apples in honey to ensure that the coming year is sweet. I like to include apples and honey in my holiday recipes as well. This is one of my very favorites.
Fast & Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays is my “go to” cookbook for anything Jewish. I bought the book and met the author, Marlene Sorosky, some years back (in fact, I just opened the book and looked at what she signed, “To Cheryl, Yom Tov! Marlene Sorosky, 9/97”) and have made many of the recipes in it since then.
This cake is all apple-cinnamon-honey-y. It’s moist and dense and delicious. I think I’ve made at least one every Rosh Hashanah since 1997! Marlene calls it “Crowned Apple Cake”. I call it “Apples and Honey Cake”. You’ll want to add it to your holiday recipe collection. (Actually, you’ll want to add it to just your plain ol’ recipe collection…you don’t have to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, or any holiday for that matter, to enjoy it!)
Apples and Honey Cake
4 large green apples (about 2-1/2 pounds), such as Granny Smith or Pippin
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
3 teaspoons baking powder
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
About 1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves for topping (optional)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in lower third of oven. Grease and spray a 10-inch tube pan with removable bottom.
Peel, quarter, core and slice apples inch thick. Place in medium bowl with honey and cinnamon. Toss to coat and set aside while preparing cake.
In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer on low speed, mix flour, sugar, oil, eggs, orange juice, baking powder, vanilla and salt until combined.
Increase to moderately high speed and mix until well-blended, about 2 minutes.
Pour one-third of the batter into prepared pan. Arrange one-third of the apple slices over the mixture and sprinkle with chopped nuts, if using.
Cover with half the remaining batter. Arrange half the remaining apple slices over batter and top with remaining batter, spreading the top evenly.
Overlap remaining apple slices around top of batter, extending out like petals.
Pour any juices that remain in bowl over apples. If desired, arrange nut halves along the outer edge to circle cake.
Place cake on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted into center comes out clean. If top gets too brown, cover loosely with foil. Remove cake from oven and cool 10 minutes. Loosen from pan edges and bottom with a spatula. Lift cake from pan to serving plate.