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May 3, 2002 02:51 PM

Jewish Apple Cake

  • m

What makes a Jewish apple cake Jewish? Is it the apple used, the cake style or something else? Does "Jewish" modify apple or cake?

Please help resolve an office dispute. Thanks.

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  1. I can't address the cooking question, but I'm all over the grammar question.

    "Apple" modifies "cake", explaining what kind of cake it is.

    "Jewish" modifies both "apple" AND "cake", explaining what kind of apple cake it is.

    One might also argue that "apple cake" is a compound noun, with "Jewish" modifying the compound noun.

    Any time you need an English professor, you just let me know. *S*

    10 Replies
    1. re: sskwire

      But, that was my question. Is it an apple cake that is Jewish or is it a cake that uses "Jewish" apples (as opposed to Macintosh, Granny Smith, etc.)?

      1. re: mattylip
        Alexandra Halsey

        I think sskwire was saying that the apple cake is Jewish, but there is nothing Jewish about the apples. I have to say, though, that I'm Jewish, and I've never heard of "Jewish Apple Cake." Can you describe what it looks/tastes like?

        1. re: Alexandra Halsey

          Yep, Alexandra, that's what I was saying--that apparently it is not that the apples are somehow "Jewish" (though one does wonder how they'd fulfill the obligations of the covenant if they were....careful peeling??) it's that the apple cake as a whole is Jewish.

          But I'm with you. My background is Jewish, and I've never heard of Jewish Apple Cake either....though I suspect this may be because we'd simply be inclined to call it "Apple Cake."

          1. re: sskwire

            Sorry to digress or if this is inappropriate, but this reminded me of that recent controversial Simpsons episode where they are in Brazil. Homer mentions something to a Brazilian about Brazil nuts, and the Brazilian replies, "Yeah, but we just call them nuts here."

            1. re: Can

              How was that controversial? I don't get it.

              1. re: EatDrinkMan

                The show was controversial because it was alleged that it portrayed Brazil in a negative way. It was alleged that Brazil was shown to be dirty and uncivilized. I saw it and shrugged it off as the "The Simpsons" where everything is exaggerated for satirical purposes.

                After watching the show, I did not have a negative opinion of Brazil. After they made such a stink about it, however, I now have a negative opinion of Brazil.

                The Brazil nut reference had nothing to do with the controversy.

                1. re: Billy V.

                  mmmmm...Brazil nuts...

                  1. re: Billy V.

                    Thanks. Obviously I haven't seen it but if they did portray Brazil in a demeaning way, I'd respect their objection to it. Call it PC, but I do think respect goes a long way.

              2. re: sskwire

                A good deal of anecdotal evidence indicates that what many of us Jews know as Apple Cake is called Jewish Apple Cake by non-Jews.

                My wife got a hand-written recipe from her mother called "Jewish Apple Cake." She whipped it up, and sure enough, same ol' Apple Cake.

                So my question is this: Is there ANOTHER Apple Cake recipe that is different from this one, or is there just one Apple Cake recipe, under two names, floating around the world?

            2. re: mattylip

              What in the world are "Jewish" apples?

          2. I did a little e-research and came up with a couple of possible answers:
            1. It is a 'classic eastern european-style kuchen'
            2. Recipe is kosher
            3. Cake is served on Rosh Hashana and Hanukkah.

            There were lots of recipes with that name on the net.

            1. Jewish Apple Cake? It would have to be the apple cake that's Jewish, since there's no such thing as a Jewish apple (I mean, by contrast, what's a Lutheran apple? Or a Baha'i apple? Can you take a picture of a Muslim apple? And if there's a Zen apple, does it have to deny its existence?)

              I suspect this is like calling the Yiddish language "Jewish" - "Do you speak Jewish?" is one of those questions that make me meshuggeh.

              The apple cake made by Eastern European Jews is pretty similar to apple cake made by Polish Catholics and the one made by Orthodox Russians. It's a fairly moist cake.

              You tell your coworkers that a wise old Jew told you that to make a Jewish apple cake, you have to make a brocheh (BRAW-kheh), a blessing, over it, and it should please be kosher.

              (Okay, so I'm not a wise old Jew, but it sounds better than saying a smart-a**ed young half-goy, doesn't it?)