Why Jewish? The world may never know. That’s just what my mother calls it, and what her family calls it, and heck, that’s what a bunch of people on the Internet call it, so there you have it. Jewish Apple Cake.
I remember making this when I was really young and making it rather well. I can practically see the old, yellowed recipe card it was printed on. And I remember that the trick to making this out-of-this-world is to let it sit for a day or two before you plan to serve it. While it’s awesome straight out of the oven, it gets better as time goes on. All the super yummy apple juices make their way into the cake and form a cinnamony layer of YUM!
One quick programming note: Jewish Apple Cake is traditionally made in a tube pan. I don’t have one, so I used a bundt pan. I highly recommend this approach. The bundt pan forms a crispy outer layer that is to die for and lends a nice texture to the cake as a whole. If you choose to use a tube pan, follow the layering directions here.
Now then … to the recipe!
Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Grease up the bundt pan, making sure to get into all the little nooks and crannies.
As for the ingredients, first you will need:
- 6 to 8 apples, depending on how large or small they are (traditional recipes call for Macintosh, but I like to use a variety. Here we have a bunch of Granny Smiths and some assorted varieties a friend picked at a local orchard)
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 5 Tbsp. sugar
Peel and core the apples (it helps if you have a Michael Buck-type who is incredibly skilled at the peeling function. An apple corer also comes in handy), then cut into bite-sized chunks. Place into a large bowl and add the cinnamon and sugar. Stir well to combine. Set aside.
- 2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 2 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (always, always use pure and not imitation)
- 4 eggs
In a large-sized bowl, sift the flour (I just use a fine-mesh colander for this), and add the baking powder and salt.
In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, sugar, orange juice and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry, then add eggs one at a time. Make sure you scrape down the sides and get all the stuff on the bottom of the bowl worked in to the batter.
Add half of your apple mixture to the bottom of the bundt pan, making sure to include the yummy sugar juices that have formed. Try to arrange the apples somewhat evenly, as this will be the top of your cake. Next, add half of the batter. Repeat the layers, then bake for one and a half hours, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for several minutes, then invert onto a cake platter. It’s okay if all the apples don’t come with it. Just pick out from the pan and arrange on top of the cake. Cover with powdered sugar for a fancy-pants presentation. Enjoy with vanilla ice cream or a big ol’ glass of milk.