Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine: Why Is It Called Jewish Apple Cake?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Why Is It Called Jewish Apple Cake?

Jewish Apple Cake is pretty popular on the east coast and just about every family has their own version of the recipe. But does anyone really know why it's called "Jewish" apple?

I did some research and found that the name is derived from the fact that the recipe is completely dairy free. It uses orange juice instead of milk and oil instead of butter. Thus making it appropriate for the Jewish holiday; Rosh Hashanah.

How true this is, I really don't know, but it sure sounds good. If anyone has any other theories I'd love to hear them.

The recipe below is the one I use. It was passed on to me from my old neighbor, Lucy, who's been baking up this version for years.

Jewish Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
For the apples
2-3 green apples sliced
5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
lemon zest
Beat eggs and sugar until combined. Add oil, vanilla, and orange juice mix well. Add flour and baking powder beating until smooth.

In another bowl mix sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest.

Grease and flour a tube pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter in and then the apple mixture. Top with the rest of the batter.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour.


  1. Hi, I love Apple Cake, although Jewish families typically just refer to this cake as apple cake, not Jewish apple cake. Either way, I love apple cake and I can't wait to eat some of the cake my Mom is almost certainly going to be baking up next week!

  2. Hi!
    I swear, I was going to do a post on Jewish Apple Cake this weekend!
    I just bought apples and am going to bake one tomorrow.

    Here is the deal, you have it half right.
    Jewish apple cakes are dairy free, no butter used and always substituted with vegetable oil. I use olive oil instead, much healthier. Hope that info is helpful!
    Stacey Snacks

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I really liked reading a comment from someone new! Hope you will come back there!
    I too enjoy reading your blog and liked knowing more about the Jewish Apple Cake as Apple Cakes are one my favorite types of cakes!!
    Oh, and the marble cake bellow also looks delicious! (I also love marble cake! yummm!!)

  4. Thanks for presenting the Jewish apple cake in such a beautiful manner. It is the perfect cake for the Fall and your picture depicts the cake as light and tasty!

    I would love to pass on another award to you. Please come and claim this from my site.

  5. Your Apple cake looks delicious! I was just looking at all the apples I have and wondering what to make...