Weekend Bites : Niva’s evergreen apple cake a sure-fire success
In Indonesia every family has its own secret way of making pisang goreng (banana fritters). Here in Italy, and in Europe in general, almost every household has its favorite foolproof apple cake recipe as the fruit is available and affordable all year round.
This one is from my mother in-law Niva. She rarely bakes cakes but when she does it is usually this apple cake. I copied this recipe from her notebook, dated some time in 1979, and it has always been a great success! It never hangs around for more than a day in the kitchen because everybody asks for a second, if not a third, slice.
The best apples to use for baking are crisp and slightly acidic ones, such as Granny Smith’s or Golden Delicious apples, because they retain their texture even after cooking. Indonesian apples such as Manalagi from Malang are also great.
This recipe is also a good way to use those wrinkled and unappealing old apples that have been laying around in your fridge for ages.
Makes 8-10 servings
3 crisp apples
5 tbsp (100 g) caster sugar
16 g of baking powder
7 tbsp (140 g) flour
7 tbsp (70 ml) milk
Sugar crust glaze:
1 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 tbsp (100 g) caster sugar Mix egg with sugar and whisk until dissolved.
Combine flour with baking powder and pass through a fine sieve to prevent lumps. Combine with the egg-and-sugar mixture.
Add milk and whisk to obtain a smooth batter. Don’t worry if it seems thick, the apples will release some liquid during cooking and help to further moisten the cake.
Line a 24 cm round cake tin with parchment paper or, alternatively, grease with butter and flour it to prevent the cake from sticking.
Peel and core the apples. If you want to impress or you’re gifted with patience, cut them into thin slices and insert them into the cake, core side down, in a circular pattern starting from the center of the cake. Otherwise, just cut them into 2x2 cm cubes and mix them into the batter.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes at 175°C in a static oven or 165°C if ventilated, until it’s slightly golden and risen.
Meanwhile, prepare the sugar glazing. Mix sugar, egg and butter with a fork. Don’t worry if the butter remains lumpy, as it will melt during cooking.
Take the cake out, pour the coating over the cake and try to distribute it to cover the surface evenly.
Put the cake back in the oven and continue baking for about 15 to 20 minutes until a golden sugar crust is formed.
It’s best served warm and accompanied by a cup of tea.
Invite some friends to come over. Niva’s apple cake will surely sweeten your afternoon.
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