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Omi’s Apfelkuchen

Freshly picked apples are starting to grace the farmer’s market stalls and the produce aisles of your favourite grocery store. As much as apples remind us that the end of summer is near, there is nothing like the taste of new crop apples: crisp, juicy, sweet, tart… Just like tomatoes in January, that «just picked from the orchard» taste won’t last much past the first few frosts. Apples are one of the most beloved fruits when it comes to cooking and baking. They are so versatile, so easily accessible: nothing beats a scrumptious apple pie or a fragrant apple crisp straight out of the oven! Many families have their own prized apple recipes, from baked goods to jellies, butters, chutneys and sauces.  We also have our own: Omi’s most beloved apple cake. If you have been following my blog at all, you know a bit about the Queen Mother (aka mother-in-law) and her East European background. And you also know that I shadowed her (nearly as much as my own mother) in her kitchen, absorbing as much of her culinary heritage as I possibly could. She was «famous» for many things but one dish stand above all the others: Apfelkuchen! A celebration, any celebration, would not be worthy of such a name without her cake gracing the table: it was always asked for, hoped for and gobbled up as fast as it was plated. Of course, she would make over the top huge mountains of this cake and would send off her happy guests with little care packages of the good stuff.

So without much further ado, I am presenting Omi’s infamous Apfelkuchen. It is not difficult to make but most of the ingredients must be weighed instead of being measured in volume. As for the measurements, for this particular recipe,  I have been using all metric as per the original recipe: it is a bit more precise. Although Canada has been metric since the mid-seventies, for some odd reason (probably our proximity to Imperial Unites States), our recipes are usually offered in Imperial. Thankfully, most baking tools offer both options here. Not too sure about my American friends but I am sure you can find online conversions if you so wish to make this wonderful cake. And you know, I think you should 🙂

Omi’s Apple Cake

What you need:

9X13 cake pan or deep rectangular casserole dish, buttered
500 g flour
225 g sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
225 g unsalted butter
3 eggs
Juice of ½ lemon
45ml sour cream
10 Macintosh apples peeled and chopped to bite size
90 ml sugar mixed with 5ml ground cinnamon
1 bit more cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling

How to make it

  1. Heat oven at 350°
  2. Mix flour, sugar and baking powder
  3. Add butter and mix with hands until well combined
  4. Add the 3 eggs and lemon juice.
  5. Mix with hands until dough holds like a ball and is easy to handle. If the dough is too dry, add some sour cream, a little bit at a time. This may not be necessary, it always depends of the moisture content of the flour and the yield the half lemon provides in juice
  6. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until dough is nice and shinny and holds well together. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  7. Separate dough in half. Roll out first ball to fix greased baking sheet 9X13 and spread rolled out dough on bottom. press down to fit pan evenly. This dough quite forgiving and can handle a bit of hand manipulation. It is important that the dough is spread evenly and is snug against all the edges of the pan.

  8. Peel and cut apples in thin slices. Spread in flat layers over dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mix.
  9. Roll out remaining dough and spread over apples, covering all the fruit. Press down firmly, using the back end of a fork.
  10. Sprinkle top with cinnamon and sugar.
  11. Bake until golden on top, approx. 30-45 minutes.
  12. Turn heat off and leave in oven another 5-10 minutes.

This cake is lovely warm, cold and even the next day!