Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake

So I had the privilege of writing about this family recipe for Food & Wine, but as soon as the story got posted, everyone started losing it looking for the recipe. Well, after a little hiatus from posted recipes here, I came to give the people what they want: apple cake.

This recipe comes from my great-grandmother, Nanny, who passed it along to my aunt Susi. Ever since I can remember there has been one of these apple cakes at Rosh Hashanah. It's somewhere in between a cake and a pie, taking part of a leavened dough and pressing it into a pie dish before covering with apples and the remainder of the dough, torn into a streusel topping.

Naturally, I've zhuzhed it up a bit adding allspice, honey and lemon. Nanny would even swap out the small Italian plums since they're in season right around this high holiday. It's the sweetest way to bring in the new year. Shanah tova!

Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake

Yield: One 9-inch cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus cooling time

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hours and 15 minutes, plus cooling time


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cubed, plus more for greasing

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 pounds Honeycrisp apples, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup walnut halves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons wildflower honey

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse 2 cups of the flour with the sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Add the 2 sticks butter and pulse until it forms pea-size crumbles. Pour in the egg and pulse until the dough just comes together. 

  2. Press two-thirds of the dough into a greased 9-inch pie pan to have the edges flush with the edge of the pan. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, the walnuts, lemon juice, honey, allspice, and nutmeg and then pour into the pan. Pinch off small pieces of the remaining dough and scatter them over the top of the apples.

  3. Bake the apple cake until golden brown and bubbling in the center, about 45 minutes. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool completely before serving.