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Mealtime: Easy Apple Cake Recipe

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Sliced almonds give this cake a nice crunch - ANDY BRUMBAUGH<
  • Andy Brumbaugh<
  • Sliced almonds give this cake a nice crunch

Fall in Vermont means many things — leaves changing colors, chilly mornings that are harbingers of colder days to come and, of course, apples.

There are so many things you can do with apples, besides just eating them plain. You can make pies, tarts, sauce, butter and many variations of cake.

This particular version of apple cake comes to us from Russia. Known as sharlotka, it seems to have gone through many iterations on the way to the most common modern recipe. According to my internet research, the original version of this cake was created in the 19th century by a French chef working for Tzar Alexander I. It was likely the predecessor of the modern dish known as Charlotte Russe — a layered concoction of ladyfingers, fruit and Bavarian cream. The current dish was likely simplified during the Soviet era — to include ingredients that even the poorest of households would have on hand — and became an easy sponge cake with apples. It almost resembles a cobbler, but it contains no butter. I added sliced almonds on top for a crunchy element that my family enjoyed.

I got my apples locally, at Hackett's Orchard in South Hero. The awesome folks who run the orchard recommended early Macintosh apples, but you could use Granny Smiths (not easily found locally, as they don't grow well in our climate) or your favorite tart, slightly firm apple.

Russian Sharlotka

Sliced almonds give this cake a nice crunch - ANDY BRUMBAUGH
  • Andy Brumbaugh
  • Sliced almonds give this cake a nice crunch

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup flour
  • 6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1" pieces
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup confectioner's sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon, for dusting

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper. Spray both the parchment and the sides of the pan with cooking spray.
  2. With an electric mixer, whip together eggs and sugar until light, fluffy and pale in color. Stir in vanilla, almond extract and lemon juice, then incorporate the flour.
  3. Fold the apples into the batter. Pour the mixture evenly into the pan. Sprinkle the top with almonds if desired. Bake for around 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  4. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Remove the springform side, dust with the confectioner's sugar and cinnamon mixture, and serve.

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