THAT Holiday Apple Cake Everyone Wants for Rosh HaShanah
Photo: Liz Rueven

THAT Holiday Apple Cake Everyone Wants for Rosh HaShanah

When Hadassah Magazine asked me for a holiday apple cake recipe (my Mom would be kvelling) I couldn’t believe that I didn’t have one for Rosh HaShanah on Kosher Like Me. Nine years into blogging and I don’t have this traditional autumn* dessert on the blog?

The reason? I’ve been making the same dairy-free, foolproof recipe for so many years that it never occurred to me to post it. Sorry to have held back for so long.

The recipe was on the backside of a Rosh HaShanah card that I received, probably 20 years ago.What makes it so great?

It’s easy to make, super moist, loaded with apples that collapse into the crumb, and is even better when baked 1-2 days ahead. Big plus: you only need a hand held mixer to beat the batter, making this a quick clean-up, too.

dairy free kosher apple cake Rosh HaShanah
Photo: @Liz Rueven

Lots of my friends received that card and still turn to the same recipe. Periodically someone will ask if I can find “that apple cake recipe we all bake.” Of course I know what she is asking for.

Here’s the recipe, better organized and with a few additions. The lemon zest, allspice and ginger are my additions. The author is unknown. I only wish I could tell her how many of us have made this cake our holiday classic.

dairy free kosher apple cake
Photo: @Liz Rueven

* This dairy-free French Apple Tart is another classic for the holiday. The recipe includes the easiest, foolproof pareve dough. It’s a great base for lots of your baked fruit desserts.


  1. I remember sending this recipe card out many years ago—but haven’t made it myself in some time! Will do this year, with your additions. And if I can find the card, promise to send you a screen shot. Something we couldn’t do back when we sent hard copy Rosh HaShanah cards out!

    • Great question, Debra.I have not tried subbing in honey for the sugar.It would be a worthwhile experiment, though. If you try it, please let me know. If you are looking for honey cake for the holidays, I have 4 on the blog, which is A LOT considering that I don’t really like honey cake much. Still, in the spirit of tradition, I tried and tried and eventually found these 4 to love. My fave is the Honey Cake with Chocolate Honey Glaze with Amy Kritzer’s Drunken Honey Pomegranate Cake coming in as a close second.

    • Hello!So nice to know you’re reading here :)))
      I would stick with the tube pan as bits of cooked apple might get caught in the curves of a bundt pan. This cake comes out of the pan easily, but to ensure that, always use a baking spray (oil) with flour. Alternatively, apply oil to the pan with a paper towel and and then flour. Be sure to cover all surfaces and you’ll have an easy time of it.Hag Sameah.

      • Ahhh, you mentioned flouring after greasing the pan, but it isn’t in the recipe. Probably a good idea, will write that in. I am planning on making it Wednesday before holiday. Hope it stays through the holiday.

  2. Hi! Thank you for this recipe. I have made the apple cake recipe from a holiday card I received several years ago and I am looking forward to trying out your improved version. Happy and Healthy New Year!

    • So funny. That card was sent far and wide and saved by a bunch of us. Now that I figured out which friend sent it to me I’d love to know whose recipe it is so I can thank her. Hag Sameah!

  3. Liz, I would love to have the recipe for the Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake. However, can you send it “single-spaced” instead of double spaced so that I can put it on a single sheet of paper, instead of spread over 3 pages? Thanks, Bennie Zelkind

    • Hi Ruth, cooking and baking in smaller portions is indeed, a challenge. That said, I haven’t tested this cake in other sizes so for now I’ll advise that you follow the recipe and enjoy over the number of days it takes you 2 to finish it:)

  4. Hi Liz, I have made “Teddie’s Apple Cake” from the New York Times which is similar and would love to try your recipe. I make that one in a Bundt pan. Do you think that will work for this cake?
    Also I always freeze leftovers of Teddie’s Apple cake in pieces so if we want we take it out of the freezer and keep in in the refrigerator.
    We eat it cold and it’s fine.
    Thank you for the recipe. I saw the article in Hadassah magazine this month.

    • Hi Beth, thanks for your enthusiasm and happy baking. It’s hard to know exactly which varieties will be at our farmers’ market this week. I suggest that you ask the farmers at Woodland Farms. Tell them what you’re baking and they’ll guide you. I’ll probably see you there and will be asking the same question:))

  5. Thanks for the recipe. Would greatly appreciate the single spaced version, also. Looking forward to making this version for Yom Tov this week. (Also, glad to know it’s better after a day or two, as I’m still working and it’s one less thing to make the night before!). L’Shanah Tova

  6. This apple cake was fabulous, thank you for answering my question on 8/29…it got rave reviews and will definitely be made again and again! I did oil and flour the pan and was easy to remove. To those who want it single page, just copy and paste the recipe to a word document and save or print…very simple. I do it with all the recipes I find on the web!

  7. Believe it or not, I have been making this recipe for 50 years!! I don’t remember from whom I got it, but I still have my original hand written copy (remember those days?). I make it every single Rosh Hashanah and it’s loved by everyone in my family. There was a time when I made 2…one for the family and another just for my niece who really loved it and took it home for herself! Best of all, you absolutely cannot ruin it! It turns out delicious every time. I have never divided the apples before…just put them in the middle. I will try that along with your tweaks. btw, I have put it in the freezer on the rare occasion that there were leftovers and it’s been fine.

    • I believe that this recipe has graced many of our holiday tables over the years. I only wish I knew who the author was. Yes! Try dividing the apples. They’re gorgeous on top.

  8. two things. I used 1 1/3 c of sugar in the batter the second time I made this and the tastes of the different kinds of apples came through better. I used a bundt pan for my cakes and they turned out beautifully. My cake pan is not overly designed and I made sure that the apples were not touching the sides. And I only oiled the pan; I didn’t use the flour and the cakes slid right out of the pans. Thank you for the recipe with some heritage in it. Oh, and number 3 – please send me a single spaced copy so it is all on one sheet. Thank you again.

  9. This was the the most delicious apple cake I have ever made. It looked so beautiful. I am going to make this for Rosh Hashanah this year and wait till my brother tastes it he loves anything apple and I know he will love just the way it is.

  10. Hi Liz,
    I was reading your blog about the apple pie and saw also your parev recipe for apple cake. Although I do not keep kosher I am always looking for recipes containing no dairy as both of my daughters do not eat dairy. I noticed in comments that you were kind enough to send single spaced copies of this recipe to a number of your followers. Might I also get such a copy?
    Thanks in advance.
    Regards, Ellie Nessel

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