Global Kitchen: Apple Cake from Apples from our Swedish Country Garden
My Global Kitchen recipes always come with a story, but sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint the one exact memory or story a certain recipe has.
I grew up next to an apple orchid in Finland, and since our home also was situated in the excellent apple-land, we, too, had around twenty apple trees, and the garden was also full of berry bushes, rhubarb, and plum and cherry trees. We shared our yard with my grandmother, who lived in the house next door, and it was really her, who had the huge garden and harvest on the fall time – on our side we had the potato land. It wasn’t really countryside, just a 5-minute-walk away was the town center with the church and the schools and I walked to school every day since first grade. On the August afternoons when I’d come home from school, I would find my grandmother in the garden, picking up black or red currants, and I usually joined her. She had her dining chairs outside around the bushes, making it easy just sit by the bushes and pick, and we would chat about life.
Gardening, canning, and baking from the harvest of your own garden was just something I grew up with, and I don’t think I truly appreciated the lifestyle my grandmother taught me until I was older. I enjoyed it, but also saw how much work was involved, and sometimes I remember seeing the light in my grandmother’s kitchen window way past sunset, knowing that her juice-making session wasn’t over yet. My grandmother passed away over 11 years ago, but I think she would approve how I am now teaching my children how to can some jam, bottle homemade juice and have a cake party in the garden. See, the bushes in her garden would make a perfect circle and if you wedged between them you could go inside the circle. There had been a large tree inside the circle at some point, but when I was a child, the tree trunk was turned into a small table and we would have tea parties inside the black and red currant bushes. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the cut down tree trunk in our garden, right next to the currant bushes and apple trees?
My grandmother’s house was small, but the large garden was enchanted. When I now walk around our huge country garden in Sweden, I think of my grandmother often. I want to share my childhood memories with my family, and our entire family sat on chairs around the black currant bushes last month, and we stayed up late bottling homemade juice from the berries from our yard. I hope my grandmother was somewhere out there too, watching us.
My grandmothers apple pies were tart, and they were thick with solid apple, with a thin crust on the bottom and perfect lattice on the top. She didn’t eat any butter, and I think she was saving for the sugar for the “bad days” too. My apple cake isn’t anything like her apple tarts. My apple cake is fluffy, with equal amounts of sugar, flour and eggs and I even sprinkle powdered sugar on the top. To celebrate the beautiful first days of fall, my daughter and I made an apple cake and set it up in the garden. Hope you try this super easy recipe too, the garden setup is optional.
Easy Apple Cake Recipe
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of flour
3 big apples
sugar and cinnamon for the apples
optional: 1 teaspoon cardamon and/or 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
NOTE: This is the easiest recipe to adjust, and I never use a cup-measure to measure the ingredients. The best way to make this cake is to take three coffee mugs, add 3-5 eggs in one mug, depending how big of a cake you want. Then to the other two mugs add equal amount of sugar to one mug, and equal amount of flour to the third mug so you will have three mugs with equal amounts of eggs, sugar and flour.
Preheat over to 350F/175C
Mix eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until white and fluffy. Add flour and mix well. If you wish, you can also add a little bit of cardamon and/or vanilla sugar to the cake batter.
Grease a round cake pan and add flour to the pan to prevent the cake sticking.
Core and slice the apples (I don’t usually peel them so they will keep their shape better) and add them in a small separate bowl, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon until well coated.
Pour the cake batter into the pan and arrange the apple slices on the top. They will “dive” in pretty well, don’t worry, they are supposed to be more inside the cake than on the top of it.
Bake until golden on the top and a toothpick comes off clear.
NOTE: the baking time differs depending your oven and the amount of apples. With a convection oven that bakes fast I’ve baked this in 15-20 minutes, but some who have tried this recipe it can take up to one hour! You can cut down the baking time by reducing the amount of apples. The more apples you add the “gooier” the cake is with a spongy texture. The less apples, the drier the cake and the less it also takes to bake it.
I usually serve this cake warm straight from the oven and sprinkle some powdered sugar on the top. I love vanilla sauce with it, but vanilla ice cream goes very well too. Or eat just as is.
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