For many of us, holidays are a combination of dishes that must be made, new dishes to try, and the sad fact that each person can only eat so much. Every year for Rosh Hashanah, my mother makes a fabulous apple cake. When I moved down here to Texas, I started making it for break-the-fast (the meal following the 25 hour fast during Yom Kippur, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah) instead, because my friends and I weren’t cooking dinner during Rosh Hashanah.
Mom’s apple cake is still one of my favorite desserts of the season, and a huge crowd favorite. (I’m hoping to post it this weekend, and will link it when I do. ) When I started cooking dinner for the meal before the fast, I went looking for a different but similar dessert, so it wouldn’t be the same thing back to back. For several years I made this apple sheet cake, which is essentially a riff on mom’s recipe.
This past Monday night, dear friends invited me to a small dinner during Rosh Hashanah, and I volunteered to bring dessert. I didn’t want to make the same thing, but wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. I had made a lot of honey cake over the weekend (including a batch of honey cake truffles to send to a college friend), and the idea of an apple and honey cake seemed perfect, like two desserts in one.
I halved the apple sheet cake recipe to make only an 8×8″ pan (honestly, though, you’ll want to double it if there’s more than one person, it’s pretty addictive) and made some changes to make it more like a honey cake batter. One large apple was plenty, and I had to almost pat the batter into place to get the apples distributed and laying flat. And just to guild it a little, a sprinkle of demerara sugar on top.
Voila! It came out light and moist and super additive. My friends have already reminded me to send the recipe. And the best part is that it’s an easy one bowl recipe, so there’s really no excuse not to make it. Right. Now.
(You also must excuse the small photograph of the final cake. I was running late for dinner, so brought the pan, uncooked, with me on the thirty minute drive. The batter sloshed around in the pan and pretty much absorbed the topping -should have taken it separately. But it baked up beautifully and no one ever would have known. And then we were so busy devouring it I forgot to take a picture until the next morning, after I’d had it for breakfast. )
Adapted from Woman's Day
- 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup coffee or tea (see note)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large apple (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, and Fuji are all good choices)
- 2 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar (for topping)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (for topping)