Brown Butter Cream Cheese Jewish Apple Cake
A traditional Jewish apple cake, enriched with cream cheese, and infused with the toasty, nutty flavor of brown butter. Perfect for Rosh Hashanah!
*This post originally published on September 4, 2013. I thought it was about time the pics were updated. So, many of the photos you see here now are new and improved. Most everything else is exactly the same as it ever was! Hopefully you’ll enjoy this Jewish apple cake as much as my family and I do.*
We laid my Grandmother to rest two weeks ago.
But don’t feel bad for me, ok? It was not a sad occasion. She told me so herself.
I will miss her, don’t get me wrong. She was a sassy lady. And a lot of fun. She loved Frank Sinatra, and cats, coral lipstick and Toujours Moi, and mafia movies, and she always had a layer cake on the table for Sunday supper.
She lived to be 86 years old. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that some of my dearest loved ones were taken from me way too soon. But my Grandmom had a long and full life. She’d made countless lifelong friendships. She was the doting owner of many fluffy (and a few scruffy) pets. She had four children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Her illness was just long enough for her to say her goodbyes, but not so long that she suffered too much. She felt ready. And she passed comfortably and peacefully from this world.
We celebrated her beautiful life, and the memory of her, with a lovely luncheon, where all of her loved ones gathered together. She would have loved it. I could feel her smiling the whole time.
We all know Grandma’s have the best recipes, right? Well, this one’s not from my Grandmom. It’s from one of her best friends, who was seated across from me at the luncheon. She had no idea who she was talking to when she asked if I liked to bake. 😛
It’s one of the greatest things about being a food blogger. People want to give you their most treasured family recipes! It happens to me a lot, and it makes me feel really honored. I really hope I’ve done ya proud here, Flo!
WHAT MAKES THIS JEWISH APPLE CAKE DIFFERENT?
I’ve only made one minor little tweak to the recipe I was given, and that was to brown the butter. It’s just so trendy right now, I couldn’t resist! And it’s popular for good reason: the flavor is phenomenal.
I especially love that toasty flavor for fall, and it pairs so beautifully with softly cinnamon spiced apples. I’ve chosen to share this recipe today, because we are coming up on the Jewish high holidays, and it’s traditional to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the start of the new year, according to the Hebrew calendar) by eating apples.
I just love that the cake is enriched with cream cheese! It makes the texture so creamy-dreamy…
Flo insists on Rome or Jonathan apples, specifically. Listen to your Grandma. Or your Grandma’s best friend, as it were.
And the cake is baked in a springform pan. Not a bundt! I thought that was kinda different, but you know what?
Just gaze upon that cinnamon-sugary, craggy-crust. Heaven!
And the cake itself is so dense and moist, and just bursting with juicy apples and toasty, buttery goodness. What a delicious way to start the new year!
L’Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year), to Flo, my dear husband and his family, and all my Jewish readers! May your upcoming year be happy, peaceful, and full of rich blessings.
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- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces cream cheese (I used reduced fat, softened)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups (about 2 1/2 medium-sized) Rome or Jonathan apples
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Toss the chopped apples in 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar, reserving the rest for topping.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- Melt the butter in a medium skillet, over medium heat.
- Continue to heat the butter, watching carefully, and allowing it to sizzle/crackle, and turn a warm brown color. Immediately transfer to a small bowl, to halt the cooking process, and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Beat the cream cheese together with the browned butter, until creamy.
- Mix in the sugar and vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs, one at a time.
- Finally, mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt, until just combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, making sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour ⅔ of the batter into the prepared pan, and layer the spiced apples on top. Spread the rest of the batter over the apples, and sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top.
- Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.