Last year, I took a number of vacation days to take some baking classes at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories and expand my repertoire of ideas and general knowledge. My boss (based in Toronto) always asked what I did on my days off so I’d send her photos of the finished products. Unfortunately due to the distance, she never got to benefit from my learning. I did try to send some cookies for her birthday back in October, but they got stuck in Canadian customs just long enough to be delayed over the weekend. They arrived 4 days after I baked them, so I’m sure they weren’t a prime example of my skill level.
Lucky for me, she made it out to LA in November so I had to whip something good up. I had been eyeing a recipe on Smitten Kitchen for an apple sharlotka, a Russian dessert that is somewhat of an apple pie cake. It’s relatively healthy – being comprised of mostly apples and not very much sugar or flour. When I saw the egg-to-sugar-to-flour ratio, I assumed it would have a really light custard-y texture to the cake batter and I was right.
It’s very easy to make and really beautiful with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top. Here’s the recipe!
- Butter or nonstick spray, for greasing pan
- 6 large, tart apples, such as Granny Smiths
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Ground cinnamon, to finish
- Powdered sugar, also to finish
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Peel, halve and core your apples, then chop them into medium-sized chunks. (I cut each half into four “strips” then sliced them fairly thinly — about 1/4-inch — in the other direction.) Pile the cut apples directly in the prepared pan.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs with sugar until thick and ribbons form on the surface of the beaten eggs. Beat in vanilla, then stir in flour with a spoon until just combined. The batter will be very thick.
- Pour over apples in pan, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter and press it down into the apple pile. The top of the batter should end up level with the top of the apples.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester comes out free of batter. Cool in pan for 10 minutes on rack, then flip out onto another rack, peel off the parchment paper, and flip it back onto a serving platter. Dust lightly with ground cinnamon.
- Serve warm or cooled, dusted with powdered sugar. We ate it plain, but Smitten Kitchen mentioned pairing it with a dollop of barely sweetened whipped or sour cream.
Note: I don’t think this cake holds up very long after you make it. It’s best when fresh, but definitely try to eat it within a day of making it!