Last updated on July 14th, 2024.

 This Honey Apple Cake is tender and impressive, and its complex, deep flavor comes from caramelizing the honey and butter in one simple step.

A cake topped with glazed apples on a plate with dishes around it.

Dipping apples in honey is a Rosh Hashanah tradition (the Jewish New Year), and it’s meant to symbolize the beginning of a sweet new year. Baking a moist Honey cake recipe (known as Rosh Hashanah Honey cake and Jewish honey cake) is another tradition, and as much as I love tradition, the combination of apples and honey is too delicious to just ignore.

Many Jewish holiday desserts can be a bit simple and boring, so I wanted this cake to get a festive look and one of these desserts you saved room for (not just because it’s your MIL’s turn to cook). I have taken an extra step in making this honey upside-down cake and cooked the honey with butter until it is deep golden brown. I first discovered caramelized honey when I researched my cookbook, “Baking Science,” and I’m not sure how to describe this honey caramel sauce; it is much more than caramel; it is caramel dipped in honey. Topped with apples. Topped with tender and buttery cake.

Please do not categorize this honey apple cake as a traditional rosh hashanah food; it is perfect for all special occasions and holidays.

For more apple recipes, check out this Jewish Apple Cake, this Polish Apple Cake, and these Apple Meringue Bars.

Ingredients

For the Honey Apple Layer

  • Three small apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced. Tart apples like Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples are too sour to my taste, so for this cake, I decided to use sweet apples like Golden Delicious or Gala.
  • Honey. The honey sets the tone of this cake, so use a high-quality one and taste it before.
  • Butter.

For the Cake

  • All-purpose flour, unbleached. Use 1:1 gluten-free flour for a GF option.
  • Baking powder.
  • Unsalted butter and room temperature.
  • Sugar and honey.
  • Large eggs and egg yolks at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Sour cream.

Step-by-Step Instructions

You can make this cake using a stand mixer or a large bowl and an electric hand mixer.

Make the Honey Apple Layer

  1. Pour the honey into a medium saucepan and add the butter. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the honey starts to bubble. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. 
  2. Pour the honey into a pan lined with parchment paper and spray with baking cooking spray.
  3. Arrange the sliced apple over the honey is a pattern, making sure the apples are about 1/2-inch away from the edges of the pan. Place in the refrigerator while you make the batter.
a pan with honey and butter, and a pan with apple slices.

Make the Honey Apple Cake Batter

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and honey until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Do the same with the egg yolks, mix in the vanilla extract.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the sour cream. Start and end with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter over the arranged apple slices in the prepared pan starting with the edges, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Bake.
how to make honey apple cake.

Tips

  • The cake’s flavor comes from the honey and apples layer, so a nine-inch pan will yield the perfect cake height. If you want to use a loaf pan, use two eight-inch loaf pans.
  • I like to make a second batch of caramelized honey and brush, or drizzle it warm on the top of the cake right before serving.
  • This is the perfect dessert to serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra treat.
  • Invert the cake onto a serving plate and avoid from moving it more than once.

Storage

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  • For longer storage, freeze it for up to 3 months. If freezing, wrap the cake tightly in plastic and aluminum foil.
A slice of cake topped with glazed apples in a bowl with a fork.

Don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram if you bake this recipe. I Would love to see your creations!

Honey Apple Cake Recipe

Tender cake topped with apple slices and caramelized honey.

Course Dessert
Keyword honey apple cake
Prep Time 22 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 people
Author Dikla

Ingredients

For the honey apple layer

  • 3 small Apples peeled, cored, and thinly sliced.
  • 1/3 Cup Honey (120g)
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted butter (55g)

For The Cake

  • 1 2/3 Cups All-purpose flour (200g)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking powder
  • 3/4 Cup Unsalted butter soften (180g)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar (150g)
  • 1/4 Cup Honey (80g)
  • 2 Large Eggs at room temperature
  • 1 Large Egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Cup Sour cream at room temperature (120g)

Instructions

Prepare the honey apple layer

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C), line a nine-inch pan with parchment paper, and spray it with baking spray.

  2. Pour the honey and add the butter in a medium saucepan, then place over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and the honey comes to a boil.

  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, swirling the pans two to three times.

  4. Pour the honey mixture into the prepared pan and top with the sliced apples in a pattern, about 1/2-inch away from the edges of the pan.

  5. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the cake batter.

Make the cake batter

  1. Beat the butter, sugar, and honey until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

  2. Add the eggs, then the egg yolks one at a time, waiting for each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

  3. Mix in the vanilla extract

  4. Mix the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl.

  5. Reduce speed to low, then add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream starting and ending with the flour mixture.

  6. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and add the batter, starting with the edges of the cake.

  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

  8. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.

  9. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan, then invert the cake onto your serving plate.

  10. Allow the cake to cool before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature.
  • The gap between the apple slices and the pan will prevent the apples from sliding down when inverting the cake.
  • Filling the can pan’s sides with the cake batter first will ensure that the apples won’t slide to the edge of the pan.
  • Store the cake at room temperature for three days.
  • To freeze, wrap the cake with plastic wrap, place it in a bag, and freeze for up to three months.
  • This recipe yeilds one nine-inch cake, or two eight-inch loaf pans.
  • This is the perfect dessert to serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for an extra treat.
  • I like to make a second batch of caramelized honey and brush it or drizzle it warm on the top of the cake right before serving.
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