When it comes to cooking and baking, I’m no quitter. I will try and try again if something doesn’t work out. In my last post you may have read that I had a terrible day in which most things went horribly wrong. One of those things was a cake. I wanted to bake a seasonal cake – something to go with the perfect autumn weather we’ve been having here in the Midwest.
For reasons which befuddle me, the cake was a colossal disaster. I ended its short life by throwing it, defeated, into the garbage can. I just don’t get it. I bake all the time. I know ratios of flour, sugar, baking soda, etc. I understand sizes and shapes of cake pans in relation to baking time. This one just got away from me.
I had an off day. Cake 1, Sara 0. But not for long.
This Nebraska girl is going to Norway in May. As much as I love to travel, for whatever reason, I never considered Scandinavia as someplace I had to see. However, when the opportunity presented itself in the form of a study abroad situation, I had to jump at what seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
For the last month or so, the small group of six students have been meeting at the professor’s house to discuss the trip, complete assigned projects, and learn a little bit more about the country we will explore in May. For our last meeting, we were all allowed to choose a certain aspect of Norwegian culture to present to the group, and naturally, I chose food.
I spent a good ten minutes in my professor’s living room, surrounded by my future travel mates, educating them about whale meat, lutefisk, cloudberries, and reindeer steaks. I made sure they understood the meaning of the word pølser (which is nothing more than a simple hot dog), as well as made sure they felt comfortable with the notion of brown cheese known as Brunost. It’s delicious, by the way.
I arrived at the meeting with a Norwegian version of apple pie called eplepai. Essentially, it’s a simple apple cake with cinnamon, cardamom, and almonds. And it was delicious, not to mention dead simple to make.
When I served it up, I was told by my professor (who is of Norwegian descent, I should mention) that it was authentic in its flavor and appearance. I was pleased to know that I could represent his heritage as well as the country I’ll soon be visiting.
adapted from Rosa’s Yummy Yums
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
3 medium tart apples (I used Braeburn)
Preheat oven to 350ºF, line a 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.
In a large bowl, gently whisk together all of the dry ingredients, as well as the slivered almonds.
Peel, core, and dice apples, and add them to the flour mixture and toss.
Add the beaten egg, milk, and vanilla extract to the apple mixture and mix well. The batter will seem dry, but keep mixing until what you have looks like a super thick, and super chunky muffin batter.
Add mixture to prepared pan and spread gently.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
After about a minute, run a small knife along the side of the cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the springform pan.
Place a cooling rack upside down over the cake. Turn rack and cake over, remove the bottom, as well as the parchment paper. Place cake back on cooling rack.
Cool completely before serving.
Note: I only have a 9-inch springform pan, so when I baked mine, it was thinner than it would be if I’d used a 7-inch pan.