Jewish Apple Cake – Philadelphia Style

by | Mar 7, 2011 | Dessert, Recipes

Philadelphia style Jewish apple cake

Several weeks ago I pulled a recipe for Jewish apple cake out of the Relish magazine that comes as an insert in my newspaper. I had never heard of nor eaten Jewish apple cake before I saw the recipe in the Relish magazine, but being a lover of almost anything with apples and cinnamon it was something I wanted to try. The article that accompanied the recipe said that you will find Jewish apple cake in the bakery cases at coffeehouses in Philadelphia, which has the fourth-largest Jewish population in America. The cake is often served at gatherings during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when eating sweet foods is believed to ensure a sweet year. In the Jewish apple cake, vegetable oil and orange juice are used in place of milk and butter, to meet kosher laws saying that dairy cannot be eaten at the same meal as meat.

I bought the Granny Smith apples needed for the recipe and when I started to make the cake I discovered I only had three eggs and I needed four. So a week later I bought the eggs and had the apples only to discover that I didn’t have the orange juice. Yesterday the stars were aligned. Finally, I had all of the ingredients needed for the cake and the time to make it. My 15-year old daughter Whitney and I worked as a team to make the cake and we got it in the oven in no time.

The cake turned out great and tasted as good as it looks.

The ingredients for the Jewish apple cake.

The last layer of apples

The last layer of batter

A slice of the Jewish apple cake

Jewish Apple Cake – Philadelphia Style 

– serves 16


  • 6  cups peeled and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 3 large)
  • 1/2  cup plus 5 tablespoons, granulated sugar, divided
  • 4  teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3  cups all purpose flour
  • 1  tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 4  eggs
  • 1/2  cup light brown sugar
  • 1  cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2  cup orange juice
  • 2 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, sugar and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Be sure to grease the Bundt pan really well. If you use cooking spray, be sure to heavily coat the pan with oil, otherwise the cake will stick. Combine apple slices with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat eggs with remaining granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla; beat well. Gradually blend in flour mixture and mix until well blended (about one minute). Pour one third of the batter into the pan. Top with half the apple slices, draining off any liquid. Pour in half the remaining batter and top with remaining apple slices. Top with remaining batter, making sure the apples are covered. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until the top turns golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Recipe by Carolyn Wyman.

NOTE: I used olive oil in my cake because that’s usually the only oil that I have. If you use olive oil in baking, be sure it is an extra virgin oil, otherwise the strong taste of olive oil will flavor your baked goods.

Happy Monday!