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Polish Hanukkah Apple Cake Recipe


Polish Hanukkah Cake

Polish Hanukkah Cake from Joan Nathan's "Quiches, Kugels and Couscous"

© Alfred A. Knopf, used with permission.
I adapted this recipe for Polish Hanukkah Apple Cake from Joan Nathan's "Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France" (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011). You'll need a food processor to follow this recipe to a T. Nathan says, "Danielle Fleischmann bakes this apple cake in the same beat-up rectangular pan that her mother used. Known as a "Jewish apple cake" because oil is substituted for butter, it is called gâteau de Hannouka in France. When Danielle makes the cake, she uses very little batter, and half sweet and half tart apples, a combination that makes a really tasty version of this simple Polish cake. Although her mother grated the apples, Danielle cuts them into small chunks. I often make it in a Bundt pan and serve it sprinkled with sugar."

You might also enjoy these recipes from Joan Nathan's book: Pear Kugel with Prunes Recipe and Brandade Potato Latkes Recipe.

Here is a larger photo of Polish Hanukkah Apple Cake.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 10 servings Hanukkah Apple Cake


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 apples (3 sweet and 2 tart), peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a Bundt pan or a 9x13-inch baking pan. Toss the apples in a large bowl with the zest and juice of the lemon, the walnuts, and the cinnamon.

  2. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse together the flour, baking powder, salt, almonds, and 1 1/4 cups of the sugar. With the food processor running, add the eggs, oil, and almond extract, processing until just mixed.

  3. Spoon 1/3 of the batter over the bottom of the pan. Scatter the apples on top, and cover the apples with the remaining 2/3 of batter. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar (you’ll need less if using a Bundt pan). Bake for 45 to 60 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. The cake will take a shorter time to bake in the shallow rectangular pan than in the Bundt pan. Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before unmolding from the Bundt pan. Dust with confectioners' sugar when completely cool, if desired. No need to unmold the cake from the 9x13-inch pan.
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