The Recipe: A moist, apple-y and cinnamon-y apple cake with a crispy topping, almost a coffee cake, rustic and delicious.
The Conversation: How sharing recipes makes the world a smaller place.
"... yum!" ~ LeAnne
"... my family inhaled it.....very good." ~ Maria via Facebook
If our apples are local, let our inspiration be global.
Three decades ago, my friend Pille grew up in Estonia behind the Iron Curtain, imagining lives on the other side through a cookbook called World Dishes. Her favorite recipe became Kanada õunakook, Canadian Apple Cake.
Last fall, I made Pille’s cake for a bake sale in my hometown on the Minnesota-Ontario border. Knowing locals would yawn at a "Canadian" apple cake, I called it "Estonian Apple Cake". Sure enough, it sold fast!
ESTONIAN APPLE CAKE
Time to table: 90 minutes
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (115g) milk (skim is fine)
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 60g) salted butter, melted (see TIPS)
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
- 1-1/4 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 155g
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (see TIPS)
- 2 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound/450g), peeled, quartered, cored, chopped
- 4 tablespoons (50g) brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour, fluffed to aerate or 15g
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons (30g) cold salted butter
Heat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan or an 8x8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.
CAKE In a large bowl, whisk egg, then whisk in milk, butter and sugar. Scoop flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon onto wet mixture without mixing in. With whisk’s tip, lightly combine without mixing in. Now whisk dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Stir in apples. Spread evenly in the baking dish.
TOPPING In a bowl, mix topping ingredients with fingers until mealy, spread evenly atop batter.
BAKE & SERVE Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 – 30 minutes. Serve alone, with Crème Anglaise (see recipe on the left) or simple whipped cream. Keeps 2 - 3 days.
PEAR & GINGER CAKE Just substitute ripe pears for the apples and ground ginger for the cinnamon. A delicious change from the apple original!
COOKING for DIABETICS While this remains a "dessert", it is possible to adapt this cake to use less sugar. In the cake itself, substitute 6 tablespoons of agave nectar and use whole grain flour (I had good luck with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour.) Finally, use demerara sugar, an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane, for the topping instead of brown sugar.
WORLD NEIGHBORS & FOOD BLOGGER FRIENDSHIPS
2008, RIGHT HERE IN ST. LOUIS When Pille visited the States, I got to meet my blogging friend in person! Our meeting reminded me why I once wrote about the friendships that form among bloggers, "And when we meet, we're already friends." Pille's blog Nami-Nami (which means Yummy, Yummy in Estonian) is a fascinating window into the life of a young professional couple who live and work near the capital city of Tallin. Be sure to check out what she calls Canadian Apple Cake, also another apple recipe she posted just recently, Oven-Baked Toffee Apples.
2014, RIGHT THERE IN TALLINN, ESTONIA And then we spent a few days with Pille and her family in their home outside Tallinn. What a joy, those days, especially meeting her lovely three towhead children! And a fascinating time to visit Estonia, too, geopolitically, see Estonian Deviled Eggs for the story.
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