Recipes in my life go around in circles. I used to make a version of this apple dessert when I was just starting out in my first apartment, when a springform pan was considered exotic kitchen kit. I don’t know where I originally found it, but I imagine it might have been in my mom’s extensive file of apple recipes. My mother loves a good file folder, and when the apple tree my dad and I planted in the backyard started to produce fruit, she started filling a folder. I thought I was fancy because I added cinnamon for flair. Somehow, the recipe fell out of my rotation and I had not thought about it in years, but a recent internet search led me in a circuitous route to several recipes for apple sharlotka, a traditional Russian dessert. These recipes reminded me of this classic from my repertoire, so with apple season in full swing, I pulled it out again and updated and modernized it a bit. It was a treat to rediscover an old favorite.
What I love about this dish is that is mostly apple, tart chunks held together by a light, almost custard like filling – making the most of the season’s best fruit. In the spirit of autumn desserts, I’ve added a bouquet of warming spices – veering away from simple cinnamon to the less explored end of the spice rack. Of course, you can just use a dose of cinnamon, or leave out the spices altogether, but I think this combination adds a great hint of mystery and warmth. The cake is lovely on its own, but a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream never goes amiss, or a scoop of ice cream. I recently served it with salted caramel gelato to great effect.
- 6 tart green apples, like Granny Smith
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting the top
- Preheat the oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the paper and the pan with cooking spray.
- Peel the apples and cut them into small chunks, about the size of dice. Layer the chunks directly in the prepared pan.
- Beat the eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla, spices and salt together in the bowl of stand mixer. At first, it may look like dough, but beat for a few minutes until you have a smooth, thick batter. Spread the batter evenly over the top of the apples. Use a spatula to cover all the apples with batter and to encourage it reach down between the apples. Let the pan sit for a few minutes for the batter to distribute, then bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely, then remove the springform ring. Sprinkle generously with confectioners’ sugar.