Apples and honey are, to many, the ultimate flavours of Rosh Hashanah – a familiar and soul-warming embrace of flavours that nod lovingly to the Jewish culinary culture. Spilling with sugar-coated fruit, this delightfully dense cake is simple enough to make at home. It can be served fresh and hot from the oven, or kept a little longer for afternoon pleasures long after the candles have been blown out.
We get our apples from Natoora, who pick their produce when it’s at its seasonal best. Our autumn apples are from John in East Sussex, whose orchards unfold across many acres and reflect the diversity of the soil. If you can, buy sharp British apples for this recipe. You’ll notice the crisp, sweet, full-bodied flavour straight away.
We make our own apple cake spice mix to create that distinctly spiced flavour. You could follow our lead or change it as you wish. Just be sure to use one teaspoon of it.
Throughout the colder months, we serve small versions of this cake in GAIL’s, but here’s a larger one for those moments of sharing this season.
Makes one cake 20cm (8”). Use a springform tin if you have one.
175ml cold pressed rapeseed oil
275g caster sugar
2 small eggs (around 100g), lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
220g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp apple cake spice (see below)
250g apples (3 small apples or 2 large), cored and diced into small cubes (around 1 cm)
2 tbsp melted butter (for greasing the cake tin)
Apple cake spice:
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp freshly ground cloves
For the cake topping:
2 tsp caster sugar
Icing sugar for dusting
- It’s best to use a standing mixer with a beater (leaf) attachment if you have one. On medium speed, beat the oil and sugar for a couple of minutes.
- While the mixer is still on, slowly add the beaten eggs to the bowl. In the spirit of a slower season, resist the urge to rush this. The mixture will split at the beginning and appear grainy. Trust the process, and just keep adding the egg very slowly. After a couple of minutes, the mixture will become thick, pale and smooth.
- Add the vanilla, and gently mix.
- In a separate bowl, briefly hand-whisk the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and apple cake spice.
- Add the flour mix to the sugar and eggs, and mix well.
- Now it’s time to add the diced apples, folding them in slowly.
- Preheat your oven to 170C.
- Using a pastry brush (or, failing that, your fingers), butter the cake tin and line its bottom with parchment paper.
- Pour the whole mixture into the tin.
- For the cake topping, slice the remaining 2 apples into 12 wedges each (you’ll have 24 wedges in total), carefully removing the pips. We like to leave their red skins on for that lovely autumnal shade.
- Arrange the apples on top of the cake, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 40-45 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before unmoulding and letting it cool completely.
- Dust with icing sugar just before you’re ready to serve.
This cake can be kept for 2 days, stored in an airtight container. But it’s so moreish we doubt it will stick around for that long…