There is the advanced, high and fluffy apple cake and the simple, chewy apple cake. This post is dedicated to the latter.
It is a modest, rather flat cake. But, don’t be fooled. While it is pretty enough to look at, the real beauty of it comes when you take a bite. The copious amount of sugar ensures that the edges will be chewy with hints of caramel, while the center will be soft and rich. If you like the texture of sticky chocolate cakes, consider this a pale apple version. Easy to make, easy to eat, easy to love.
While this blog often focuses on a food historical slant, this recipe is decidedly modern. How can we tell? Historically, sweeteners such as honey and different types of sugar have all been exclusive — something for those with deep pockets. A recipe calling for just as much sugar as flour in a cake? It would have been a cake for kings or knights. Instead, the foundation for this recipe was found in a activity book for children.
When it comes to choosing apples for apple cakes, I am afraid I have to show my ignorance. I simply use apples that I think taste well, never mind if they are considered cooking apples or not. As you will slice the apple in very thin slices, feel free to use whatever apple you have at home and enjoy.
How to make a simple, chewy apple cake with cardamom
The foundation for this recipe is the popular red currant cake, but here with a cardamom twist.
If you want to be able to remove it from the pan, do line the bottom of the pan with baking paper. Otherwise, the soft middle of the cake can make it difficult to move without breaking. The cake will be flat — about an inch high. Makes one cake:
75 g (1/3 cup) butter
2 1/2 dl (1 cup) sugar
2 1/2 dl (1 cup) flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp vanilla sugar)
1 + 1 tsp finely or medium ground cardamom
1-2 small apples
optional: a handful of flaked almonds
butter and breadcrumbs for the springform
- Prepare a springform by greasing it and covering it with breadcrumbs. Do use a baking paper in the bottom of the pan if you want to be able to remove the cake easily. Set the oven to 190°C (375°F).
- Melt the butter. Set it aside.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a large bowl until they are white and fluffy.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, vanilla powder and one teaspoon of cardamom together. Stir the melted butter and flour mixture into the large bowl with the eggs. Pour the batter into the springform.
- Peel one of the apples and cut it into thin slices. Place the slices in the batter and check if you need to use the second apple, too. For the best result, avoid putting any apple slices in the absolute center, as the cake will take longer to cook and might come out underdone. Sprinkle one teaspoon of cardamom on top. If you want, scatter some flaked almonds over it.
- Bake on the lower rack of the oven for 30 minutes, then check for doneness. The edges will have become golden and firm but the middle will still be soft. Try it with a toothpick — a sticky center is good but the toothpick should not come out covered with undercooked batter. If the cake still is undercooked in the middle, cover it with aluminium foil so it doesn’t burn on the sides and keep baking it, checking the consistency in the middle every five minutes.
- Serve as it is, with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or a nice custard.
If you don’t have or like cardamom, use cinnamon instead.