Brown Sugar Apple Cake with Burnt Honey Drizzle

The story tells of a humble apple tree surrounded by a forest of large, towering oaks who wanted nothing more than to have glimmering stars hanging on her branches just like she saw when she looked up at the trees around her. She prayed day and night begging G-d to give her stars so her branches can sparkle like those of the trees she looked up to every night. As the seasons passed, she started to realize that she had her own unique gifts, like fruit and shade and beautiful blossoms. But still, she wished for those stars every night. It was the only way she'd feel truly special. And then one autumn day, a wind so fierce blew apples off her branches and they tumbled to the ground and split in half. She saw her stars were there all along. 

This book was a favorite of mine to read to the kids. I don't know how I left it behind when we moved but its message still sparks joy inside of me. And I hope it didn't fly past my children's perception. Can't we all relate to the apple tree? We look up at others and they seem to have the sparkle and glimmer that we'd want nothing more of. But in reality G-d has already given us all the light inside of ourselves. We just haven't discovered it, yet. We need to split our own apple in half (widthwise!) to see it for ourselves. 


I've been enjoying the crispiest, mouth-puckering green apples as of late. It's the truest testament that fall is here. The kids grab them for every snack, I look forward to a few slices with peanut butter (and maybe a sprinkle of cacao nibs) as a treat to keep my energy up during the day. And we've tucked them in cake, always in cake. They shine especially well as they cook up with spices and sugar. Brown sugar lends a depth of flavor that's almost caramel-like. And a sprinkling of demerara gives it a sweet, crust-like topping to balance the soft apples. I've drizzle the cake with some burnt honey to make it more holiday appropriate. If you've never had burnt honey, it's a must. A few minutes in a saucepan caramelizes the honey to give it extra dimension. And drizzling on top of the cake turns it into something remarkable. You must. The happiest new year to you. 

Brown Sugar Apple Cake with Burnt Honey Drizzle


3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored

1 teaspoon demerara sugar


2 ¾ cups (360gr) flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 cup sunflower oil

1 cup brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup orange juice

4 large eggs

For the honey,

½ cup honey

1 teaspoon water

A few drops lemon juice


In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Line the bottom of a tube pan with parchment paper (see notes) and spray the walls with cooking spray. Sprinkle the demerara sugar evenly on the bottom of the pan. Slice 1 apple into thin strips and place them over the sugar. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon mixture over the apples. Set aside while you make the batter.

Heat the oven to 350F/175F.

Cut the rest of the apples into cubes and place in a medium bowl. Mix them with the rest of the cinnamon sugar. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, combine the oil, sugars, juice and eggs. In two batches mix the wet ingredients into the dry ones until all the flour has been incorporated. Pour half the batter into the pan. Spread half the apples over it. Pour the remaining batter and spread the rest of the apples. Bake for 60-70 minutes. At about halfway through check on the cake, if it’s browning too fast cover with foil. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted all the way through.

Cool the cake completely, about 45 minutes, before running a knife around the outer and inner edges and unmolding onto a cake platter. Drizzle with the burnt honey and serve.

for the honey,

In a small saucepan, combine the honey, water and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium low heat while stirring constantly. Once the mixture bubbles, stop stirring and allow the honey to brown. Keep an eye on it because it can easily burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool before transferring to a small container.


To get a perfectly fitting round piece of parchment paper, place the tube pan on the paper and trace around out. With scissors, cut along the circle. Fold it in half and place it over the outer bottom part of the pan, trace the half circle on the middle of the tube pan. Cut that part of and open the parchment paper. It should fit easily inside the tube pan.