Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

I told you all about Pop-pop Roy in my Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings post not too long ago. Mom-mom Mary was his wife and a fantastic, much loved Grandma.

Mom-mom Mary & Pop-pop Roy (on left) shortly after they were first married

She wasn’t one of those old fashioned Nannas that would just sit in a chair knitting. She was really funny, loved to laugh and actually liked to play with us when we were kids. I mean really play, like running around outside, swinging on swings, digging in the dirt and building forts.

Me (at 9 months) & Mom-mom Mary

Mom-mom Mary & her pup Wrecker

One of my earliest memories of her is hanging out in the kitchen watching her make this Jewish Apple Cake, which she did quite often. There always seemed to be one available for snacking on in her kitchen. I was super impressed that she could peel an apple and manage to have one long continuous apple peel. I never peel an apple to this day that I don’t think of her and try to keep that peel in one piece. Before she passed away, she was kind enough to give me a enameled butterfly pin that her brother had given her years before. I carried this butterfly with me pinned to my bridal bouquet on my wedding day and thought it should make an appearance in the pictures of her Jewish Apple Cake.

Grandma's Butterfly on my Wedding Bouquet

I must admit, I’ve often wondered why it was a “Jewish” Apple Cake. My family is not Jewish, so I kind of always wondered where she got the recipe and why it was “Jewish”. I did a bit of poking around online recently and discovered that Jewish Apple Cakes are a regional favourite found in bakeries from Philadelphia, PA down to Baltimore, Md. My family is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so that did make sense. No one seems to know if the cake actually has any Jewish connections. The cake does not contain any dairy, using oil and orange juice instead. So it could be eaten with meals that include meat in accordance with Jewish dietary rules. However, I also read that it may have no Jewish connection at all and actually be a Pennsylvania Dutch cake that has been mistakenly named as Jewish because it seemed to have and “old-world” character about it.

One thing you won’t be mistaken over is how delicious this cake is. As I mentioned previously, Pop-pop Roy didn’t eat many sweets, but he would always have a bite or two of her Jewish Apple Cake. It’s no wonder, because this cake is irresistable. Dense, very moist, not too sweet and chock full of sugar cinnamon coated apples. A real winner for breakfast, dessert or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea. The cake is very easy to make and will not disappoint. Make sure you peel your apples so that you are left with one long continuous peel for each apple. I think they might actually taste better if you do. :)

Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

recipe from: My Grandma

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 – 5 Apples, sliced (I used MacIntosh)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a tube cake or Angel cake pan.

Mix sugar and oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Add Eggs, salt, 1 1/2 Cups of flour, orange juice, baking powder and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 Cup flour.

Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1″ cubes. In a medium sized bowl, toss sliced apples with the cinnamon and sugar.

In greased tube pan, alternate layers of the apple/cinnamon, sugar mixture and batter, starting with the batter.

Bake for 1 1/4 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Place on rack to cool. You can remove sides of pan after about 15- 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

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20 Responses to Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

  1. Simply Tia says:

    That looks like 1,000 kinds of awesome!! I will be saving this recipe to try next time I feel up to an apple dessert! Yummy.

  2. Alyssa says:

    Just found your blog, and so glad I did! Great story and the cake looks wonderful! Would apple juice work instead of orange juice?

  3. Yummy! Your cake and photography are mouthwatering…

    Jeanna

  4. This cake is beautiful, as well as the story behind it. It’s just lovely. And the photographs are awesome! Well done! :-)

  5. leah says:

    beautiful looking cake, and a really nice story to go with it. You’ve helped inspire me to be asking my family to share their recipes and take a stroll down memory lane myself. oh and your cake is definately going on my list to try. thank you

  6. Bonariferus says:

    We had my mother in laws surprise birthday party this weekend, and this is her favorite cake. With much deliberation and research, I chose this recipe. I chose it for a number of reasons, I loved the story behind your cake. And the pictures are wonderful, I think the butterfly also made me choose it. Her very adored uncle, who passed away, they say he comes around as a butterfly, and they cooked together a lot. It was delicious, she was impressed and it was my first time cooking it. Beautiful story, and cake, thanks for the help.

  7. Stacy says:

    I found this through Pinterest and have made it twice now. Thank you so much for such a delicious recipe. It’s a favorite of my mother’s…something her friend used to make, so you’ve contributed to the remembrance of another treasured memory :)

    • liadh1 says:

      I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying it! I just made one and substituted 1 cup of coconut oil for the regular vegetable oil I have used in the past. It worked out very well and was perhaps a bit more moist. I think I’ll make one the regular way today and see if the coconut oil does make a difference.

  8. Tara Davis says:

    Lea… we devoured this cake – I have told everyone about how good it is…. was…. ! Ah-Mazing – Feel free to try out any of your recipes on us… we will gladly be your test subjects!

    Your fans at The Towers! ;)

  9. Karen says:

    I just got a bushel of apples to can, guess who’s making cake this week!!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Dee says:

    This cake looks awesome. Am wondering if it could be made in a silicone bundt style pan.Are you familiar with them. I used to have a tube pan and lent it out years ago and somehow never got it back. If you think it makes a difference I will just go buy another.

  11. suemcgowan says:

    I have made this cake so often in the past thirty years or so. At one time my youngest son said this cake was better than sex. The one change to the recipe that I do is I use almond flavoring instead of vanilla. Try it sometime it is soooo good!!!!

  12. wedding says:

    Hello! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok.
    I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look
    forward to new updates.

  13. […] Grandmother, of the Jewish Apple Cake fame, always made me a Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Frosting for my birthdays. […]

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