Saturday, March 13, 2010

Recipe: Szarlotka (Apple Cake)

A traditional layered apple cake that serves quite well as a coffee cake.

OK, but before we get started, I'm going to go off on the lack of vanilla extract here. In my baking, I usually use gallons of the stuff; here, they have aromat waniliowy (basically the scent of vanilla) and vanilla sugar. Vanilla sugar works best because it actually has the vanilla flavor; the other stuff just makes your cake/cookies/pastry smell like vanilla (kind of stupid, right?) I haven't been able to procure some vanilla beans, so I'm stuck using packets of vanilla sugar.
Also, they do a lot of measuring by weight here (in metric too. Double whammy.) So I just converted it to English units.

1 lb of flour plus a little more
5.5 ounces of powdered sugar
5 egg yolks (or just use the whole egg.)
5.5 ounces of oil
5 ounces of butter
1 tsp baking powder (optional)
Dash of almond oil (optional)

3.5 lb of apples

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Combine everything but the apples and mix into a dough. Wrap the dough up and put it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour. Peel and shred the apples (mashing them into apple sauce also works.) Take about 2/3 the dough and spread evenly into a greased cake pan or baking dish. Spread the apples evenly on top of the dough.
Next, there are two ways of adding the remaining 1/3 of the dough. You can just spread it on and shove that sucker in the oven; or, shred the dough with a grated and sprinkle it atop the apples. Regardless of how you apply the top layer of dough, stick it in the oven for 30-45 minutes. After it's done, you can dust it with powdered sugar.

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