Apples and Honey Upside-Down Cake

honey apple cake

In our July/August 2021 issue of Bake from Scratch magazine, we went around the world with honey cakes. With Rosh Hashanah just around the corner, we couldn’t think of a better recipe to share than Jake Cohen’s Apples and Honey Upside-Down Cake. Here’s what he had to say about his recipe and his relationship with the holiday.

Rosh Hashanah Roots

Honey cake, and the traditions surrounding Rosh Hashanah, feels especially important to secular Jews like myself. We don’t necessarily keep with all the traditions, but when it comes to high holy days, like Rosh Hashanah, those are the most important days of the year. Whether you’re religious or nonreligious, you still celebrate them no matter what. Rosh Hashanah, as the celebration of the new year, is full of symbolism. Eating something sweet portends having a sweet year. Apples and honey are classic sweet things we incorporate into the many meals. In my nontraditional twist, I envisioned a honey cake with the added value of caramel apples. To me, this recipe and the others in my cookbook, Jew-ish, are a way to preserve my heritage. It’s a love letter to growing up Jewish and then how I’ve taken the identity and made it my own.”

Love this recipe? Find more like it in Jake Cohen’s latest cookbook Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, sold on Amazon and at bookstores nationwide.

4.7 from 3 reviews
Apples and Honey Upside-Down Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • 3 small Honeycrisp apples (453 grams), cored and sliced into 8 wedges each
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) water
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (336 grams) honey, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • ¾ cup (180 grams) whole buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams), room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (270 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (1 gram) freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2.5 grams) baking soda
  • Whipped cream, for garnish (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a high-sided (no less than 2½ inches high) 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper cut to fit and grease with cooking spray.
  2. Line the bottom of the prepared pan with apple wedges, arranging them in concentric circles, then shingle any remaining slices in the center.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the granulated sugar with 3 tablespoons (45 grams) water. Cook over medium-high heat, shaking the pan as needed, until an amber caramel forms, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately pour the caramel over the apples in an even layer.
  4. In another medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Cook, stirring continuously, until browned and nutty in aroma, 6 to 8 minutes. Pour the melted butter into a heatproof large bowl and let cool slightly, then whisk in the honey, buttermilk, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. 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 in three additions and fold until just incorporated after each. Pour the batter over the caramel-coated apples. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cover with foil after 1 hour to prevent excess browning, if needed.
  6. Let cool in the pan for 10 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.
*Recipe from Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch © 2021 by Jake Cohen. Photography © 2021 by Matt Taylor-Gross. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.


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  1. There is something really special about an upside-down cake. Syrupy and sweet, the honey and apple combination complement the cake very well. It’s a great way to use freshly picked apples!

  2. Don’t use a springform pan for this! I decided to give this cake a try after seeing ‘Drew’.
    It was going great until I baked it & it leaked & my whole house smelt like horrid burnt sugar!


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