Passover Pareve Apple Cake

When it was given to me, this recipe originally specified flour, not matzo cake meal. I didn’t think it was very good, but I made it a few times anyway, as my family and friends liked it. Obsessing over how to improve the recipe to make it more to my own liking, it dawned on me that someone had converted a perfectly good Passover cake into an everyday cake and that if I converted it back it would be much better. I love it now, and everyone I have served it to raves about it.

One day I didn’t have quite enough ground cinnamon, however, and I blended together a substitute with the teaspoon of cinnamon I had plus ground nutmeg, mace, and ginger to fill out the tablespoon measure. That was yet another improvement.–Arthur Schwartz

LC The Mother of Invention Note

Sure, you can stick with the tried and trusted tablespoon of cinnamon for the topping on this cake. All we’re saying is that it might be more fun to try a spice blend of your own devising. Arthur’s recommendations are nutmeg, mace and ginger, but there’s no need to stop there. How about throwing in a pinch of cardamom, allspice or clove? Trust your instincts… and whatever you have in the spice rack.

Passover Pareve Apple Cake Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 40 M
  • Makes one 8-inch-square cake


  • For the topping
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, or a combination of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and ginger
  • For the cake
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup matzo cake meal
  • 5 medium apples, peeled, cored, halved, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups), preferably Golden Delicious, Crispin (Mutzu), or other apples that keep their shape when cooked
  • 1/3 cup raisins (optional)


  • 1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly oil an 8-inch-square glass baking dish.
  • 2. Mix together the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
  • 3. In a bowl with a hand-held electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed until well mixed. Beat in the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until the mixture is thick and foamy. Beat in the oil, adding it in a steady stream. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the spatula, stir in the matzo cake meal, blending well.
  • 4. Pour half of the batter mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle about half the topping mixture evenly over the batter. Top with half the apples and all the raisins. Scrape the remaining half of the batter over the apples, spreading it out to cover the apples. Arrange the remaining apples on top of the batter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining topping mixture.
  • 5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the sides of the cake pull away very slightly from the baking dish and the topping has begun to caramelize. (A cake tester is not reliable. It will not come out clean due to the moist richness of this cake.) Let sit in the baking dish for several hours, until completely cool, before cutting into serving portions. This cake is yet another Yiddish food that improves with age. Keep the cake in its dish, covered tightly with plastic, and the next day the topping will have become a moist, candy-like coating.
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  1. Rae says:

    This recipe is amazing, and I had lots of happy guests, but I would recommend you cut the sugar in half. It really isn’t necessary and assuming this recipe makes 8 servings it is 375 calories *per* serving.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

      Thanks for the tip, Rae. Those who don’t care for super sweet desserts will find that quite helpful. Appreciate it! And glad to hear you had a houseful of happy desserters.

  2. Shanna says:

    could you replace the matzo meal by regular flour?

    • Beth Price says:

      Hi Shanna, from what I understand matzo meal and flour are not necessarily interchangeable. Since matzo is flour and water that has already been baked, the consistency of the meal is different, the recipe proportions are not the same, and it has a gluten structure that varies from flour in baked goods. You can easily make your own meal by grinding matzo in a food processor. Or perhaps someone has more experience in this substitution? If so, we would love to hear.

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