why do they call it jewish apple cake

Jewish Apple Cake is pretty popular on the east coast and just about every family has their own version of the recipe. But does anyone really know why it's called "Jewish" apple? I did some research and found that the name is derived from the fact that the recipe is completely dairy free. It uses orange juice instead of milk and oil instead of butter.


Thus making it appropriate for the Jewish holiday; Rosh Hashanah. How true this is, I really don't know, but it sure sounds good. If anyone has any other theories I'd love to hear them. The recipe below is the one I use. It was passed on to me from my old neighbor, Lucy, who's been baking up this version for years. For the apples Beat eggs and sugar until combined.


Add oil, vanilla, and orange juice mix well. Add flour and baking powder beating until smooth. In another bowl mix sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest. Grease and flour a tube pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter in and then the apple mixture. Top with the rest of the batter. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
Gloria Kaufer Greene of Columbia, Md. , author of `The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook` (Times Books), says she's had several versions of Jewish apple cake in her files for a long time.


The first one she found was more than 25 years ago at a hospital bake sale in downtown Baltimore shortly after she was married. `The ladies' auxiliary had been selling handwritten recipe cards along with baked goods,` she recalls.


Greene says she was curious just what made the particular cake she bought `Jewish,` but none of the volunteers had a clue. Later, she saw other recipes for Jewish apple cake, all of which called for oil rather than butter as in most cakes. The use of oil makes the cake pareve, meaning Jewish cooks who observe Jewish dietary laws can serve it at either meat or dairy meals.


As apples have always been popular in Eastern European cuisine, it's possible, Greene says, that American bakers of Eastern European ancestry invented oil-based apple cakes that eventually were given the ethnic appellation.