Sharlotka: Russian Apple Cake

Sharlotka

Fall is fast approaching and for some reason home feels cozier and warmer. Fall is always associated with the smell of cinnamon, lounge music, coffee shops, hot drinks and aromatic baked goodies. Today I felt like baking! It doesn’t happen too often but I finished work early today and wanted to surprise my boyfriend with freshly made home cooked desert.

My last baking experiment was not so successful as I tried to be diet-conscious and skipped on real sugar and white flour. The result was very disappointing! Apparently, scones are not eatable without a good amount of sugar! So this time I decided to make a real deal and not worry about calories. I was dreaming about having Sharlotka, Russian Apple Cake from my childhood. I learned how to bake it in “Housewife Class” in middle school. YES, we had a class only for girls where they taught us how to be good wives! We learned how to sew and distinguish different materials (cotton, synthetics, silk etc.), how to knit, and of course bake! I remember how all girls in the class got divided into smaller groups and made sharlotka for our male population of the class. Needlessly to say, the experience was horrific but fun for us while some boys complained about stomachaches after.

Anyway, I missed its taste and I wanted to make it right this time. The outcome was dangerously delicious! Sharlotka was just like I remember it from my childhood or even better. WHY? Why something that tastes so good is so bad for you?? That’s why I only bake few times a year!

The recipe is very simple. I stole this one from Sassy Radish blog. Thank you Olga for the great recipe! I only tweaked it a little.

Sharlotka Recipe

Ingredients:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg  I didn’t have any
4 large apples (900 to 1000 grams), preferably all different kinds, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks I used 5 smaller ones
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons (29 grams) dark rum I used cognac that I found in my liquire cabinet
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) vanilla extract
1 stick (8 tablespoons, 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Preparation:

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and place it on a baking sheet line with parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Sharlotka-ingredients

3. In another large bowl whisk together the eggs until they are foamy. I used my new best kitchen friend – Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer! It makes my job SO much easier and cleaner! Add the sugar and whisk until well blended, about 2 minutes. Whisk in rum and vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, whisk in half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the rest of the butter. Mix gently – so that the resulting batter is smooth and thick. Using a rubber spatula, fold in apple chunks making sure that each piece is coated with the batter. Scrape the mixture into the springform pan and smooth it out as best as you can with a spatula. The raw cake will look lumpy, almost as if you don’t have enough better.

Sharlotka-batter

4. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 55 to 70 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. I only baked it for 40 minutes. It was brown, crispy outside and soft inside! You might see the cake pulling away a bit on at the sides. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to rest for 15 minutes.

5. Using a butter knife, carefully run it around the edges of the cake and carefully remove the sides of the springform, being careful not to pull away any apple bits. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before removing it from the bottom of the springform (same process as removing the sides). Serve at room temperature. The cake will keep for a few days – best to over it with a kitchen towel rather than plastic wrap.

Sharlotka-2

Bon Appetite!

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