Apples & cinnamon is a pretty traditional flavour combination that not only goes well together but evokes memories with one sniff of a woody cinnamon stick or one taste of a crunchy sweet apple. The smell of cinnamon reminds me of the hot apple cider we used to drink as kids which was always accompanied by a cinnamon stick that we used as a straw. Apples remind me of my mom’s homemade apple pies made from bushels of apples that we used to pick up with the apple cider and freshly made cinnamon doughnuts at our local apple orchard shop in Ontario, Canada. Smell and taste intertwine with memories in a fabulous way so that one sniff or bite of a familiar scent or flavour can transport you back in time. I love that about food and I want to create those sorts of scent and flavour memories for my family so that’s why I favour traditional baking.
I love Dutch Apple Cake because it is a simple and light cake full of apples and cinnamon that is perfect for sharing over coffee with family and friends who drop over to visit. Although I didn’t grow up eating this exact cake, I did grow up with the Dutch Canadian tradition of serving and eating cake/desserts with coffee when visitors came over or when we called over to family. I think it’s a pretty standard thing to do with most nationalities but it has always stood out to me as so very Dutch because Dutch people love their desserts. My first trip to the Netherlands was spent visiting a lot of family and eating a lot of cake. This is just the sort of cake that goes perfectly for those sorts of occasions.
This is Rachel Allen’s Swedish Apple Cake recipe that I have made many times from her Cake cookbook. She also has a recipe for Dutch Apple Cake in her Bake cookbook that I have made but I prefer her Swedish version of the cake. I’ve just omitted the sugary cinnamon topping that she adds which makes it more like a Swedish cinnamon bun. And I’m taking the liberty of calling it a Dutch Apple Cake instead.
This cake is my idea of what cake should be, light and sweet with a little bit of fruit added in. It is by no means a ‘health food’ cake. Sometimes when you want cake, nothing else will do. I’m not afraid of butter and sugar and let’s be honest they make things taste so delicious why substitute. The Dutch have long been lovers of sweet things. My Oma loved her chocolate (as do I) and my Opa loved his stroopwafles (Dutch caramel cookie waffles). Considering they both managed to live long healthy lives past the age of 90, I think they were on to something. So here’s to cake just as it should be enjoyed.
Ingredients: 3 apples, 250g plain flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 150g caster sugar, 150g butter (melted), 3 eggs beaten.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter the sides of a 9 inch cake tin and line the base with a disc of parchment paper.
2. Peel the apples. Dice two apples into 1cm pieces and slice the third apple into thin wedges. Tip – To keep the apples from browning squeeze some lemon juice over them.
3. Mix the dry ingredients together by sifting the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into the bowl of an electric mixer then add the sugar.
4. Next, add the two diced apples followed by the melted butter and eggs. Mix until well combined.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and lay the apples slices on top, fanning them out from the centre.
6. Bake for 45 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing the cake and transferring it to a serving plate.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee over an afternoon catch up with a close friend.