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Apple cake, a Rosh Hashanah tradition. It makes for a sweet Jewish New Year.

Apple Cake

An easy, non-dairy apple cake that is sure to please. 

Course Dessert
Cuisine Jewish
Keyword apple, cake, holiday, Jewish food
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Laura


  • 1 cup canola or other neutral oil + bit additional for coating the pan 236 ml.
  • 2 cups granulated sugar 14 oz/360g
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 12 & 3/4 oz/360g
  • 1 cup raisins A combination of dark and golden yields a nice color and taste contrast. 6 oz/170g
  • 1/3 cup orange or apple juice 78 ml
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups apples, peeled, sliced thin and then chopped. See note about size of apple pieces About 2-4 medium-sized apples. 12 oz/339 g
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped 4 oz/113 g
  • 2-3 tablespoons confectioners (powdered) sugar optional


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F and oil a bundt pan well,  making sure to coat all the crevices.

  2. Heat the juice, add the raisins and soak them (to plump them up) while you prepare the other ingredients.  I heat the juice by microwaving it on high for about 1 minute. In a pinch, if you don't have juice, use hot water or water mixed with a few drops of orange or lemon oil.

  3. Mix the oil and sugar in the bowl.  
    Mixing the sugar and oil for apple cake
  4. Then add the eggs and mix again.
    Adding eggs to batter for apple cake.
  5. Add the flour in 2-3 batches, mixing after each one. As you add it, the mixture gets stiff.    

    Adding flour to batter for apple cake.
  6. Mix in the raisins and juice in which they are soaking.

    Adding raisins to apple cake batter.
  7. Add in the salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and vanilla and stir the mixture thoroughly.  

    Adding spices to apple cake batter.
  8. Dump the apple chunks into the batter and mix it again.

    Adding apple chunks to apple cake batter.
  9. Finally, add in the chopped walnuts, again mixing until they are combined into the batter.

    Adding walnuts into apple cake batter.
  10. By fork or spoonfuls, move the batter into the greased bundt pan and smooth the top out with the spatula. The batter is stiff - way too thick to pour.
    Apple cake ready to bake.
  11. Bake the cake for 1 hour – 1 hour 20 minutes, until a knife inserted in it comes out clean (no wet batter sticking to the knife.)
    Apple cake, finished and cooling in the pan.
  12. Let the cake cool in the pan sitting on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. After the cake has cooled, gently run a knife edge around the outside and inside of the tube, place a plate or the wire cooking rack on the top of the cake and turn it over. The cake should release when you flip it over.  If it doesn't, turn it back up and  gently work the knife in a bit farther bent from the outside rim toward the center.  Let it cool further.  

  13. Once the cake is completely cool, you can dust it lightly with confectioner’s sugar.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

  • A bundt pan is best for this cake. If you use another pan (such as a 10-inch round), adjust the baking time accordingly.  
  • Neutral oils include canola, safflower, and grapeseed. Olive, sesame, and similar oils do not work well in this recipe because their taste is too strong.
  • Many apple varieties work well in this cake, including Golden and Red Delicious, and Granny Smith.  Macintosh and Rome are too soft.  I prefer a mixture of 2-3 varieties. I slice them into quarters, then slice each quarter in half or thirds and chop the slices into pieces about 1-inch long. The apple pieces remain whole in the cake as it bakes, so you don't want them too large. If you're not immediately going to add the apples to the batter, sprinkle a bit of lemon juice on the chunks to keep them from browning.
  • Microwaving the juice (or water) before adding the raisins, causes the raisins to absorb the liquid and plump up.