A is for Apple Cake

Jewish Apple Cake, gluten-free

A traditional Rosh Hashanah dessert: Jewish apple cake.
I love this photo, taken in my living room!

Shanah Tovah! Best wishes for a happy Rosh Hashanah and a sweet new year. We’re getting this new year off to a tasty start, with a gluten-free version of traditional Jewish apple cake.

My mother is famous for her Jewish apple cake, laced with apples that she plucks from the trees in her back yard. I’ve always wondered, though, what makes the apple cake “Jewish.” Really, I didn’t know that cakes could have a religion. The answer seems to be that the cake is made with vegetable oil and orange juice, instead of butter and milk, thus making it pareve (neither dairy nor meat). Apple cake is also a favorite dessert for Rosh Hashanah, when we eat apples dipped in honey to symbolize hopes for a sweet new year.

Mom’s recipe worked surprisingly well in its gluten-free version. I substituted gluten-free flours, added xanthan gum (a binder for GF baking) and left the rest of the recipe intact. The cake is moist and bursts with the flavors of apples and cinnamon.

Jewish Apple Cake, Gluten-Free

(gluten-free, pareve, dairy-free)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
printable recipe


  • 2 1/3 cups brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 large apples, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 10-inch tube pan or bundt pan with cooking oil spray (make sure spray does not contain flour).
  2. In a large bowl, gently whisk together the brown rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum and baking powder. Set aside.
  3. Remove 5 tablespoons of sugar (from 2 cups) and mix the 5 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on sliced apples, coating them well.
  4. In a mixer, beat eggs and the remainder of the sugar for 5 minutes. Add vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla and beat well. Slowly beat in flour mixture.
  5. In the prepared tube or bundt pan, pour one-third of the batter, then one-half of the apples. Pour another third of the batter, smoothing the batter so it settles around the apples. Add the rest of the apples and a last layer of batter, smoothing the batter again.
  6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the cake looks golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cake cool completely in the pan for at least 1 hour. Run a spatula around the edges to loosen the cake before inverting it onto a plate.

Yield: 12 servings



Filed under desserts, Jewish holidays, Recipes

12 responses to “A is for Apple Cake

  1. Kayla

    I am going to use your gluten free version. I have already made the “regular” version earlier today…I think that recipe must be the same as yours!


  2. Sheila

    Hi, this sounds just like the recipe I’ve used for years – except that you’ve made it gluten free – so I’m thrilled to try it. I have a question, though, which I don’t know if you can answer. When I have made this cake with regular flour, etc… it freezes beautifully – so I can make it ahead of time and defrost in time to serve on the holiday, leaving more time for the things that have to be made that day, like potatoes and veggies. Any chance you’ve tried freezing the gluten free recipe you posted? or have any idea how long it would stay fresh if you don’t freeze it? Thanks so much, I always look forward to your blog. Sheila


  3. Marilyn Becker

    Looks great–as good as mine ever looked, and I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks. We have tons of apples on our trees. Wish you could come and pick some.


  4. Phyllis Adams

    Can’t wait to try it! Looks delicious! And considering the source of the recipe, I know it will be!

    Phyllis Langsam Adams


  5. Looks really lovely. Never had or made an apple cake – I really ought to.


  6. Jay Pechman

    Oh this looks heavenly. I can’t get over the photo and how high the cake is. Sounds like a perfect cake for the crisp, fall weather just around the corner.


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