Rosh Hashanah begins this Sunday evening. To commemorate the holiday, Israeli-American chef Alon Shaya shares his recipe for apple honey cake, which he serves with coffee semifreddo, halvah syrup and candied almonds at his restaurant Saba in New Orleans.
Shaya is the founder of Pomegranate Hospitality and owner of not only Saba but also the more recently-opened Safta in Denver. His style of cooking and hosting embodies the abundance of Middle Eastern tables—particularly around the holiday season—where his menu features dishes like seedy challah sprinkled with flax, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, nigella and sesame; heaping portions of labneh with olive oil and flakey salt; grated tomato with zhoug; braised lamb neck; and black-eyed pea salad with pickled carrots, spinach, dates and wood-roasted apple butter honeycomb.
Shaya’s kitchen at Saba highlights the creativity of chef de cuisine Cara Peterson (former pastry chef at Philadelphia’s Zahav), whose apple honey cake recipe features mace and beer—a good use of leftover lagers from those end-of-summer barbecues.
Apple Honey CakeCourtesy of Cara Peterson and Alon Shaya of Saba Restaurant, New York City
Yield: Two 13-by-9-inch pans
7 apples, preferably Pink Lady or Gala
12 ounces lager beer or cider
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup honey
1. Peel the apples and grate into a large bowl using the largest holes on a box grater, allowing the liquid to collect. Pour the beer or cider into the bowl on top of the shredded apples and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the dry ingredients on low speed until well-combined, about 2 minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and honey until homogenous.
4. To the bowl of dry ingredients, add part of the egg-oil-honey mixture and stir just to combine. Add part of the beer-soaked apples and stir just to combine. Alternate between the two, leaving some of the apple mixture remaining in its bowl. Mix the batter on low for 15 seconds, then add the remaining apple mixture. Mix for 1 minute (no longer) until the mixture is fully combined.
5. Portion into two greased 13-by-9-inch pans, not exceeding halfway up the side of the pan, and bake at 350˚F (if non-convection) or 325˚F (if convection) for until the center is set and the cake is golden-brown, 18 to 25 minutes. Remove and allow to fully cool before cutting.