Apple cake recipes are ten to the dozen at this time of year, but this version I absolutely love. Consisting of brown butter, eggs, sugar and delicious homegrown apples. I also adore adding chopped and ground almonds, cardamom (of course!) and coconut. This brings comfort and sustenance on a Sunday afternoon after a long walk in the autumn sunshine.
This äppelkaka was the one mormor baked most frequently in the autumn months. My grandparents had a number of apple trees in their garden. If morfar wasn’t making apple juice in the cellar, mormor would be pureeing them to put in the freezer. Nothing was wasted.
I have adapted her original recipe by burning the butter, to add an extra layer of flavour. She didn’t always add cardamom either but I adore this sweet, peppery and floral spice. There is just a hint of coconut in the recipe, it provides a little texture and prevents the cake sticking to the tin.
I have talked about my method of folding flour into whipped egg in my Featherlight Raspberry Cream Cake . It is the best way of incorporating the two ingredients without knocking too much air out of the egg. The best tool for this job is a large balloon whisk. It blends the two ingredients very well. Also it is important to add a little of the egg mixture to the cooled melted butter, gently whisking, then add back to the egg mixture. I’ve tried and tested this method so many times, it’s fail safe and the result is a beautifully light, sponge.
Feel free to use poached pears as an alternative, they also work well with cardamom, however ground ginger is lovely too. Vanilla is a given, because it pairs beautifully with apple, along with almonds and butter!
Swedish Apple Cake (Äppelkaka)
- 22 or 23cm cake tin
- 125 g golden caster sugar
- 2 large free-range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar (level) or extract
- 125 g unsalted butter extra for greasing
- 120 g plain flour
- 30 g ground almond
- 1 ½ baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp freshly ground cardamom you can buy the seeds online, then grind yourself.
- handful blanched almonds roughly chopped
- unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 2-3 small dessert apples I used cox orange pippin
- 2-3 tbls lemon juice
- Extra butter for greasing
- Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/gas 4. Grease and dust the sides of the tin with desiccated coconut. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment. Peel, core and slice the apples, then squeeze over the lemon juice. Set aside.
- Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the baking powder and 1 teaspoon of cardamom, ground almond, stir into the flour and set to one side.
- Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat until it foams and turns nut brown. Remove from the heat and let it stand for 5-10 minutes to cool a little before pouring through a fine sieve into a medium bowl, leaving any burnt particles behind. Cool to room temperature.
- In a free standing mixer with whisk attachment fitted, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes or until really light and fluffy. Remove the bowl from the machine. Now add half of the flour mixture, gently folding in with a balloon whisk. I find this is the best method of incorporating the flour into the egg. Then add the remaining flour, gently folding in again. Now take 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture and whisk it into the melted butter. Once it’s incorporated add 2 more tablespoons, folding in with a spoon this time. Now add the butter mixture back to the egg mixture, folding with a large spoon.
- Pour into the prepared tin and arrange the apple slices on the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cardamom and chopped nuts.
- Bake for 45-50 mins until golden and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn out of the tin and remove the paper. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with cream or you could go totally Swedish and make a vanilla sauce.