Shana Tova! Rosh Hashanah is upon us, and we have a sweet recipe from our favorite “NYT Bestselling NJB” (as Jake Cohen describes himself on Instagram!) The author of Jew-Ish: Reinvented Recipes From a Modern Mensch was kind enough to share his gorgeous upside-down honey-apple cake recipe. It’s just the thing to ring in a sweet new year.
Below, Jake shares a bit about his own Jewish new year tradition. (Rosh Hashanah starts on Monday, September 6th and goes through the evening of Wednesday, September 8th this year.) Apples and honey, freshness and sweetness to you and yours.
Tell us about your Rosh Hashanah tradition. How do you celebrate?
The night before the first day, or Erev, is spent with my family at temple. The next night is when I cook a feast for all my loved ones. Since so many of my friends are celebrating with their families too, I often throw a belated Shabbat to ring in the Jewish new year with my chosen family.
What do you include in your Rosh Hashanah menu?
Always a brisket! Every holiday my aunt would make the most incredible brisket, and since I’ve taken over brisket duty, I must continue the tradition! From there, lots of honey and date syrup is involved. The Date-Roasted Brussels Sprouts from my book have become a family staple, as well as the Apples & Honey Baked Brie. We’re still not back to the big celebrations yet, so I’m just making our favorites so we can enjoy the leftovers for days!
Tell us about this recipe. What is the inspiration for it? How do you like to serve it?
This recipe is my ideal mashup of some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah sweets: honey cake and all things apple. I’ve always been a huge fan of upside-down cakes with any and all seasonal fruit, so it just made sense to pour my honey cake batter on top to see what happens. The way the cake gets saturated with caramel and juices from the jammy apples is truly next-level. And the honey adds the perfect floral sweetness! I serve it with a big dollop of whipped cream, though if I have time to bake it right before serving, I put it out warm with a big tub of vanilla ice cream.
Apples and Honey Upside-Down Cake
Prep time: 20 minutes, plus cooling time. Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Nonstick cooking spray for greasing
3 Honeycrisp apples, cored and sliced into 8 wedges each
3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) honey, plus more for garnish (optional)
3/4 cup (180 ml) buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (100 g) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups (270 g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Lightly sweetened whipped cream for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a deep 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pan with parchment paper and coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Line the bottom of the prepared pan with the apple wedges, arranging them in concentric circles, then overlapping any remaining apple slices in the middle of the pan.
In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 3 Tbs. water. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until an amber caramel forms, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel evenly over the apples in the pan.
In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until the butter is browned and smells nutty, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour the melted butter into a large heatproof bowl and let cool slightly, then whisk in the honey, buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and fold until just incorporated. Pour the batter over the caramel-coated apples.
Bake until the top of the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 60 to 70 minutes.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then run a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Place a plate over the cake pan and invert them together, then lift off the pan and remove the parchment. Let the cake cool slightly, then serve warm. Top with whipped cream and drizzle with honey, if desired. Serves 10 to 12.