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Jewish Apple Cake With Vanilla Glaze

A beloved — and most-requested — family recipe.

sliced Jewish Apple Cake With Tea on red checked tablecloth

Of all the fancy desserts I know how to make as a former pastry chef, this simple family Jewish apple cake recipe remains at the very top of my rotation: requested often, devoured always. Very easy to make, this Jewish apple cake looks like how autumn on a Vermont farm feels (or so I imagine), and fills the house with the aroma of cinnamon, apples, and vanilla.

This Jewish Apple Cake recipe came from my mom’s home economics class back when she was in high school. It was the first thing she learned to bake on her own, but certainly not the last: She is a fabulous home baker.

You may also like: Soft Italian Sprinkle Cookies and Buttermilk Birthday Cake

green apples in colander

Many of my best recipes come not from cookbooks or a website, but from simple recipe cards, passed along from neighbor to neighbor, grandmother to mother to daughter, friend to friend, and so on. I pull out these trusty family recipes time and again from my beloved wooden recipe box my late husband crafted for me from his grandfather’s felled cherry tree. These recipe cards, with their handwritten ingredients and side notes, grow a little more smudged, and thus a little more loved, with every use.

A Few Notes About This Jewish Apple Cake Recipe

  • This recipe calls for tart, crisp apples such as Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn. But the cake works equally well in summer by substituting ripe peaches or plums. You can keep the same ratio of sugar and cinnamon for these fruits.
  • A tube pan is ideal because it bakes up a nice, high cake, but you can also bake the cake in two loaf pans. The time will vary, however.

slices of Jewish Apple Cake With cups of Tea and red checkered table cloth

What is your favorite family dessert recipe? Tell us in the comments below.

Jewish Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake

This easy Jewish apple cake is a family favorite, full of sweet apples and cinnamon.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 40 minutes
Course: Dessert
Keywords:: apple, apple cake, cake, dessert, jewish apple cake recipe, tube pan
Servings: 10 people


For the Apples

  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 5 each large granny smith or other tart, firm baking apple, sliced thin

For the Cake

  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil (I like canola)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 each eggs
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (or cold water, or a combination)

Quick Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 cup water or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract



  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a standard-sized tube pan.

For the Apples

  • Peel the apples and slice thinly, about 1/4" to 1/3" -thick chunks, and place them into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the 2 tbsp sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon. Stir and allow to sit and get juicy while you make the cake batter.

For the Cake Batter

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream sugar and oil until light and emulsified. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well blended.
  • With the mixer on low, add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. It is time to add each egg when the previous one is mostly mixed in.
    Kick the mixer up to medium, and cream until lightened, fluffy, and smooth, about three minutes. Scrape the bowl at least once during this part.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low until partially combined. Scrape the bowl. (Notice a trend?)
  • Add the orange juice and mix batter on low until combined. Scrape the bowl and make sure the batter is completely smooth. Do not over mix.

Assemble and Bake

  • Pour about a third of the batter into the tube pan. Layer a third of the apples on top. Repeat twice, ending so that apples are covering the entire top of the cake.
  • Bake about 1 hour 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Let rest on a cooling rack. When pan is cool enough to handle and the cake has set up a bit (around 20 minutes), invert onto the cooling rack.
    PRO TIP: To invert a cake properly, run a small offset spatula or thin knife around the cake pan's edges to loosen the cake from the pan's walls. Flip the cake over onto the cooling rack, so it is now upside-down. Then, placing another cooling rack on top of the inverted cake, flip it back over so the cake is right-side up again. Let cool completely. If you only have one cooling rack, you can do the initial flip onto a plate, since you'll immediately be flipping it back again.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

  • In a bowl, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla, and water or milk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Spoon glaze over the top of the cake, allowing some to pool on top, and some to drip down the sides. Serve.


  • I’m a little confused as to how the apples should be cut. Are they slices or chunks? I can’t wait to make this. It’s beautiful to look at and I’m guessing fabulous to eat!! Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Lori! I like to do slices because you can get nice ribbon-y apple layers in the cake, but chunks will work as well. I hope you enjoy!

  • HI Lisa, hope you can help with a question about the glaze: water or milk was included in the Ingredients section but not mentioned at all in the Instructions. Could you please clarify? Thanks!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi! Oh my goodness–thank you for catching this omission. I have corrected the directions. You will stir all the ingredients together at the same time. (I realize this response is very late–I hope it worked out!)

  • 4 stars
    Cake was great but I wish the list of ingredients were in the order of use. ?

    • Unpeeled

      Very good point! I have revised the recipe to reflect this.

  • I’ve baked this cake twice so far and I love it, as does everyone I’ve shared it with! Moist and delicious! Thank you for all the history and information you add to your recipes! Your food journal has become one of my favorites! Can hardly wait to see you announce an upcoming cook book!

    • Unpeeled

      Thank you so much, Teresa! One of my favorite recipes as well. My goal is definitely a cookbook someday, so stay tuned!

  • 5 stars
    This cake is delicious! Very moist and LOTS of apples throughout. Definitely more than 20 min prep time but worth the work!

    My oven tends to run a bit hot so I set the timer for 1:30 instead of 1:40 at 350 degrees. At about one hour the top of the cake, which was on the bottom rack of the oven, was very dark brown and so were the sides. I was very concerned about baking it for 40 more minutes but also the inside being raw – so I took it out at 1:15. The cake was completely cooked inside and before serving I ended up cutting off the very dark brown bottom and sides. I think it probably could have come out an hour???? I was wondering if other bakers have reported the same experience that 1;40 just seemed way too long to bake this cake. I am also trying to figure out if I make it again if I should try a lower. temperature like 325? or stay at 350? but I am also unsure of how long to bake it at either temp.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Amy! Thanks for writing. I love this comment because it raises so many good baking science topics. The main thing that I would say is that a hot oven will cook the outside quickly, while keeping the inside underbaked. This is problematic for cakes because the outside will darken and become dry while the interior still has yet to finish baking. If you have a hot oven, reduce the oven temperature. This will let heat penetrate to the inside of the cake before the outside grows too dark. I also suggest getting an interior oven thermometer! I think they’re fabulous! That way, you can regulate your oven temp that way. In the meantime, try the cake at 325F. A standard tube pan should be about 1 hour 40 minutes, give or take (how often does someone open the oven to check? Is their tube pan wider/narrower?), but like my pastry instructor used to say: “It’s done when it’s done.” Hope this helps!

      • I will try it next time at 325. I have never used an oven thermometer but that is an interesting suggestion. Thank you.for the reply!

  • Judy Ugnac

    Thank you for your beautiful blog and delicious recipes. I love the red and white teacups in the Jewish Coffee cake picture. Could you please send me info about them.
    I would love to purchase some. Thank you!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Judy! Thank you so much for the lovely words. I love those dishes also. I actually bought them at a rummage sale in Maine a few years ago. (I usually find all my best dishes and serving utensils at flea markets and thrift stores.) But I checked the bottom and it is an old Noritake brand. Maybe search on Ebay or Let me know if you’re able to come across them!

  • Karen E Lindenberg

    5 stars
    I’ve been baking this cake for years, particularly for Jewish New Years. To keep the cake pareve, either skip the glaze or make it with orange juice.

  • Ángela

    5 stars
    I made this the first time in a loaf pan halving the recipe. Followed the recipe to a tee.. It was so delicious that I made it again. This time I made the full recipe but used EVOO instead of neutral oil. I used a variety that has a softer flavour and is common in Spain for baking (arbequina) and it also came out great and had an amazing taste. Wonderful recipe!

    • Unpeeled

      Thanks, Angela!! It’s one of my favorite cakes of all time.

  • Theresa B

    5 stars
    This cake is awesome. Lots of apples and cinnamon!!! Yum!!

  • Helena Vargas

    5 stars
    I made this for Father’s Day this past weekend and everyone in my family RAVED about it and there was none leftover.. I am very glad to have this recipe!!! It takes a while to bake, but is worth it.

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