Apple Honey Ginger Torte
Have you heard of the famous Marian Burros Plum torte? First published in the New York Times by Marian Burros in 1983, the recipe was published every year after that until 1995, when the editor of the Times decided that people just needed to clip it, laminate it and put it on their fridge once and for all. The genius of this cake is the one-bowl simplicity that yields a moist, complex, fruit-forward cake that stays fresh for days.
This adaptation of the plum torte for Rosh Hashanah incorporates apples, honey and ginger and is topped with a quick lemon honey glaze. Giving the apples the hasselback treatment creates even more space for all the honey lemon goodness to soak through, not to mention that it looks beautiful.
- 3–4 apples, depending on the size, peeled, cored and halved
- ½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, finely grated
- 1 lemon, zest and juice of ½
- Cinnamon and raw turbinado sugar for sprinkling
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Cake: Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices, but only cut halfway through each apple so that the apples stay intact.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch cake or springform pan with butter. In the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, and incorporate them into the mixture until well combined. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a sifter, and sift the dry ingredients into the bowl. Beat everything together until combined. Add the grated ginger and lemon zest to the batter and stir everything together with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Place the apples in a circle around the pan. Don’t push them inside the batter; the dough will rise and become level with the apples. Sprinkle the cake generously with cinnamon and the raw sugar. Cut the zested lemon in half and squeeze half of the lemon juice all over the cake. Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes. It will be done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Glaze: Combine the honey, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to bubble, about 2 minutes. Paint surface of cake and apples with warm glaze. Cake tastes best if you let the glaze sink in for an hour before cutting it.