Heirloom Norwegian Apple Cake and a Story in Kamille
This is R's mother's recipe for Norwegian Apple Cake. I made it all the way back in October for what I think is a pretty rad reason. If you've been reading here for any length of time, you've probably noticed that I make quite a bit of Norwegian food, and evidently a journalist in Norway noticed too. So on a trip to New York, she stopped by my little East Harlem apartment with a real photographer and interviewed me for a story about this blog and about my interest in Norwegian food for Kamille, one of Norway's largest woman's magazines. If you're in Norway, you can find the issue in stores now, if my family-in-law hasn't already stock-piled all of them. If you've found me through Kamille, welcome! You already know that I'm married to a Norwegian, but living in New York City where I often attempt to recreate the cuisine of his native country in a tiny apartment kitchen.
The whole interview experience was really wonderful. We sat in my living room, which doubles as the family room, the dining room and the study, ate Norwegian Apple Cake and talked about food, about cooking in New York, and about exploring Scandinavian cuisine. Then we took a little walk around the neighborhood, pausing at some of the beautiful brownstones around the block and popping into what we affectionately call 'the fruit stand.' It's actually a little Turkish shop down the street that overflows with produce, woven and wicker baskets hanging from the ceiling, and baklava and Turkish delight to tempt you at checkout.
And speaking of the Apple Cake. I'll admit I spent several days deciding what to serve, looking through cookbooks and grilling R. But when it came down to it, as much as I love my books, nothing ever really beats a family recipe. R says that every family has their Apple Cake in Norway, and I've been trying a lot of them. But this one was definitely the best. It's the one R grew up eating, his mother's recipe. And like all great classic European cakes, it's not at all difficult to make. Tusen takk Kamille!
My Family's Norwegian Apple Cake
200 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
200 grams sugar
3 large eggs
200 grams flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Sugar, cinnamon and chopped or slivered almonds for topping.
2 or 3 apples, depending on size, cut into wedges. You want enough wedges to make one layer in an 9 inch pan.
Oven preheated to 175C or 350F
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale in color. Add one egg at a time and mix well between each egg. Add the flour and the vanilla sugar. Put enough of the batter into a 9 inch springform pan so that it about 1 inch deep. You can really use any springform pan, but you might need to adjust the cooking time.
Place a layer of apple wedges on top of the batter, then sprinkle with the chopped almonds, some cinnamon and some sugar. Using a spoon dipped in warm water, place dollops of the remaining batter on top of the apple layer. You don't want the dollops so close together that they seal in the apples, because steam needs to escape as it bakes.
Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the edges of the cake start to peel away from the pan.