sunken apple and honey cake

There are recipes on my Cook This list that I’ve been plotting for years but take forever to jump from that place where they’re a rough idea of how I think something might taste good and how I’ll make that happen. There are items on the list which are just the names of dishes I haven’t tried yet and want to learn more about. And there are recipes that make me kick myself every time I see them because how have we not made a good hearty tortilla soup here yet? And where is that Russian napoleon I’ve been promising you? But this here is none of the above. Exactly one month ago, someone emailed me (hi Angela!) and asked if I had ever made a German Sunken Apple Cake [which sounds even cooler in its native language: Versunkener Apfelkuchen] and I had barely finished reading the email before I had a new tab open because I had to immediately know what it was.

four deceptively tiny apples
peeled, halved, cored

What it was is adorable. Seriously, it’s relentlessly cute. Small apples are peeled, halved, cored and then scored and arranged rump-up on a buttery cake base and in the oven, the cake begins to creep up around them and the apples fan out like accordions and the whole thing is so golden, dimpled and lovely that I abandoned all hopes, plans to do anything else until I could make this happen. (Perhaps predictably, this still took three weeks.)

many slices, but don't cut through

dress apples with lemon and sugar
making an egg white cloud
it will seem impossible to mix

I realize that for some people “relentlessly cute,” i.e. the cake version of a viral video of a kitten scared of a skittering ball of yarn, is not the primary thing they’re looking for in a cake. I mean, I’m not friends with anyone that cold-hearted, but I realize that things like crumb/texture/flavor are also important when talking about cake. Fear not, this cake has that in droves. It’s actually not terribly different from last year’s Purple Plum Torte, but it has an extra egg and more leavener for lift, which is to say that it’s awesome, especially on days two and beyond.

smooth the batter
apples, arranged
brushing with salted honey

As promised, this site would remains a pumpkin-spice free zone until the first day of fall (you know, tomorrow), meaning that this cake has neither cinnamon nor nutmeg, ginger, allspice or cloves in it. There’s no pumpkin in it, but if your diction is as poor as mine apparently is, you too can disappoint all dozen people you tell about this cake before you make it who hear instead “pumpkin apple cake.” However, I couldn’t resist giving it a honeyed tilt, replacing just about half the sugar with honey and brushing the cooled cake with a salted honey glaze. It’s not traditional, but I now cannot imagine this cake any other way.

sunken apple and honey cake
sunken apple cake, resting

Thank you: To everyone who came out Word on the Street in Toronto yesterday. It was such a fun event, and never a bad time to be around such friendly, warm people.

One year ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Two years ago: Spaghetti with Broccoli Cream Pesto
Three years ago: Apple and Honey Challah
Four years ago: Beef Chili with Cheddar Sour Cream Biscuits
Five years ago: Grilled Lamb Kebabs + Tzatziki
Six years ago: Black and White Cookies
Seven years ago: Chocolate Babka and Red Velvet Cake
Eight years ago: Giardiniera

Sunken Apple and Honey Cake [Versunkener Apfelkuchen]
Adapted from, which adapted from the German cookbook Unser Kochbuch No. 1.

My changes to this recipe were to drop the flour a bit because my first cake was quite dry and stiff, to reduce the cookign time quite a bit, replace just under half the sugar with honey and to brush the cooled cake with a salted honey glaze. This glaze, once the cake is cooled, will stay glossy atop the cake for about an hour, but after that will sink in. No harm, of course, but if you’d like above all else a glossy cake, you’ll want to brush the honey on closer to the time you serve it. The cake is just mildly sweet, thank goodness, so the honey glaze does not overwhelm it. As I mentioned earlier, I did not put any cinnamon or pie spices in this, but I don’t think it would be terrible with shake or two of it for fragrance, although it is not traditional. (I think of cinnamon-doused cakes as much more of an American taste.) Finally, like a lot of cakes with large chunks of fruit baked into them, this cake is even better on the second day, and almost sticky-moist on the third — it totally understands when you have a busy week and need to get a head start on your holiday baking.

Serves 8 in standard wedges, up to 12 in thinner ones

4 tiny-to-small apples, halved, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey (any variety you like to eat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

Heat oven: To 350°F. Coat a 9-inch springform with butter or a nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

Prepare apples: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting 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, however; you can just reassemble the halves on the cake in a few minutes.

In a bowl, toss apples with lemon juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

Prepare cake base: Beat butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with electric beaters until fluffy. 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, mixing only until just combined.

In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until stiff. Stir 1/4 of them into the cake batter, to lighten it a little. 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 pan, 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. You can pour any extra lemon juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.

Bake cake: 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center 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, or after you add the honey, for up to 5 days 3 days at room temperature. After that, a fridge is best for longevity. The cake is lovelier on day 2 than day 1.

Before serving, if you’d like the glaze to look glossy, or whenever the cake is cool, if you don’t mind if the honey sinks into the cake: 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

307 comments on sunken apple and honey cake

    1. Sara Dolansky

      I made this cake to bring to a host’s house for 2nd night of Rosh Hashanah. It was delicious! I had made the cake just before Rosh Hashanah began (so over a day earlier) and I think that that gave time for flavours to improve/amplify. The cake comes out light in colour and has a subtle taste – not what many of us who were raised on dark, spicy honey cakes are used to – but what made it special was the custardy taste and texture of the portions in and around the sunken apple sections. (And thankfully I had sunk many sliced apple halves into my cake!) It was divine! I plan to make more for breaking the fast and for Sukkot! Thanks for a great recipe!

  1. Brooke

    That looks so yummy! And I love the look – but I feel like it would bug me while eating it that all the apple was concentrated in one spot.

  2. Heather

    My husband loves honey, so this sounds perfect! What do you think about using peaches instead of apples? Peaches + honey don’t sound quite as traditional as apples + honey. But down south we’re using up the last of this year’s crop.

    1. deb

      Heather — I think it could be delicious, especially firm-ripe peaches.

      Brooke — The way it is sliced in wedges, you will never get a slice without apple in it. I would never do that to you. :)

      Cake plate/dome — They’re actually both from Crate and Barrel, but not a set. The dome comes with a glass cake pedistal, and was a wedding present in 2005 (!) and, wow, they still have it. The wooden plate is at this link. Use a good wood oil on it and you can keep it pretty for years. Can you tell I’m a little obsessed with wood stuff these days? Is this necklace too much? :)

      Nancy — The apples/cake will look like this when it goes in, and this when it comes out. So, they’ll definitely become one with the cake. The lemon juice is to keep the apples from browning, the sugar to macerate them a little.

  3. Deb,
    First, this looks/sounds amazing, apple desserts are my very favorite, I love your Apple Sharlotka! Second (or b.) it sounds like you leave those apple rumps out there all naked in the oven, does tossing them in the lemon-sugar mix keep them from drying out?

    1. deb

      Kelly — There would be 8, but if your family gatherings are anything like mine, there are always either a) many desserts on the table or b) many people on a diet so I’m always told “just a sliver!” I.e. we serve much more than 8 with this, up to 12.

      Christina — I don’t think it matters here, but a good baking apple would never be out of place. Here’s a guide I like to baking and eating apples from a food writer I like and that you all should read the whole archives from. (Okay, that was bossy. It’s from a good place!)

  4. A sweet and happy new year to you, Deb. Still holding out for a recipe for the Russian napoleon my Latvian best friend from growing up used to serve up for special occasions. (Alongside beet vinaigrette and salad olivier. Yum.) Oh, also, just want to let you know I made the apricot pistachio squares as plum and walnut, and a batch of pear and hazelnut ones are waiting to be devoured on Rosh Hashana.

  5. this looks yum! I have never been a big apple dessert person – but have finally gotten into it :) Salted honey sounds just divine! Cant wait to try that! I wonder if this would work with pears too…

    1. deb

      Belinda — Definitely. The closest equivalent would be an 8-inch square.

      P.S. Metrics are coming. I’m a little slow/groggy this morning after that whole single-day round trip international outing yesterday. :)

  6. Martha

    I think this is the recipe I’ve been looking for the last 10 years! When I studied abroad my Chilean nana made the most delicious apple kuchen and I’m still sorry I had to leave the home abrubtly and didn’t get a chance to say goodbye or get the recipe from her before I left. I can’t wait to give this a try!

  7. mlissa

    Any advice how to make this vegan (hubby would love this but has gone completely plant based for health.). Any suggestions for substitutions?

    He deserves a treat, but I’m not familiar with substitutions yet

    1. Brooke

      You can use Miyoko’s vegan butter and substitute the 3 eggs with 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons JUST Egg. It may not have quite the same consistency as the with the whipped egg whites but it should still work.. it may need a little extra cook time too…

  8. Susan

    I have that dome and the cake plate that goes with it; love it! This cake sounds wonderful if for no other reason than the tiny apples but mostly the salted honey. I imagine it tastes wonderful with a touch of salt, being so sweet ordinarily.

  9. Katie

    This cake looks amazing! I think it is time for that orchard trip we’ve been threatening for weeks.
    Deb (or anyone else who knows such things) my mother, who has long been the baker in the family, just got diagnosed with a gluten allergy. I would be very grateful for gluten free baking tips (flour substitutions, changes to leavening, anything else we should know?). Thanks!

  10. This looks absolutely divine, and seasonal (dare I say we are pretty much all but neck deep in autumn, both good and less good in my opinion). Also, to the person that was inquiring about vegan-izing this recipe, I am planning to substitute flax seeds and/or apple sauce for the eggs. I am not vegan (but also don’t cook or bake with eggs), so I will probably stick with the butter and honey but for a completely vegan version you could try subbing margarine/vegan butter and maple syrup. Deb, please correct me if this would be absolutely sacrilegious :)

  11. Izzy

    This looks fantastic!

    Another item for that list: Muhammara. A Middle Eastern dip that’s a lot like hummus, but with red peppers, walnuts, and pomegranate molasses.

    I can’t get enough of it from my local lunch place, and I think you’d love it.

    1. deb

      Judy — Don’t worry if your apples are a little bigger. I found I could fit 3.5 small-medium-ish apples or 4 really quite tiny ones (though maybe a tiny bit bigger than lady apples). The worst thing that happens is that you have a 1/2 to 1 apple extra to snack on or bake separately.

      Sasha — No reason not to adjust the flavor so that it will be something you’d prefer.

      Katie — My usual advice is to start with a 1:1 gluten-free flour mix you can buy. I hear Cup4Cup is very good (although, not cheap). After that, you might begin fiddling with some popular formulas GF bloggers use and finding one you like. But for quick and easy, I’d go with a well-reviewed baking flour blend.

      Frances — I haven’t, but I’m sure it would work. You might also use a natural shortening or coconut oil (which would give it an ever-so-slight coconut flavor).

  12. Madison

    This will be devoured with a strong coffee by day and a stiff whiskey drink by night.
    It was lovely to meet you at Word on the Street yesterday! I hope you enjoyed our fair city.

  13. Nicole R.

    mlissa – I haven’t made this cake but it looks like the eggs are pretty important leaveners, since the egg whites are beaten separately to give the cake lift. It would be pretty hard to veganize in that case. BUT you can do what I do and use Deb’s brilliant recipe as INSPIRATION – the format with the apples and maybe some maple syrup in place of the honey would be delicious. I would use a tried-and-true vegan yellow cake recipe like Isa Moskowitz’s (how do you pluralize that name?).

  14. Joy

    I’m so thrilled you tried it! It’s been a favorite traditional cake for my partner and his family. His mom has passed on the German cookbook to us and I finally got him to translate it for me last year. Since then, I haven’t stopped touting the joys of making and eating this little cake that could. Mmm…apple season.

  15. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    My husband is half German and he will absolutely swoon for this cake. As a child, he had a Polish neighbor that frequently made him apple cake (and pirogi) and I have no doubt that this lovely cake will bring with it a flood of memories of happy days at her kitchen table. Thanks Deb – This recipe will fill our bellies and his heart. xxoo

  16. Wife To An Amazing Cook

    Also, I’ve been a fan of your site for years and this sentence – “Small apples are peeled, halved, cored and then scored and arranged rump-up on a buttery cake base and in the oven, the cake begins to creep up around them and the apples fan out like accordions and the whole thing is so golden, dimpled and lovely that I abandoned all hopes, plans to do anything else until I could make this happen” – is hands-down my all time favorite! :)

  17. Krista

    My springform pan is 10 inches, not 9, and while I’d love an excuse for a new pan, I should probably avoid that :) Do you think the recipe would still work in a 10 inch pan? I’m concerned because it looks like a pretty thin cake to begin with. I read on one site that I could increase the ingredients by 20%. Do you think this would work, or would you stick with the original recipe and maybe just decrease cooking time? Oh, and I LOVE that necklace!!

  18. Suzanne F

    Being of Swedish & German heritage, I’ve been making a very similar Apfelkuchen for decades. I can’t wait to try this one, it looks absolutely delicious!! (I might have to sneak some cinnamon in it, fall officially starts at 10:29pm tonight)

  19. Tante Mali

    Oh, sounds wonderful, looks fabulous. Do have that much apples in my garden these days – so now I know …. :)!!!
    Thank you and all my best from an Austrian gardener

  20. Ahhh this is adorable! It’s like a little munchkin in cake form. And I love that almost half the sugar in the recipe is honey- I’m sure the floral flavor adds a nice complexity, especially with the glaze on top!

  21. Lauren

    Yowzer! This is happening immediately. I, too, love the Apple Charlotka ( try it if you haven’t) but this is a very “cute” cake whereas the Charlotka is more of a “stunner”. Your Mom’s Apple Cake is awesome too…guess I will have a lot of apple goodies coming out of the kitchen this month. Love that Jacob is such a reader, and how nice that he can now go outside at a whim to do it! No wonder you grabbed that apartment…seems perfect in every way.

  22. ATG

    Seems perfect for Rosh Hashana. Was that intentional even if not mentioned?
    P.S. Have you thought of updating the format of the blog? I can’t believe I’m asking this because yours is of the best ones out there, and the one that has maintained its integrity and style…but, I have started to notice that it feels a bit tired. And only a bit. I guess everyone is embracing new and shiny, and the eye gets used to it. Though I am still very unused to what eater did.

  23. Annette

    There is a version of this, called “Apfelkuchen, sehr fein” in my Dr Oetker cookbook, and it’s our middle-child’s favorite apple cake. It is a bit labor-intensive with all that apple-peeling but definitely worth it. Two things: instead of making cuts into the apples, try scoring them with a fork – four parallel lines in one go! And the cake is even better with more apples: I try to fit in as many as possible, working with apple quarters if necessary.
    And no, cinnamon doesn’t have a place in this – but if I feel like going the extra mile, I brush the top with warmed-up apricot jam after baking.

  24. Sandy

    Hi Deb,
    Would using oil instead of butter work? We’ve got a three year old with a milk protein allergy thing going on, so no butter in this house. Thanks!

  25. Hanna

    Hi there,

    Just wanted to say that it was so wonderful to see you at Word on the Street yesterday, and you’ve totally turned me onto that spaghetti squash recipe (which I had eyed somewhat dubiously before). Thank you for coming up to Toronto!

    This cake is also going on my to-do list, now that it’s cool enough to actually bake again. Anything with apples in it is an automatic winner in my book.

  26. Miyo

    Hi deb! It was lovely to meet you at the word on the street festival yesterday! Thanks for the cookies and for signing my favourite cookbook! I was so excited when you mentioned this cake and I’m glad it didn’t take long to get posted! Eagerly awaiting your new book and til then I’ll continue to make my way through the old one, revisiting favourites along the way! I’m definitely more than 50% done!
    Come visit toronto again soon!

  27. Inna

    This looks gorgeous, and it’s great to have a new recipe to use for Rosh Hashana, instead of the old tired honey cake. So sorry I didn’t make it to Word on the Street yesterday, I would’ve loved to meet you. Next year!

  28. Megan

    Hi Deb,

    Since you were so kind as to create a caramel brownie recipe, I have another request: I could really use a good caramel apple recipe. I’ve tried doing it with my awesome homemade caramel, but it’s difficult to get a caramel that is not too thick (hard to coat with), or too thin (slips off the apple). I love/want/need caramel apples that have thick caramel that stays in place, with good bite, etc. If anyone can do it, you can!

    P.S. Caramel ice cream.



  29. Looks amazing and very timely! First, could I sub out almond flour for some of the ap flour? How much would you try, 1/4 cup or do you think I could try 1/2 cup?

  30. WHAT. I already have that cake stand and hardly use it as it seems a bit too “much” for day to day. I just purchased the plate and I and PUMPED.

    And oh, the cake looks good too. :)

  31. Laurie

    Hey Deb, Happy New Year! Thanks for an apple and honey recipe. Since none of our markets sell small apples–huge monster ones are the norm–I’ll have to be a bit creative in the slicing, but it shouldn’t be too hard to do.

  32. Meg

    Deb, it’s your fault I left my desk to run out to Union Square Greenmarket to pick up a bunch of tiny, perfect apples for this cake. Since I don’t own multiple bowls, I also cracked the eggs straight into the existing batter and beat it, and it turned out beautifully. It’s delicious; thanks so much.

  33. Joy

    It was pretty darn good the first day!
    lacking a springform pan I just used a square cake pan and a good coating of coconut oil (same temp, 35 minutes).
    Thanks for the cake inspiration, it balance out the kale lentil quinoa stew we ate for dinner!

  34. i was so excited when i saw this first thing on your blog today! it’s so perfect for rosh hashana! of course, i already made the delicious apple walnut cake (and the fig challah) from the book, but i might just make this too. i’m tempted :)

  35. Emilie

    Just yesterday I planned the holiday menu and am stuck on my babka, tarte tatin, and end-of-the-season peach crostata. But I think I need to work this in– maybe for a Thursday breakfast?

  36. Kiki

    When you say tiny. Do you mean crab apple tiny? Are there any other tiny types you could suggest? I would love to make this for Rosh Hashannah. Thanks

  37. Mikaela

    You’ve done a cool job of making this cake look creative and innovative. Was this more a hearty cake or a lighter cake? Knowing this might help people to decide what occasion to use it for.

  38. Gabrielle

    That cake looks amazing. What kind of apples would you recommend? I’m thinking more on the “Gala” side. And the salted honey glaze is a fantastic touch.

  39. jan dash

    okay- I went for years and years with 2 ten inch springform pans that I bought for one particular recipe, which I don’t even use anymore. Every cake I wanted to make called for an 8 inch pan and I just kept adjusting and getting second rate cakes. FINALLY I bit the bullet and bought an 8 inch pan – but where to put it???? Now you give me this recipe I want to try but it calls for a 9 inch. Oh Hel(p) Time/temp that would work for a 10 inch or an 8 inch PLEASE !@!!

  40. Beautiful cake! My German landlady makes an apple cake that looks just like this; when I asked for the recipe, she told me it required all these ingredients she could only get in Germany, but tried her best to translate it into American measurements. All that to say: I look forward to trying your recipe!

  41. Nurse Malka

    Looks delicious! So sad that you posted this after my baking day for this Rosh Hashana was completed, because I don’t think I’ll have time to squeeze this in. Maybe for Sukkot? Also, do you know if it can be increased for a 10 inch springform, and by how much? Thanks!

  42. Sorcha

    Wow, I’ve been waiting for the Rosh Hashana post but thought it wasn’t happening and was just going to make sharlotka but this looks perfect for dessert on the first night. Thanks Deb, כתיבה וחתימה טובה.

  43. Anna

    Hi Deb, this is a little like the American apple cake recipe from my Swedish grandmother. This is an easy delicious cake with cinnamon and lots of apple, good for either morning tea or dessert with whipped cream or vanilla icecream.
    Ingredients: 80g butter, 150 ml caster sugar, 1 egg (lightly beaten), 1 1/2 cups SR flour, 150 ml milk, 4-6 small-medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced, sprinkled with lemon juice, 2 tsp cinnamon mixed with 2 tbsp sugar, 30g cold butter, chopped into small cubes.
    Grease and flour a 8-9 inch springform pan. Heat oven to 350 F.
    Cream butter and sugar. Add egg. Stir in flour and milk alternatively, staring and finishing with flour. Put in spring form pan. Press apple pieces in concentric rings, vertically (so the round outside curve of the apple is on top). The cake should get very full of apple but keep squeezing them in until full. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and dot with butter. Bake 50 minutes approx.
    I always enjoy reading your blog, hope you enjoy this cake!

  44. berit

    Apfelkuchen fetzt!

    In other words, I have foregone the allspice theme and am already feasting on some delicious Christstollen. Nomnom. Can also be made in bite-sized form and then we call it Stollenkonfekt here.

  45. Marianne

    I just did it and it was cooked in 25 minutes, maybe because I used a bigger cake pan ? Anyway it smells so good and looks delicious, can’t wait to taste it :)
    Thank you for sharing this recipe !

  46. Jeanne

    Perfect! I have about 2 dozen small apples left from the bushel that I picked from a neighbors tree. I’ve dehydrated and frozen and made applesauce and apple butter and and and I was ready to give the rest away – this will be perfect for them! Thanks :-)

  47. Jessica

    I AM SO EXCITED. This showed up just as I was wondering what to bring to my parents’ Rosh Hashana meal. I am totally making this tomorrow, thank you so much for posting!!

  48. Geez, your writing is marvelous, Deb! I’m needing to work up an Appalachian version of an Italian torta de mele similar to this one, but where the whole sliced apples sink down into the cake. (cornmeal + sorghum syrup will be invited into the mix) Thanks for the inspiration.

  49. Jadina

    Oh yes, this cake is very common around here (Potsdam, Germany). No school bake sale without one. I like your idea of coating it with a salty honey glaze. I love sweet ans salty!

  50. Anna

    Hi Deb,
    Thank you for the lovely Rosh Hashana desert! I am wondering where you got your cake container with the glass dome. I really like it.

  51. stephanie

    i’m not sure if someone has mentioned this already, but if anyone is neurotic about not accidentally slicing all the way through the apple, you can set a chopstick at top & bottom so when you slice perpendicular to them, the knife will hit the chopstick before hitting the board/bottom of the apple. i picked up this trick the first time i attempted hasselback potatoes. (though this cake is of course way more forgiving if you slice all the way through.)

  52. deb

    Cake plate — See my response in Comment #10. In short, it’s not a set but separate parts from Crate and Barrel.

    Apple size — No, it doesn’t need to be crab apple tiny. I mean a tiny standard apple, if you can find. The smaller the apple, the more you’ll fit on top.

    Irene — You could probably go up to 1/2 cup without changing the cake too much.

    Megan — I agree! I should. Hopefully this fall.

    Miyo, Hanna — It was nice to meet you too!

    Sandy — I’d expect it to. You could also use a natural shortening or coconut oil, both of which are thick and could be whipped until fluffy with the sugar, as softened butter is.

    ATG — Do you mean the writing or the design? (A redesign is in the works, so I hope you mean the latter. I agree it’s overdue! Plus, we need more features.)

    Krista — Increasing the cake volume by 20 to 25% is indeed correct — I scale cake recipes by considering the bottom circumference of a pan, because I’d like to keep the cake height the same. A 10-inch pan has 123% the circumference of a a 9-inch pan. Happy baking!

  53. Rachel

    Hi Deb,

    This looks amazing! I’m thinking of making it for a Harvest Party/Baking Competition my friend has every year. The ingredient this year is apple, do you think there is a place in the recipe or glaze to add apple cider to really bring a pronounced apple flavor? Thanks so much!!

    PS. I love your cookbook, have it and have given it for at least 4 presents so far this year, everyone has a total favorite recipe from it now!! :)

  54. Stephanie VW

    I had a moment of excitement when I saw “Word on the Street” in your post and then a moment of relief when I saw it was the Toronto event and I hadn’t missed you at the event in Halifax, NS. This recipe is going on my list.

  55. Diana

    What perfect timing. I was craving your perfect plum torte and brought up the recipe to make this morning but realized I didn’t have enough plums. I do however have a dearth of apples from visiting an orchard last weekend and was trying to think how to adapt the torte recipe! This looks perfect. May be my first ”fall” baked good of the season… Trying to hold on to summer but it’s ever so surely slipping away.

  56. Danke, Deb!

    My German relatives made this when I was a child and I’ve been thinking about re-creating it for the last few years — but couldn’t find a recipe. Now, I’m set!

  57. Krista

    Thank you for your reply about the 9 vs. 10 inch pan! I am going to make this tonight to have for Rosh Hashanah dinner we’re hosting. So excited!

  58. lymore

    done and done. just came out of the oven and looks beautiful! i had some issues stiffening the egg whites, so i hope that doesn’t affect the taste. cannot wait to sample it at tomorrow night’s dinner. thank you!

  59. Grace

    I made this with pears but unfortunately my batter didn’t really rise as much as yours and the pears didn’t appear as sunken.. not sure what happened.. but I think either my baking powder is old or the fact my egg whites didn’t really stiffen, was more of a foamy mixture. Still looks really tasty though, thanks for sharing recipe!!

  60. Mad

    Deb, you are reading my mind this week. I have been making purple plum tortes like a maniac, using your recipe and my neighbor’s generous plum harvest. And after crisp-ing, pie-ing, and cider-ing my own seemingly endless apple crop, I was just wondering whether the torte might adapt to cute little apples on top. Now here you are with just the adaptation I needed, and just in time for Rosh Hashana. My adorable cake is just out of the oven (followed by yet another plum torte), and all I have left to do is restrain my menfolk from touching it until Thursday afternoon’s open house. Yum! And Shana Tova to you and yours.

  61. Connie

    An easy apple cake is just what the Dr ordered this week! Your plum torte has become a staple in my house. An easy trick so you don’t cut the apples all the way through is to place a chopstick on each side. Also a great trick for making Hasselback potatoes!

  62. Wendy

    I made this cake this afternoon but mine does not look like yours. The batter rose up and completely covered the apples. To look at this cake you would never know there is an apple in it. I’m sure it will taste just fine but it lost some of the “cuteness” factor without the apple rumps sticking through the batter. We have three apple trees so I’m sure I will get the chance to make this again before we are finished with apples for the fall.

  63. Lisa

    Just emailed my mother-in-law to ask if I can make this at her house for the end-of-Rosh-Hashanah Shabbat dinner she’s hosting. If she says no, I’ll just have to make it at my house this weekend after we get back!

  64. Laura

    Has anyone tried using an apple peeler-corer-slicer with this recipe? Those things save so much time and energy for someone like me who dislikes peeling apples! The apples would be neatly cut into thin slices, and unbaked would look exactly the same in the pan. I’m wondering if they would fan out at all though, since they would be unattached.

  65. Alison

    Which is your favorite apple cake recipe, this one or your mother’s traditional apple cake? Need to make one for the holidays. Thank you for all the options! May you and your family have a sweet New Year.

  66. I love that there is no cinnamon in this recipe! As crazy as it may sound, I am not a big fan of the apple/cinn combo. This sounds like the perfect cake for me to help use up the 5 pound bucket of apples sitting in my pantry. Thanks for sharing!

    1. deb

      Emma — I don’t see why not, although I sometimes find skillet cakes can brown a little too fast — you might want to slightly reduce the baking temperature.

      Alison — My mom’s is still my favorite, and ideal for a crowd. This is more of a snacking/everyday-style cake, and cuter.

      PKK — I haven’t worked at all with convection ovens, but from what I’ve read, they can bake things a lot faster (so check 3/4 the way through the suggested baking time) and because the heat is more effective, it can be best to bake at a temperature of 25 degrees less.

      Wendy/Grace — I am sorry to hear this. I had a hunch that results had the potential to be a bit variable — heavier apples or slightly larger eggs or lighter flour measuring might make for more sinkage. Or the inverse, lighter apples, really large ones, or a thicker batter might not sink much at all. I got the same results twice with different apple varieties and sizes, so I thought we’d be safe.

      ATG — Phew! Sheesh, I’m neurotic.

      Linda — It would be a little tricky. 1 cup self-rising flour is about equal to 1 cup regular flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt. So if you used 1 1/4 cups here instead, you’d have more salt than recommended and a little less baking powder than needed. But this isn’t to say that it wouldn’t work, just that I cannot predict it clearly from the outset.

  67. Lisa

    Will make this week. Apfelkuchen was one of the treasures that came to me courtesy of a German Oma, and now I can share it with my kids. Can,t believe I missed that you were going to be at Word! Food in Jars comes to Canada one weekend, and you the next, and I miss both! (Sigh) must do something about my kids’ schedules!

  68. Liz S.

    Sounds wonderful!
    Would a “push pan” work here in lieu of a springform pan, as long as one diligently cuts around the cake? And can it be inverted onto a plate to transfer it to a cake stand/plate?
    (My apologies, I won’t be able to see the photos until I log in from my home computer…)

  69. JackieD

    Just so you know, that purple plum torte was a complete revelation to me and I breathlessly waited for the plums to come to market this year so I could make it again. I abosolutely love it, I think I’ll keep it forever. Now that there’re two versions I’m even happier. Thanks!

  70. deb

    So, I made this last night and it looks beautiful – though not like the cake in your photos – but I figure that is because I had more apple (I couldn’t find anything close to small apples, though I only used 4). Could this also cause the baking time to be longer (with the extra liquid from the apples)? My cake took around 30 minutes longer than called for. Also, next time I think I might want to double the batter recipe if I have the same problem finding small apples. If so, would you double the entire list of batter ingredients?

  71. Sarah

    Just took out of the oven an 8″ version with pink-fleshed “pink pearl” apples. Gorgeous! They stay pink when cooked. The middle apple is almost completely covered by cake, which I’m sure wouldn’t’ve been the case if I’d used the 9″ pan, but otherwise the adjustment doesn’t seem to have done any harm. Can’t wait till it’s cool enough to eat!

  72. Miriam

    When sugar is listed in the recipe it says 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) I think the second should be teaspoons!
    Cooking this from Nepal!

  73. Christine

    Hi- this cake is currently in the oven for dinner at my inlaws tomorrow. I’m starting to get nervous- it is taking significantly longer to bake than you said it would. Help, please!

  74. kate

    Made it this morning for eve Rosh Hashanah dinner tonight. The house smelled delicious. Folding the beaten egg whites in was hard and I’m glad that you noted that in the recipe. Absolutely wonderful. May be a New Years tradition.

  75. EO

    I just made it and it turned out great! I used a melon-baller to core the apples, vanilla paste instead of extract, and gala apples. It did take closer to 50 minutes to bake for me but turned out lovely. I’m saving this recipe – thanks!

  76. Alyce

    I’ve made this cake 2 times now, one last night and one today. The cake i made today i fanned the apple slices around the top of the cake, it looks so beautiful! It says that this cake tastes best on day 2, but in my house hold this cake will never even make it past day one. Thank you for the recipe. It’s our new favorite x

  77. Celia

    I made two of these lovelies on Tuesday – one to take to work and one for a friend’s birthday, and they turned out beautifully (if a little flatter than I’d like because my cake tins were a little large for the job) but I do have one serious question: how on earth did you core those tiny apples?! Mine were smallish and it still took me forever and a nice little finger cut… Is it time for me to increase my kitchen gadgetry even more and stop holding out on an apple corer?

  78. Kate

    Hi Deb :)
    I know this is unrelated but I saw a comment on one of your instagram pictures about not being able to load your website for a few days and I don’t have an Instagram account so I’m commenting here.. I’m in Australia and I don’t know if I’m the only one but for about two weeks now I cannot load your website on any of my apple devices (iPad and iPhone) using the Internet provided (through Telstra) but if I connect to our home wireless it works fine. I know there’s nothing you can do about it but was just curious if anyone else is having any problems, I can’t figure it out!

    1. deb

      Kate — I’m so sorry this is happening. We’re looking into it right now. Thanks for the additional details. We’ll get this fixed very soon!

      JP, Miriam — Yes, I mean that 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons = 6 tablespoons total, in case someone doesn’t feel like using a 1/4 cup and a tablespoon measure for one small amount. Sorry for the confusion.

      Re, baking time variance — It sounds like for some people this cake bakes more quickly than suggested, for others, much longer. This probably has everything to do with apple varieties (how juicy they are), size and how many you’re able to put on (i.e. how much of the cake is covered with apples); the juicier or the more apples, the longer it will take to bake through. I’ll add a note that baking times can vary — the most important think is that a toothpick/tester comes out clean, not how long it’s been in.

      Liz — I had never even heard of a push pan before, but I Google it. It would probably work, especially if it’s not leaky. It can be flipped or even slid out onto a serving platter/cake plate.

  79. Deb!! I love this recipe!! (Actually I love all the recipes!) I love the way you write your blog, I love the humor, and the delicious sweetness to it. And what I love most of all about this particular post, is that your son looks SO excited to read his new books!! And you seem like SUCH a wonderful mom raising a boy who actually cares about more than the latest ipad app. I do not see this much lately. I see a lot of tech-obsession (more by the parents than the kids sometimes) and as someone who works with children, this makes me crazy!! So apologies for the tangent, but I’ve been meaning to write for some time and share this with you!!. Bravo!!! :)

  80. Rachel

    I made this cake this morning for my mom’s birthday party tomorrow. “Cute” is the right word for it, it looks and smells amazing! I used small Granny Smith apples and was able to fit 3.5 apples onto the cake. Mine looks a lot like debs picture. Super fun and cute recipe. Thank you!

  81. Jane

    Made this as written and it was superior. I fit five small apples. My springform is 9.5″ but it was fine.
    The apples reminded the Danes of hasselback potatoes – so maybe this is a German technique used for sweet and savory alike. I used convection for part of the time and the baking time was a little shorter so I just monitored and took I your when the toothpick came out clean.
    Thanks for helping kick our new year off right!

  82. I have one of those lists too. You seem a lot more organized than I am, but I’ve found it helpful to break the list down by season. That way, I’m not sifting through quite so much when I look at the list for inspiration.
    The apple cake looks delicious. I love simple, everyday kinds of cakes and I recently made some honey-ginger ice cream that is just crying out for an apple dessert to go with it. Also, thought you should know we’ve really enjoyed the corn and scallion strata you posted a few weeks ago.

  83. Liz S.

    Thanks – I bought a push pan to make your divine chocolate peanut butter cheesecake and found it to be less leaky than any springform I’ve ever used. It worked great for that recipe!

    1. deb

      Liz — That’s great to know! I should pick one up. They certainly seem more logical than a hinge pan. Maybe this will finally give me the excuse I need to buy a square springform.

  84. Hey Deb! Never apologize for not adding nutmeg/cinnamon/allspice/ginger/cloves! They have their place and time, and I was so so thrilled to see this recipe had none of those. My husband’s family over-nutmegs all their holiday pies. I get so pumpkin pied-out that this recipe is a refreshing change and I will be bringing it to holiday get-togethers to cut through the holiday spiciness!! I will hold my head up high and say “more for me then!”

  85. Sakura

    I think I made a mistake of using Granny Smith – they didn’t soften very much in the 45 minutes the cake was in the oven and they tasted funny too (from the lemon?). The cake (dough) part of good so I think I’ll give another try maybe with pears (the look of this cake reminds of Normandy Pear Tart!).

  86. B

    Just made this and it is beautiful and delicious (though, my fault for not reading it all the way through and being surprised by whipping the egg whites!). Followed the recipe step by step (and didn’t pack the flour – pour don’t sweep – we do have it a bit better here in Europe with weights) and it turned out perfectly. Thank you!

  87. I made this last night. It was simply ez and turned out to be a beauty! I used Jonathan apples. I was curious about the taste on the next day, as written in the recipe. ….but it is gone. It was a perfectly mild, not too sweet cake. A scoop of vanilla ice cream would have been a nice exclamation mark for this one.

  88. Jenny

    Hi Deb, on my iPad (mini) I have noticed the ‘surprise me’ button only works once, and after that it just keeps reloading the same page. Not sure if that’s related or maybe just my iPad but thought you’d want to know. Thanks! PS. the cake looks adorable and reminded my why I love autumn. So happy it’s here!

    1. deb

      Jenny — So, the read from my tech guy is that it’s a problem in Safari, so iPads big and small and computers using it as a browser. It’s a bug in Safari, so nothing we can do about it on our end, unless there’s another better WordPress randomizer out there (we are looking). Are you in a different browser now?

  89. Jenny

    Nope,still on iPad. It happens sometimes, but not all the time. And it’s generally a reminder I should stop browsing recipes and get back to work ;-) Thanks for looking into it.

  90. Caitlin

    I, like some others, made this with lingering late summer peaches and added (more than a splash) of bourbon to the honey glaze. It’s been out of the oven for just over an hour and is a third gone. I’m the only one home.

  91. Carlee

    Hi Deb and everyone else. First of all – I LOVE your blog so much and thank you for your beautiful food ideas and pictures. I made this wonderful cake for Rosh Hashana and read that you said it can keep up to five days at room temperature. I have to inform you sadly that the apple parts of the cake started getting moldy after four days of the cake being covered at room temperature. just wanted to let you know that it might be a good idea to recommend refrigerating it…. shana tova!!!

  92. Lisa

    Very lovely, would hug it if I could. I didn’t have any runny honey, so I made it with golden syrup. The cake came out all golden and caramel-y, perfect nest for tart little Granny Smith apples I had. Many thanks from NZ.

  93. Allison

    Deb, I want to make this cake, but I don’t have an electric mixer. Do you think it would turn out OK by hand? (By the way, it’s so useful in your cookbook that you give options for doing things by hand!) Also, do you think I can get away with baking it in a baking dish rather a springform pan? I saw someone else ask the question but didn’t see an answer. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Allison — Thank you. I definitely try to add those instructions where they apply. Cakes can always be made by hand (cake has existed longer than electric mixers, of course) but this cake, with the whipped egg whites, will be peskier than others. Still, not impossible, but you’ll get a good arm workout. For the creaming butter/sugar part, just let the butter get very soft at room temperature so it easily whisks. You probably won’t get that much air in the butter, but you should be fine.

      Carlee — Yikes, I’m so sorry and that’s totally my fault because I made an assumption and… the same thing happened to me. Plus fruit flies, even under the dome, shudder. I’ll update the recipe now, as I should have a few days ago when I realized this!

  94. Glenda

    My batter was too thick to work with, so I ended up adding about 1/4 of half & half, I should have done that before trying to fold in the egg whites (not much folding happened). I sprinkled with a little cinnimon-sugar and it turned out great.

  95. Stephanie

    Made it today! It was a big hit, everyone enjoyed it! Could only fit 2.5 med/large apples. Probably could have trimmed the last half to fit in the middle.

  96. Caroline

    I just basked this cake this morning and told my husband it will be better tomorrow . He (nor I) could resist a taste. It’s so simple and so yummy. Will definitely bake another today for work. Another great recipe. Thanks!

  97. Britt

    I adapted this to be gluten-free with just a few tweaks.

    I only used 1/2 cup butter (because almond flour is higher in fat and other gluten-free flours don’t absorb fat as well as all-purpose wheat flour).

    I used 1/3 cup almond flour and 1 cup of an all-purpose gluten-free flour mix that included xantham gum. (If you don’t have that on hand, try 1/3 cup brown rice flour, 1/3 c white rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca starch, 1/2 teaspoon xantham gum.)

    I did not pour the extra lemon juice on the apples once they were on the cake because the batter can’t handle the extra liquid.

    The apples sank all the way to the bottom of the pan, so it didn’t have the same delightful presentation, but everyone who tried the cake has complimented it.

    Don’t be afraid to try this as a gluten-free cake!

  98. Happy New Year and thanks for this world-repairing recipe. The cake was unbelievably easy to make and fast…I made the whole thing during a brief playdate with help from two 2nd-graders and one 3rd-grader and somehow the thing still looked elegang. I’ve always wanted a honey cake recipe that tasted of honey without being dripping/soggy/over-the-top fattening. And here it is.

  99. Sasha

    I’ve made this twice in the last few days and both times it has been a little dry. I watched it super carefully the second time and took it out around 30 minutes and that did not seem to help much. And ideas ? It’s STILL a great cake — tasty, pretty and original. We especially loved the pretty display, the fine crumb, and the salty-sweet honey glaze.

    1. deb

      Sasha — Was it better on day 2 or 3? As I mentioned, I found this cake to be much nicer in crumb on Day 2, as the apple’s juices sink further into the batter.

  100. Shawn

    Hi Deb,

    I LOVE this recipe. It was a huge hit at my Rosh Hashanah dinner. Question – what are your thoughts on substituting the flour for whole wheat flour?

    Thank you!

  101. BCE

    I made this for a pot-luck party and it came out very thin so my apples did not really sink. I used a little larger apples and only 3.5. I think I might have over folded, but had a really hard time combining without doing so… ideas?
    L’Shana Tovah

  102. Jill

    I made this today (so obviously we have only had it on day 1) but I was just wondering what kind of texture the apples are supposed to have after baking? I am using apples from my CSA, so I’m not entirely sure what kind they are but for eating plain they are tart and firm and delicious. The cake was in the oven for just under 45 min and the apples are partially cooked tasting but then still pretty crunchy in the middle, which just seems to clash with the rest of the cake texture.
    The cake itself is very nice, not super sweet and has a really good crumb. I’m just wondering if we would like it more with a softer apple. Any recommendations?

  103. Jill

    Oh, also wanted to add that my cake rose so much it completely covered the apples by the time it was finished cooking! So it didn’t look at all like yours since the whole top was just cake.

  104. Sasha

    There was HARDLY any left — slightly dry did not stop anyone from inhaling it — so I didn’t notice, but now that you mention it, i think the crumb WAS moister on Day 2. I am still going to try to get it moister on Day 1 one more time by taking it out a little earlier, just to see. Thanks, Deb!

  105. MN

    Deb, i’ve relied on your weekly posts for so many dinner inspirations, but have noticed lately that there is much more of a bent towards baking/other recipes, and not main dinner entrees. Purposeful change, sweet tooth, or just a coincidence?

    1. deb

      MN — You’re probably correct. I find this time of year — September, new school, crazed schedule — absolutely chaotic and it’s leading to hastier dinners (usually, old favorites) and more carefully vetted out ideas when I have time to cook. That said, we’ll talk about some eggs and this new greens dish next week, if all goes well, and I hope they’ll both become staples.

  106. laurie

    Hi all, just a quick $0.02 from me —

    I made this with granny smiths (2.5 med/large ones) and it was fantastic. Bake time a hair over 40 minutes and we didn’t find it to be dry. I didn’t add the honey glaze. Like another poster I also found some mold growing on a leftover slice, held till day 4 in a ziplock, so others might want to consider just eating up in the first day or two :)

    I’ll agree the batter was a bit challenging to “fold” in for the second 1/4 egg white — the resulting cake was so fantastic that I won’t be discouraged from going through it again :)

  107. This recipe was fab! Perfect with a cup of tea in the afternoon or warm with a dollop of icecream. And if any of you realise at the last minute that you have completely run out of baking powder (like I did. oops!), just sub in 1/2tsp of soda & 2tsp lemon juice to replace the baking powder. Still turned out great! Cheers Deb!

  108. A New Jersey baker

    Does every serving include one small apple or do the apples get soft enough to slice through them without breaking the cake?

    1. deb

      Not every serving includes a full apple half, but the ones that don’t will include part of one and part of another, so the equivalent same amount. Small apples should have no problem baking until tender in the suggested baking time.

  109. JP

    We went apple picking (golden delicious) at a friend’s home and picked 4 tiny apples on purpose just so I could make this cake. Made it this afternoon and it looks just like yours Deb. Have wrapped it carefully in plastic wrap and refrigerated it because we are going out of town and will return just in time for a pot luck dinner. I plan to take the cake out of the fridge, hopefully so it can return to room temperature and then glaze it. Hope it tastes as good as it looks!

  110. Mindy’s Kitchen

    Delicious!! I could not find small apples so I quartered the Jonagold apples I had. It worked great! Where the apple covered a fair amount of the cake, there was enough space for the cake to puff up nicely around the apples. Enjoyed a slice with my morning coffee.

  111. Alison

    Hello from London, UK. I made this tonight and it was so so so delicious and clever – loved it. We ate it hot (shock horror!) and it was delicious. It reminds me of a sophisticated take on pineapple upside down cake, if that was ever popular in the US.

    I really enjoy your blog. Your onion tart recipe conquered my pastry phobia, so thank you.

  112. SM

    Deb, I regularly bake your recipes with success, but am so excited by this one. This will be my go-to Rosh Hashanah dessert in future years! I didn’t quite get my act together to make it in time this year, so ended up making it for Yom Kippur Break Fast, cause I couldn’t wait to try it out. It is really a perfect early fall cake, and apples-and-honey is as a we all know a winning combination. (Note: my apples were more “medium” size, which was the smallest I could find, and I used 3.5 apples, with slightly more baking time to get to cooked through).

  113. Charlotte

    I recently discovered your blog and this is the first recipe I tried. It was amazing! Quite simple to make and it turned out exactly like the one in your pictures :) A week after baking it, I still had a bunch of apples left and then you conveniently posted the recipe for the Russian appel cake, and that turned out great as well! Thanks for the recipes and the entertaining blogs, greetings from the Netherlands!

  114. Alison

    Just a PS to my previous post – what do you think this would be like if you didn’t peel the apple? I thought a little burst of colour might be nice – will try this next time and report back…

  115. Susan

    I’ve been wanting to make for the last two weeks and tonight (thanks to a trip to the orchard yesterday) I did. Gorgeous-looking (just like your photos), beautiful crumb, and such a lovely balance of flavors — it’s a great departure from the “pie spice” flavors that usually accompany apples. My husband hates cinnamon, so he really appreciated its absence here, and the picky one of my two sons ate two slices! Will bring leftovers to compete with our Swiss friend’s chocolate mousse tomorrow night.

    Love the blog — you’ve never steered me wrong.

  116. Naomi

    Made this cake with my daughter for our Yom Kippur dinner, and it was a huge hit! That being said, I wasn’t sure about your recommended butter measurement
    Not sure if this has already been mentioned in the comments, but there was a difference between the measured butter recommendation (1/2 cup plus) and the weight (125 gm) – we went with the lower amount, based on my experience making German type apple and plum kuchen – but we were wondering… we love smitten kitchen -keep these wonderful recipes and stories coming!

  117. Katie

    Made this today for a dinner party tonight and it got rave reviews, would absolutely make again! I had a bit of trouble cutting the cake with the parchment paper under, so ended up flipping on a waxpaper lined- plate, peeling it back and flipping right side to serve.
    Also, I don’t know if this will be helpful to anyone, but I live at high-ish altitude (5,000 feet) and the cake was perfectly done at 30 minutes, I don’t know if that even makes sense in terms if high-altitude baking science, but there ya go.
    Thank you, Deb, for another wonderful recipe!

  118. Emily

    Made this yesterday – delicious! I ended up using 3 apples, since two were on the medium end of small. The majority of my apples were COMPLETELY engulfed by the batter, however. Two halves disappeared completely! I’m chalking this up to the fact that I was about two tablespoons short on flour, so I added in some self-rising flour, as I was way too lazy to go to the store. I held back a teeny bit of baking powder to compensate, but the cake still rose impressively! Super tasty even if mine didn’t end up quite as cute as Deb’s. Will DEFINITELY make again.

  119. Pamela

    Hi I just came across the Red velvet recipe and your comments about the “red” hue,,it should get,,well after 40 yrs,I stumbled across the prefect,no egg recipe,,moist,,dark cherry red(no red dye!)color,and yummy chocolate taste.I read the rules about not posting recipes,,my friend made it,,I loved it,but it wasn’t red,,it was dark chocolate color,,I loved the taste,so I make it,,red velvet every time,,,I’ll share the exact ingredients to get the perfect red velvet cake-without red dye if you would like.

  120. Fallon

    I just made this for a dinner party the other night. Pretty much had to because it was so dang pretty….and it was delicious! Mine however did not raise as high, I whipped the egg whites by hand so I wonder if I didn’t get them stiff enough, therefore the dough did not get as airy and it didn’t rise as high. Also, I used one less apple chunk, so I’m wondering if with less apple volume it stayed flatter…hmmm. Either way it was beautiful and delicious. Thank you! – Fallon

  121. Betsy

    I just made this cake for dinner in Cairo and it was a huge hit. I used Syrian apples, and only used three and a half as some were bigger apples. But it turned out amazing. Thank you once again!

  122. Anna

    perfect for Oktoberfest or simply a quiet fall evening! Thanks for sharing. I added Calvados to the dough, as I found some German recipes call for it and was also going to add almond slivers but oops ran out.

  123. Allison

    I successfully made this and I can now declare that I’ve made my first official cake! I did it all by hand, as well, and used a baking dish because that’s what I had. I have to say, it looked incredible when it came out of the oven, but then I added the honey mixture and it lost its appeal. Others liked it, but everyone pretty much agreed it was too sweet. Next time I’ll skip the honey glaze. But it was still beautiful and exciting to have made my first cake!

  124. Cate

    I baked this for visiting friends over the weekend, and it was such a hit! The recipe was robust enough that it turned out PERFECTLY despite the fact that I had a 2.5 year-old “helping” me with the measurements! I agree with Allison – next time I won’t bother with the honey-salt glaze – it was such a lovely delicate cake but I felt the extra honey overwhelmed it.

  125. Merryl

    Receipe looks terrific. Can it be made ahead and frozen? I’d like to get a head start on Thanksgiving baking, finally found tiny Lady Apples and would like to use them now but would have to freeze the cake. Is this a can do? Thanks

  126. I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and with excellent Kashmiri apples we made it last night. We all loved it, and despite protests of how we were all “full” finished half of it between my husband and me and a guest :-) I am definitely saving this for future makes.

  127. Gracelyn

    Is it possible to store the apple cake in the refrigerator on the second day and re-heat the cake? Or is it alright to eat the cake cold from the refrigerator?

  128. Cat

    I made this cake tonight for my daughter’s 2nd birthday and it was wonderful! Not too sweet, subtle honey flavor, lots of juicy apple, and totally adorable. My only regret is that it disappeared so quickly, we won’t be able to try it the second day! I’ll just have to make it again. :)

  129. Katya

    One of the easiest, and yes, cutest cakes to make. It’s just so adorable when you take it out of the oven =) Someone suggested adding Calvados, so I’ll give it a try next time.

    1. deb

      Stacey — They both can be, though I would probably, given the choice, freeze my mom’s first because it’s huge and already very moist. This has a glaze which may not be as lovely once defrosted.

  130. I just made this and wanted to offer 2 notes! 1. I used pears since I had them on hand–they were great! And 2. Do make sure to check done-ness with the toothpick. My cake was brown and looked perfect, but wasn’t quite cooked in the middle yet. This cake was SO good. I’m definitely making this again. Not too sweet, beautiful, just such a nice, simple, delicious flavor.

  131. maryb

    Made this, loved it. Used small Gala apples, which held their shape well and had great flavor. Baked it in a 9″ fluted ceramic pie plate buttered heavily, so it looked very pretty without leaving the pan. Had to bake it several minutes longer than suggested, maybe because of the different pan. Cake is moist, buttery, flavorful and finely grained. It tastes and looks special without being fussy, perfect as a morning pastry or for afternoon tea time. This recipe is going into my favorites.

  132. Carrie

    I know others have mentioned questions regarding pan size. I have a 10 inch springform. Can you give me the necessary extra amounts for the 20% more for each ingredient. I can’t quite figure it out and dont want a disaster on my hands!!! Thanks. Love your recipes!!!

  133. Tina

    My mother used to make this all the time and I never got the recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. Brings back a lot of memories – can’t wait to make it.

  134. I made this last night with Joangold apples and it is great! I even cooked it too long (I really need an oven thermometer, I think ours is off by several degrees), and the bottom got really brown, but it’s still tasty. Having it for breakfast with a cup of tea right now.

  135. Alexandra Martin

    Just made this for a barbeque and it was a huge hit! There was a girl who doesn’t like cooked apples and she LOVED it! Small addition…. Pumpkin spice sprinkled over the top. I couldn’t help myself! Served with ice cream. Delicious. Thank you SO much for this recipe!

  136. beh72

    Very easy and good. This needed a lot more time in my oven though–came out browned on top, done on edges and raw in middle. Had to put back in for an extra 30 minutes with foil kind of draping over the outer edges so they wouldn’t get overdone. Maybe the apples were extra juicy. Don’t know, but regardless there was no problem in the eating department in my household.

  137. Kara

    I am having trouble with the baking time, as some have mentioned above. It is either raw in the middle and perfect on the outside or woefully overdone all around. Any tips?

  138. Catherine

    I made this tonight and my bf said its one of the best desserts I’ve ever made! Thanks!! I don’t have an electric mixer/beater so I beat the egg whites by hand which was pretty awful. Lol Can this be made without separating the eggs or not beating the whites into stiff peaks?

  139. Rashmi

    Hi Deb!

    I love this recipe, it’s really fabulous. I wanted to know if we can substitute the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour?

    1. deb

      Both the dome and the plate were from Crate and Barrel, but not a set. The dome comes with a glass cake pedistal, and was a wedding present in 2005 (!) and, wow, they still have it. The wooden plate is at this link. Use a good wood oil on it and you can keep it pretty for years or I did until I dropped it last year and now I have a thinner one that’s way less nice.

  140. May Rosenthal

    I cannot get over how glorious this cake looks. To add a bit of camp to the adorable, I made it using apples that my friend’s dad gave me from his tree, not realising they were a perfectly blushing pink!

  141. Chelsea

    I am SO, SO confused. I made this recipe, to the t, last Rosh Hashanah, and it came out perfectly. I eagerly made a mental note to add it to my annual Rosh Hashanah rotation.

    I made it this year, again the exact same way. After baking for a total of one FULL hour, the cake remained entirely raw on the inside. The top was baked, but that’s it. Oddly enough, even though the cake was raw, it still rose.

    I went back through 4 times to confirm I didn’t leave anything out.

    Any ideas? I also took a photo if that is helpful.

    1. Erin

      I made this last weekend and It was delicious but 30 minutes into baking the cake nearest the apples was super wet and the edges were totally overdone. Maybe I should’ve pulled it out anyway and let the cake finish cooking as it cooked?

      I ate it anyway and the flavor was amazing. Just not sure how to get the texture correct.

  142. Evelyn

    I have just made this for Rosh Hashanah – what a wonderful end to our meal!
    I mixed apple chunks thru the cake rather than the halves you used (not as pretty, but I had completely gargantuan apples!), and made it a couple of days in advance and kept it refrigerated. The glaze really helped to bring the cake back to its best after being kept cold for 2 days.
    I did cover the cake with foil mid way thru cooking because it was getting a bit too brown on top – so thanks to other readers for the tip to watch baking times. And without a springform tin, I found that a well greased and floured tin released to cake very easily.
    Thanks for a delightful cake!

  143. Rebecca

    This cake was such a hit. Perfectly sweet – but not too sweet. Incredibly moist – but not too moist (though with desserts I’m not sure there is such a thing?). My father, in the baking industry his whole life, gave it 2 thumbs up and requested that this become “my thing” and that it make a repeat appearance next new year! I just love how it looks super fancy, but it really comes together so easily! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (I threw in a few extra since I just LOVE this site and make your recipes often!)

  144. Eve

    Deb, I just wanted to say thank you– I just made this and it was incredible. I don’t even know if it is going to last the evening with 3 of us. I used several tiny Lady apples and sliced them in quarters, not halves– they were too small to core– but that actually worked really well because there were more and smaller apple lodes. And it still looked gorgeous. I will definitely make this again.

  145. JessR

    I misread the recipe and added the eggs in whole (forgot to whip the egg whites). The cake still turned out great! the apples didn’t sink quite so much, but the taste and texture was good – will make again (and read/follow the recipe properly!).

  146. I used blueberries instead of apple – just dotted a few on the top. They added a slight tartness vs. the honey and each one “leaked” a little color around it so they looked really pretty.

    1. Sophia Weston

      I used a combination of flours; rice, spelt, and all purpose. I think you could substitute all purpose, I could see it working with almond meal, I have no idea about quantities though.

  147. Jill

    I always find your storage times amusing. Store at room temp for three days and then in the fridge for longer periods. Ha! Your baked goodies would never sit around that long. Never.

  148. Delicious, delicious, delicious! I made this tonight for my husband’s birthday, and it was so tasty – well-balanced with the salt, impressive to look at, and really nice with lightly sweetened whipped cream. My only suggestion would be that you don’t have to use a whole 1/4 of hiNE for the glaze. I’d try an 1/8 cup and then use table salt or fine sea salt, because my second salt didn’t disolve well at all. Still, as I said before, it was delicious!

  149. Lindsay Byres

    Made this for Canadian thanksgiving last week and it was such a hit! Though I was a tad intimidated at first, the recipe proved not to be too fussy at all. My one blunder might have been drizzling the lemon and sugar reside on top of the apples before baking… that part of the cake took longer than the rest to set, and resulted in a drier crumb cake texture overall. BUT it was relentlessly cute, the salted honey glaze was the things dreams are made of, and it was well received by even my pickiest eaters.

  150. M-C

    So first let me specify that I made this because I adored the sunken plum version so much 😀. And this is the apple equivalent. But you should pay attention to really fanning out the apples when you put them in, so you have a better chance of them cooking thoroughly. It probably didn’t help that I picked out my usual very crisp favorites, a mushier variety would probably do better here..

  151. Joan Perrucci

    I like the flavor of the cake, the apples went really nicely with the honey. However, it was overbaked on the bottom while the cake around the apples was slightly underbaked. Not sure if this is because of the extra liquid i poured on top from the apples. If reducing the time it spent in the oven to keep it from overtaking, won’t that just make the portion around the apples way too underbaked to eat?

  152. Sophia Weston

    This was my first time making a cake! I’m so happy it worked out. It was really easy to make, easy to follow instructions. I love how it looks and it taste delicious! My apartment is covered in the smell of apples baking. Looking forward to tasting the cake tomorrow on the second day and comparing. Perfect for a cozy, overcast, winter afternoon.

  153. Tzipi

    THIS is the magnificent honey cake I’ve been searching for! It was done at 38 minutes. Excited to make it for Rosh HaShanah in two weeks.

  154. Sara Dolansky

    I made this cake to bring to a host’s house for 2nd night of Rosh Hashanah. It was delicious! I had made the cake just before Rosh Hashanah began (so over a day earlier) and I think that that gave time for flavours to improve/amplify. The cake comes out light in colour and has a subtle taste – not what many of us who were raised on dark, spicy honey cakes are used to – but what made it special was the custardy taste and texture of the portions in and around the sunken apple sections. (And thankfully I had sunk many sliced apple halves into my cake!) It was divine! I plan to make more for breaking the fast and for Sukkot! Thanks for a great recipe!

  155. Anna

    I beat the egg whites by hand, so that, combined with the fact that some yolk got into the whites meant that I did not get to stiff peaks (or even soft peaks) before adding to the rest of the batter. In addition, my only springform is 9.5″ so the batter looked quite thin when spread out. It seemed to be browning too quickly after 15 or so minutes, so I lowered the temp to 325.
    And yet… none of that seemed to matter much. The cake is still wonderful, even more so after the first day (stored at room temp). Perfect balance of sweetness and substance to be both breakfast and dessert cake!

  156. Flannery

    This cake truly never fails. It gives even mediocre apples a higher purpose. It is lightly sweet, a perfect everyday cake. It has served me so well for multiple occasions–a birthday cake for a friend who prefers simple desserts, a reliable treat for dinner parties, and an easy going weekend bake. I made it again today, heavily laden with a few large apples. Thanks for one to bake and bake again, Deb!

  157. pekmez

    I adapted this even further – instead of tiny sunken apples I topped it with slices of two leftover caramel apples we’d made a few days ago with a too-hard coating, and that was DEFINITELY worth doing. Still put the honey glaze on top.

  158. Julia

    My daughter made this for Rosh Hashana last night. It was truly the best cake I’ve ever had – and I don’t like cake. So symbolic for the holiday. Tak!

  159. Adam R

    I swapped the butter for applesauce to make a nondairy/parve version for Rosh Hashanah and it was absolutely delicious (though I haven’t had the original to compare). I also greased the pan with evoo spray which I thought would be tasty and then just didn’t notice it.

    Last, here’s a suggestion if you have extra glaze leftover in the pot like I did: reheat it after dinner and toss in some almonds and sesame seeds, stir for a few minutes, then spread on a pan and roast for 15 minutes at 350 then let cool. No waste, and easy honey roasted nuts.

  160. debra jacobson

    Specifying apple type would be helpful because water content and maintenance of structure varies: ie cortland, delicious, etc. Also apple weight for similar reasons– no one wants so much liquid in the batter as to render a pudding:-)

  161. Max

    I’ve made this recipe twice now- once for Rosh Hashanah and then again one when my 8year old guest requested a reprise. I was wondering- do you think it is possible to freeze this cake? I wanted to make tomorrow for Rosh Hashanah and then bring some on Friday to a dinner. Could I/should I freeze it in between?

  162. Caroline S.

    This is in the oven now and the batter tasted great! Just a plug in the comments for updating this with weighted measurements when you have a chance :)))

  163. Amanda

    We made this for a Rosh Hashanah dinner this year. It was our first and we didn’t know what to bring. We ended up making this cake and got tons of compliments. It turned out wonderful!

  164. kk

    Sorry if this is obvious but when the directions switch from beat to mix (salt and baking powder) does that mean to switch to a spoon?

  165. Ariadne

    Deb, I’ve been making this cake for Rosh Hashanah for nearly a decade now, and it’s the only Rosh Hashanah cake my now-college-aged son knows or remembers. And now he’s in college. 16 hours away. He can’t come home for Rosh Hashanah this year, so I’d love to send him Rosh Hashanah cake in a care package. Do you suppose baking this in a loaf tin – as a half batch or whatever else – would work at all? Any suggestions for how to bake this so a college freshman can have a little bit of home on the high holy days?

    1. deb

      Aw, what a great mama you are. I suspect this will be fine in a loaf pan, but if you’re pouring the batter in and it’s very close to the top, I’d ladle some into ramekins just to be safe. Bake it on a tray, just in case.

      1. Ariadne

        I’m so sorry I didn’t see this reply! Thank you so much for your help, and I will do exactly those things. I’m gonna give it a shot today so I’ve still got time for a redo in case it, you know, has its own ideas.

  166. Ariadne

    I’m so sorry I didn’t see this reply! Thank you so much for your help, and I will do exactly those things. I’m gonna give it a shot today so I’ve still got time for a redo in case it, you know, has its own ideas.

  167. Yozhik

    I am so confused-I’ve made this cake countless times before and it’s worked like a charm. I made it three times this weekend. The first one was perfect, but the last two were overcooked on the top and totally runny and raw in the middle. I thought the second attempt may have been from too much liquid from the lemon sugar coating, but I was careful about how much I used on the third attempt. What am I doing wrong???