Apple and Honey Cake

We were inspired to search out a cake that uses honey and apples to acknowledge the Rosh Hashanah celebrations this weekend. Shanah Tova to all who celebrate!

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

Topping
4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored – if you can only get large apples, we suggest slicing them into 1cm wedges.
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons caster sugar

Batter
125g unsalted butter, at room temperature – to make this cake pareve you should sub the butter for sunflower oil (this has the least taste). See our notes section for more details on how to make this cake with oil.
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup honey – it’s gotta be RUNNY, if your honey has crystalised, put the jar in a bowl of boiling water and allow to liquify before using.
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze
1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

Method

Jewish people often eat apples and honey during Rosh Hashanah in hopes of a sweet new year. We were inspired to search out a cake with those ingredients to acknowledge their celebrations this weekend. This recipe includes butter, but you can substitute it for oil if you want to stay strictly pareve. Shanah Tova to all who celebrate!

Apple and Honey Cake 

Preheat oven to 180°C. Coat a 23cm springform pan with butter or neutral oil. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of baking paper.

Prepare apples
Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a chopping board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact. Don’t fret if you cut through, you can just reassemble the halves on the cake in a few minutes.

In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.

Prepare cake batter
Beat butter and caster sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy (around 5 mins). Add honey and beat until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Sprinkle salt and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, fold until just combined.

In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until stiff.  Using a large metal spoon, stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter. Fold in the rest in three additions. It will seem impossible to fold in at first because the batter is so stiff, but it will loosen with careful folding. Only fold the last addition of egg whites until it has mostly disappeared (a couple faint streaks of egg white are fine).

Spread cake batter in prepared cake tin, smoothing the top. Arrange apple halves facedown over the cake batter. To warn, 4 tiny/small apples will definitely fit over the cake batter. When I made it with 4 small-almost-medium apples, I could only fit 3 1/2 of them. No need to press the apples into the batter. If you’ve cut your apples into wedges, arrange them decoratively on top. Pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.

Bake cake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let rest on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then cut around the cake to make sure it’s not sticking to the pan at all, and unhinge the sides. Let cake cool completely. You can store it at room temperature at this point for up to 3 days. After that, a fridge is best for longevity. The cake is even lovelier on day 2.

Before serving, warm 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt until it liquefies to the point where it makes a thin glaze — this will take less than 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake.

Serve with cream for extra indulgence!

Hints and Tips

Making this cake with oil
You wont need to ‘cream’ the oil with the sugar, instead just beat until combined. Make sure your honey is truly runny before adding it in. The mixture will remain separated until you add the egg yolks and then things will begin to come together – don’t worry!

Recipe by Smitten Kitchen

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