With Halloween behind us, the next holiday, Thanksgiving, is already looming over our heads again. This is another holiday I did not grow up with, but have come to love as well. Seriously, what's not to like about a holiday that is pretty much centered around good food, family and friends? There are so many delicious eats that are hard to resist. From the wonderful cooked turkey, to great sides and last but certainly not least, amazing seasonal pies and cakes.
I usually make a few very traditional dishes for our feast, but my German touches are never far. Our Thanksgiving dessert table also holds an assortment of "American" pies and at least a German cake or two. Today's featured apple cake is one that my mom (Oma Ingrid to my kids) has been baking for as long as I can remember and was also one of the first cakes I baked for my husband. Apple desserts are some of my favorites and this one is irresistible by having a fantastic nut topping. Served with some whipped cream it is a true family favorite.
The cake has three components. A crust, reminiscent of ones that are used in sweet tarts. A grated apple filling that really let's the apples shine without overpowering them with spices, and a nut crust made from butter, sugar, finely ground nuts and heavy cream. The crust is made quickly with the use of a food processor, but can also be made in a stand mixer. After pressing the crust into a greased springform pan it is set into the refrigerator while the apple filling and topping are prepared. Use your favorite apples in this, Cameo, Gala, or Honey-crisp are great choices that lend the perfect balance of sweet and tart, without getting too mushy after baking. The apples are grated before mixing them with a bit of lemon juice, sugar and flour, then placed inside the crust. Finely ground almonds or hazelnuts (my favorite) are mixed together with melted butter, sugar and heavy cream and then spread over the apple filling making sure to cover the entire cake before baking.
The cake takes a little bit time to put together, but is well worth the effort. It might not be the prettiest or most colorful cake you've ever seen, but let me tell you it makes up for it in flavor and has a wonderful rustic charm that fits so well into the season. This is a cake that is requested over and over in our home and is never missing on our Thanksgiving table. I do hope if you give this recipe a try, you'll enjoy adding some German touches to your table as well!
Oma Ingrid's German Apple Cake
For the crust:
250 grams all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100 grams sugar
125 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
For the apple filling:
6 medium apples
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
For the nut topping:
125 grams finely ground hazelnuts or almonds
75 grams melted butter
100 grams sugar
3-4 tablespoons heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
For the crust: Add flour, baking powder and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Add the egg and once again pulse until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface and quickly knead until dough comes together. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the prepped springform pan. Set pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling and topping.
For the filling: Peel, core and grate apples. Add them to a large bowl and toss with flour, sugar and lemon juice. Set aside while you prepare the nut topping.
For the topping: In a medium bowl combine the ground nuts, melted butter, sugar and heavy cream. Stir to combine until the mixture is like a paste.
Putting it all together: Remove springform pan with crust from the fridge. Pour apple mixture into the formed crust and spread evenly. Spread nut topping over top of the apples, making sure to cover apples completely. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 - 55 minutes. Check after 45 minutes and if the topping and crust get to dark, cover with a piece of aluminum to prevent over browning.
Remove cake from oven and cool for about 20 minutes before removing sides of the pan (make sure to run a sharp knife around the edges before attempting). Let cool completely before serving.
Adapted from: My mom