Sunken Cardamom Apple Cake
by eat in my kitchen
There are many cake recipes that I’ll never get tired of experimenting with, but there is one that gives me deep pleasure and guarantees satisfaction no matter what I come up with. A simple apple cake. I appreciate it with crunchy cinnamon crumbles, with blackberries in a pie, elegant and light for breakfast, or rolled into a Tyrolean strudel. And I’m quite sure that I will continue trying out new ideas to melt crisp apples into a spongy cake for as long I can bake. The simplicity of this treat, its fruity sweetness, impresses me over and over again and makes it the perfect choice when my hungry but impatient mind calls for a quick teatime sweet.
Today’s apple cake started off with another delicious but more time consuming coffee table treat – Swedish cardamom Bullar (yeast snails) packed with cardamom seeds crushed in a mortar. A friend of mine baked them for me and reminded me that spices ground with pestle and mortar are always far more tasty and rich than any pre-ground products from the supermarket. Most of the time I use whole seeds for my savory dishes but I tend to forget about them when it comes to sweets. So, as soon as the cardamom pods were back on my mind and out of my spice box, I knew that I wanted to combine their confident flavour with sour apples. I had a vision of a pretty little loaf cake, fair and spongy, with halves of apples beautifully arranged on top. A thin layer of Demerara sugar mixed with cardamom sprinkled over the fruits was suppose to add the strong note of the spice to the whole composition and give it a sugary crunchy finish. The preparation only took a few minutes and everything looked nice and neat as I put it into the hot oven, I was quite a happy baker. But after about 20 minutes I passed the oven again, dragged into the kitchen by the unbelievably good smell and my curiosity. I glanced at my cake – and the apples were gone. It seemed like the cake had swallowed them, they sunk in like a volcano, the whole fruits disappeared including the cardamom sugar topping. Although I had a different look in mind, I didn’t regret this incident at all. It was rather the opposite, the sunken apples kept all their taste and juices inside the cake, it was fragrant and moist, the sponge infused with the sweet aroma of cardamom.
Sunken Cardamom Apple Cake
Makes a 24 x 10cm / 9 1/2 x 4″ cake
butter, at room temperature, 180g / 6 1/2 ounces
granulated sugar 200g / 1 cup
freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons
organic eggs 3
plain flour 180g / 1 1/3 cups and 1 tablespoon
baking powder 2 teaspoons
salt 1/8 teaspoon
sour apples, cut in half, peeled, cored and the top carved lengthwise, 2
For the topping
cardamom pods, the seeds crushed in a mortar, 2
Demerara sugar 1 tablespoon
Combine the cardamom and Demerara sugar for the topping and adjust to taste.
Preheat the oven to 175°C / 350°F (convection oven) and butter a 24 x 10cm / 9 1/2 x 4″ loaf pan.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Pour in the juice and continue mixing for a minute. Add the eggs, one at a time and mix well in between. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the bowl, mix quickly until well combined. Scrape the dough into the buttered cake pan and even it out. Lay the apples on top, push them into the dough and sprinkle with the cardamom sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Check with a skewer, it should come out clean. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before you take it out of the pan.