Jewish Cardamom Apple Cake is a tried and true recipe, everybody loves this moist cake studded with fresh apples!
Jewish apple cake is a fall staple whether you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, or not. It’s an easy, super moist, lightly spiced cake loaded with lots of juicy apples that keeps fresh for days and travels well. Oh, and it’s a guaranteed people pleaser. Pretty much the perfect recipe.
Why is it called Jewish apple cake?
- The cake has become a popular dessert in Jewish households and is often served during Jewish holidays and celebrations. Over time, it has become closely linked with Jewish culinary traditions. The cake is made with oil instead of butter so it is a pareve (non-dairy) dessert to adhere to kosher dietary laws.
- Apples are a symbol of sweetness and a fruitful year in Jewish culture, making apple cake, especially during Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), a meaningful and symbolic dessert.
Apple picking ~ it’s the way so many apple recipe inspirations begin. We picked our way through row after row of varieties we never see in the supermarket: Jonagold, RubyMac, Jonamac, Autumn Crisp, CrimsonCrisp, Cortland, Royal Court, Redcort, and Daybreak Fuji. They’re all juicy, and snap when you bite into them. I feel like our orchard apples made this Jewish apple cake extra special, but any apple you love will be great in this cake.
Those involved recommendations surrounding which apples to use for which recipes are misleading…some are a little firmer, some are a little tarter, but apples are pretty much interchangeable in most recipes, so use what you like. It’s really not that complicated!
what you’ll need for Jewish cardamom apple cake
- for 4-5 cups of chopped apples you’ll need about 4-5 pretty good sized apples. We used out hand picked Jonamacs.
- we’ve used all purpose, but a good quality gluten free baking mix should also work.
- vegetable oil
- using oil instead of butter not only makes it pareve for Jewish dietary laws, but also makes the batter easy to whisk together, and keeps the cake moist for days.
- orange juice
- you can also use apple juice or cider.
- baking powder and salt
- ground cardamom
- any time I’m baking a recipe with cinnamon I’m tempted to swap it out for cardamom. Cardamom has a more interesting, nuanced flavor when compared to cinnamon, which can be more overpowering and one note. Of course you can use cinnamon for the classic version of this Jewish apple cake, I won’t be offended!
how to make Jewish apple cake
The method is a classic one:
- Whisk the wet ingredients together.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together.
- Peel, chop and toss the apples with sugar and spice.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet.
- Layer the batter and apples into your tube or bundt pan, beginning and ending with batter.
- Bake until risen, golden, and a toothpick comes out without wet batter on it.
Traditionally Jewish apple cakes are baked in a tube pan, or plain bundt pan. The central tube allows heat to penetrate the center of the cake, ensuring that the moist fruit studded cake cooks thoroughly.
why I love this apple cake
It’s moist, soft, apple-y, with a little bit of crunch from the sugar topping. Using cardamom in place of cinnamon gives it an updated, fresh flavor. Delish. It makes a pretty presentation on a large plate, and is easy to slice into any size servings, even slivers! The perfect fall cake? It gets my vote!
Jewish apple cake tips and faqs
Prep your pan well
- Grease and flour your tube pan. A circle of parchment paper wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. But if you do get a little stickage, just carefully paste the bits back together, they won’t show on the bottom of the cake, anyway. If you want to use a bundt pan, use a plain design pan, with no intricate details.
Chop and toss the apples in sugar just before adding to the cake
- chopped apples release moisture as they sit, so if you toss them with the spiced sugar before starting your cake, they will be sitting in a puddle of sweet spiced liquid when you’re ready to layer them into your cake. To prevent this I prep the wet and dry ingredients first, then chop the apples.
Can I add nuts or raisins to this cake?
- Yes, nuts are a great addition, I’d use either walnuts or pecans. They can be folded into the cake batter, or tossed with the sugar and spice along with the apples and layered into the pan. Use about a cup of chopped nuts. Same goes for raisins ~ golden raisins would be especially nice.
Can this cake be made ahead?
- Yes, it can be made ahead but be aware that, like all cakes baked with fresh fruit, it will get moister as is sits after baking. I like it best the day it’s made.
Can I freeze Jewish apple cake?
- Yes, it freezes beautifully. Let it cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap. Then double wrap in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature.
Is Jewish apple cake a coffee cake, or a dessert?
Sue’s Styling Tip
I don’t adorn this cake with any glazes or toppings, it just wouldn’t be appropriate for this recipe. But because the cake can look a little plain, I will either sprinkle granulated sugar (mixed with a touch of cardamom) over the baked cake for a bit of sparkle, or give it a light dusting of powdered sugar.
craving more apple cakes?
- Dutch Apple Cake
- Honeycrisp Apple Cake
- Authentic Irish Apple Cake
- Apple Cider Doughnut Loaf Cake
- Apple Butter Cake with Brown Sugar Buttercream
- Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
My recipe is based on one from my colleague MaryAnn at The Beach House Kitchen. Her gorgeous photography always inspires me! I chose to swap out cardamom for cinnamon, but otherwise it’s her delicious recipe.
Jewish Cardamom Apple Cake
- tube pan or plain bundt pan
- 4 ½ cups peeled and chopped apples
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 ½ tsp ground cardamom
- sugar or sugar mixed with cardamom
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your tube pan.
- In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients.
- In a medium bowl toss the apples with the sugar and cardamom.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, folding to combine. Mix just until no dry flour remains, but don't over-mix.
- Drop 1/4 of the batter onto the bottom of your pan. Top with 1/3 of the apples. Add the next 1/4 of batter, followed by another third of the apples. Repeat with more batter and apples, and finish with the final 1/4 of batter. You will not have enough batter to completely cover the top layer of apples, that's fine.
- I like to sprinkle a little sugar over top before sliding my pan into a preheated oven. Bake for about 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out without wet batter on it. Depending on your pan and your oven your baking time may be a little more or less than mine.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for about 10-15 minutes, then run a flexible spreading knife around the edges to loosen the cake. If your tube pan has a removable bottom, remove it from the sides. Then run your knife under the cake to loosen it from the bottom and remove to a rack or plate. If using a tube pan without removable bottom (or a bundt pan) flip your cake over in one swift sure motion. Once out of the pan, flip it back over so the textured side is up. I like to sprinkle a little more sugar over the surface for a sparkle.
- The cake will keep for several days at room temperature, or you can freeze it for longer storage.