Honey Apple Cake

In the test kitchen, we baked, nibbled, and kibitzed our way through many iterations of this little honey apple cake. One of our goals was to find a fat that would be friendly for kosher kitchens. We tried olive oil, but it added an unwanted savory note to the cake and made it denser than some of us hoped — this may yet be a debate in the kitchen. But all of our cooks and tasters agree that vegetable oil is the one: it has almost no flavor, and it doesn’t weigh the crumb down.

We love where the cake has landed. It tastes like sweet honey and apples. There’s a hint of lemon, too, which brings out all the apple’s complexity — it’s almost flowery. And the texture is lovely: moist, tender, and light. It reminds us of the cakes our mothers and grandmothers made, and yet it has a modern, Instagram-worthy prettiness that’s undeniable.

Honey Apple Cake is a simple, lightly sweet dessert, perfect for folks who like their sugar in moderation. For that reason, it’s a perfect snack cake. Make it when your sister comes over to dish the gossip, or when your folks come to help you with a yard project. It’s also the one to roll out at the end of a cozy holiday meal: think dessert and coffee in the easy warmth of the living room.

Servings: 10 to 12


1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

¾ tsp salt

3 eggs, room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp honey, divided

½ cup vegetable oil

2 medium apples


  1. Preheat the oven to 325º. Spray the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray, and line it with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set the mixture aside.

  3. Using a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs on medium speed until foamy, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the sugar and lemon zest and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  5. Reduce the mixer to low speed and gently pour in the vanilla and ¼ cup of the honey, beating between each addition, until combined.

  6. Slowly drizzle in the vegetable oil and beat until well-combined, about 2 minutes.

  7. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture in two additions, stirring after each addition until thoroughly mixed.

  8. Peel and slice the apples and set them aside.

  9. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the apple slices on top.

  10. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.

  11. Place the cake on a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan, brush the cake with the remaining honey, and serve warm.

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