Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Daniel Rose

Adapted by Joan Nathan

Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake Recipe (1)

Total Time
1 hour 40 minutes
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This simple, rustic cake is perfect for a holiday celebration or any other occasion. —Joan Nathan

Featured in: In Successful Paris Restaurant, Jewish Roots

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Yield:8 to 10 servings

  • 8ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
  • 1⅓cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2large eggs
  • 2cups all-purpose flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 4Gala or other flavorful apples, peeled, cored and each cut into 8 slices
  • ½teaspoon Calvados or apple brandy
  • 1teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • ½teaspoon ground cinnamon

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (10 servings)

400 calories; 18 grams fat; 11 grams saturated fat; 1 gram trans fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 57 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 36 grams sugars; 4 grams protein; 120 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and set aside.

  2. Step


    In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine remaining 8 ounces butter, 1⅓ cups sugar and the salt. Mix until blended. Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and baking powder until thoroughly mixed. Fold in a few of the apples, and spread batter evenly in pan.

  3. Step


    In large bowl, toss remaining apples with Calvados, ginger and cinnamon. Arrange apple slices in closely fitting concentric circles on top of dough; all the slices may not be needed. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over apples.

  4. Step


    Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake dough comes out clean and apples are golden and tender, about an hour and 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.



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Cooking Notes


I followed the recipe precisely, it looked and smelled delicious. There was no butter leakage while baking, but when I cut into the cake, it was dense, virtually no crumb, and inedible. I was careful to fold the flour slowly and gently into the batter. What went wrong?


A British tea cake recipe requires me to weigh all ingredients and may explain the butter problem: Not all butter sticks weigh exactly 8 oz. Some butters contain added water. Although I would think that water would make the butter more spreadable, the water may also keep the butter sticks firm. Irish butter is creamier than American butter and softens more quickly. Butters with more water create real problems in pie crusts. Cookies may also spread in the oven rather than rise.


Took 55 minutes to bake and came out looking and smelling wonderful. Tastes even better! Make sure you take your time folding in the flour and getting the butter and sugar fully blended.

I'm honestly confused why people are baking this for so long. Are you not using the 9 inch spring form pan? I also don't know why folks are adding extra liquid. It's a butter based cake, it doesn't need more liquid. Just follow the directions!


I cut 3 very large honeycrisp apple into 16 pieces each and then very quickly assembled this cake. It turned out beautifully, the apples on top intact and the cake moist. I folded into the batter about 8 slices and used the rest to make "closely fitting" concentric circles on top. I brushed the apples with the Calvados liquid (I had put at least 2 TBSP in with the apples) and sprinkled sugar on top. I baked at 375 for 65 minutes (thank you other bakers for that tip). Perfect!


Is this recipe correct as written with 8oz butter? I just made a cake from King Arthur Flour website (Old-fashioned Apple Cake) which is almost identical but it only uses 8 tbsp butter. I think too much butter in this recipe is the reason that butter is leaking.


This is my favorite apple cake but it's important to understand this is a dense and substantial cake, very Eastern European. (For something lighter try the recipe for White House Apple Cake which also delicious.) 3 apples are plenty, sliced into 16ths for the top and cut even smaller for the pieces mixed into the batter. With batter this stiff I can't imagine why any one is having problems with leakage. It can take longer to bake, the edges will blacken like the picture. Still amazing.


This cake takes me WAAAAYYYY longer than 50 minutes at 350. It's usually closer to 90 minutes. Anyone else experience this? No matter what, though, it's worth it. This cake is simply awesome.


This turned out to be both surprisingly easy and surprisingly delicious (thankfully).

The batter was very stiff and needed to be fairly forcefully spread into the pan, especially considering the chuncks of raw apple folded into it. If I make it again, I'll be sure to cut the apples smaller and slice the apples on top thinner too. I left them kind of thick and they ended up with an unpleasant rubbery texture.

Served it with a Butterscotch Sauce I found on this site, too.

Chris B

I've made this excellent cake twice. Once it took about 10 minutes more than suggested here, second try about 45 minutes. Same oven, same temp, same pan. My guess is that the moisture of the apples varies a lot: by variety, fresh or stored, etc. I wonder if that isn't what other cooks have encountered too. Just be prepared to improvise.


I did bake it in a convection oven at 350 and it took 50 minutes, was a deep golden brown and apples were tender. I used 1 scant cup white sugar and 1/3 cup dark brown sugar and it wasn't overly sweet but next time less sugar. Pecans a good addition for texture. Maybe less butter to avoid leakage?


it sounds like your baking powder is no longer functioning. You can test it with very hot water to see whether it bubbles up (it should)


I did not have Calvados, used brandy, worked great...I too noticed a bit of butter seeping, but with these butter cakes I always put a parchment lined cookie sheet underneath, which catches anything. Delicious!


Although the butter leaked, my guests really liked it. I added some chopped, toasted pecans with apples (gala was soft, honey crisp was tart, Fuji was tart too. Baked no one could tell the difference, and 3 was enough) A friend gifted me some Hudson Valley Applejack and I put in a great big slug of it as well as a tablespoon of good vanilla. Guest who cook thought I made good decisions about the additions. I will make this again, put a cookie sheet under pan and let you all know how it goes.


I tried this recipe and the batter was so thick and dry I added one extra egg and it was delicious. I sliced the apples a little thinner and diced the apple I added to the batter. As other cooks have noted, the baking time was much longer. I used a 9-inch springform pan and it took exactly 90 minutes to cook. It's very tasty and comforting.


I have made multiple times and really like. It does take longer that it says. I put an apricot jam glaze on top which mamkes it look more attractive. I did not have Calvados and used Amaretto. I have not problem with butter leaking.

Linda Townshend

Has anyone tried this with pears and Pear William instead of apples and Calvados? Are there any adjustments I should make?

Lorraine Greiff

Have made this several times. It’s always wonderful. My 9” springform pan was not available, so made it in a small Bundt pan. Apples on top were caramalized and delicious. Did have to bake it an additional 10 minutes or so. Highly recommend it.


Sorry but...I seriously think you can find a much better apple cake than this one. This thing is a bit like a block of concrete and if you look in the photo that comes with is burnt. Ours was burnt as well. We saw it burning but the center was not cooked around the apples. We just had to deconstruct this beast and cut off the burned bottom and sides. The flavor is nice but I am baffled by the two thousand five star reviews. Apologies to Babette.


Disaster, something is wrong with the proportions… it’s dry and weird


This recipe is pretty gross, maybe the worst cake I've ever baked. It's all sugar, awful consistency, and took an extra 40 minutes to cook. You might as well just add some butter to sugar and drop some flour in and you might have better luck achieving something edible.


Watch out for butter leakage


This is a great recipe. I’m still eating moist and delicious apple cake 4 days later. I thought batter was too thick so I added about 1/3 cup fresh orange juice. Used Irish Whiskey as that is what I had on hand. Baker on lower heat (300) about 70 minutes. Used honey crisp apples and cut more thinly. Yum!!!

Sadie L

amazing apple caketook a long time to cook, after two hours we decided to just take it out, so glad we did it was delicious. perfect for rosh. cake is a mitzvah. as my grandma says, “uccch!”


A truly excellent recipe. The cake is moist and delicious. Three suggestions: 1. Apple variety. Try the new Cosmic Crisp from Washington State. Great taste and perfect water content for this cake.2. Dice 1/2 an apple to fold into the cake batter.3. Substitute Pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and ginger.


After reading the reviews and throughout the process, I wasn’t sure about this cake. I used 4 small Gala apples: 1 sliced and 3 cut into large cubes. I couldn’t fold the flour into the liquid mixture so I just used the mixer. I used 1 cup sugar plus the tablespoon on top. I added 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans and put some in the batter, some on top. Easy to put together and there was no leakage. Mine baked in the recommended time, but my oven runs hot. This will be my go-to apple cake.

High Desert Rat

Every time I make this cake, it comes out different. I do have to adjust for altitude but I do that consistently. It is never inedible but I never know what I’m going to get. I love it but I think I give up on it.

thalia cassuto

Question: i have a ten inch spring for pan. will that work? how adjust the timing?thanks, tc


thalia, A 10" should be fine, just start checking a little earlier. But don't be surprised if it takes longer than the recipe timing. I made this a few weeks ago and doubled the recipe, using 9" and 8" springform pans. Both took longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes. The 8" had less dough in it and cooked faster. Both were delicious.


Baked this cake last week with apples I had in the freezer. I substituted 1 c almond flour for the white flour. I reduced the sugar to 3/4 C of raw sugar and I used kerrygold butter (Irish)The cake was perfect. It does have a coffee cake texture, quite moist and sweet, very sweet. I guess the apples I used had a high sugar content. Anyway, just my report on the cake, thanks and happy baking.


This recipe is bad. It's like a pound of bricks heavy with all that butter and the large apple slices (apples cut in 8ths?!l on top weighing it down. So this is what a NYT 5 star recipe looks like?!

Anne S.

Fantastic. I added small diced apples in the batter, with slices on top. The batter was very stiff, more like a dense cookie dough, when I pressed it in the pan, which I was not sure about, but don't overmash it in into the pan. Baked about 1hr 15 mins and it was perfect. Great crumb, super.

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Babette Friedman’s Apple Cake Recipe (2024)
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