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Babci’s Dutch Apple Cake

February 21, 2010

Babci, my grandmother, used to make this cake for dessert.  She seemed to find it more rustic, but with the apples fanned out one atop another and dotted with the red jelly she used, it was quite fancy to me.

It was the texture, though, that sold me on this cake.  The bottom of the batter becomes crisp from the pan; the center is almost dry for a cake; the batter next to the apples is meltingly soft.  The three play so perfectly together, especially with nearly caramelized apples on top that you don’t even need ice cream or whipped cream to finish this off.

I made a couple of minor adjustments to the cake: whole wheat pastry flour, ginger, and vanilla extract.  Also, Babci always uses shortening in her cakes and pie crusts instead of butter, but I stick with butter.

  • 1/2 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 Cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sliced apples (I used frozen apples from this past fall, so I’m not sure how many apples you’ll need; if it helps, I used one full quart sized bag . . .)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground dried ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like cornmeal.  Beat the egg with the milk and vanilla; stir into the flour mix.  Spread in a buttered 11×7″ pan; batter will seem to be insufficient, sticky, and annoying to work with.  Use fingers to press in as best as possible; don’t worry about small holes in the batter.  Layer apples atop the batter.  Sprinkle with sugar and spices.  Drizzle melted butter on top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Knife test will not come out completely clean; cake will seem pudding-y inside, but should be browned on top.  Let rest about 10 minutes before serving.  I recommend cutting along the lines of the apples to avoid dragging apples off of the top and depriving your cake eaters (or yourself) of sweet apple topping.

Babci also mixes 1/3 cup of any red jelly with 1 Tablespoon hot water and dots the top of the apples with this.  I didn’t have any jelly, so I skipped this part.  It does look pretty, though.

Babci bakes this recipe in an 8×8″ pan, which will give you a slightly thicker cake layer.  It’ll be easier to spread, but I prefer the thinner layer of cake.  You can also double this recipe and use it in a 9×13″ pan.  I believe Babci usually used a Pyrex baking dish for this, but because my 8×8″ pan is being held hostage by some friends, I opted for my aluminum 11×7″ and prefer the results.  The aluminum crisps the bottom more, provided a stronger contrast to the drier cake layer and the apple-softened cake.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 2, 2010 10:23 pm

    Belated comment – I am so going to make this soon! Yum!!! In other news, I made the “Matriciani” the other day. I know it is a total bastardization of a real pasta dish…but hey, it was easy and as unhealthy as I could wish. I heart the Babci Cookbook!

  2. March 3, 2010 8:13 am

    The Babci Cookbook is awesome. I used it recently to make a veggie golumpki (not sure I’ll post it . . . it wasn’t as good as the time I made it with lentils, oddly enough. Mushrooms and tempeh just didn’t cut it). Definitely make this cake, though.

    I told Babci about it and she was very pleased–reminisced about making it for her nieces and nephews (“This was before you were born”).

  3. August 21, 2010 2:23 pm

    Nice! This my family’s treasured apple cake recipe from my grandma:
    http://michaelbeyer.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/grandmas-slab-apple-cake/

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