The weather may have warmed up in the past day or so, but it is still cold enough to justify a delicious helping of sticky sweet carbs which means Allegra McEvedy’s G2 Recipe yesterday for Swedish Apple Cake leapt out at me immediately, especially as I had some apples needing eaten up and it promised to take only 15 minutes to prepare. The fact she suggests using a deep frying pan instead of a cake tin really appealed as it sounded like a real time saver…
With the oven preheating gently at 175°C and the apples chopped, I turned my attention to whisking the eggs and sugar together. 20 minutes later it still wasn’t thick and pale as described in the recipe, but my arm was practically hanging off. I couldn’t work out if the colour was due to the fact that my organic eggs had the brightest yolks I’ve ever seen and while the mixture had thickened, it was hard to tell from the recipe how thick thick was supposed to be.
Impatience did for me at this point and I decided to fold the dry ingredients in anyway. The mixture looked almost like dough when combined and adding the water and melted butter mix was nerve-wracking as it just sat above the doughy mixture and was difficult to beat into a batter-like consistency. To really beat it well and avoid lumps, it would have been better to have used a much larger bowl to prevent slopping batter everywhere, but I managed it without total chaos in the kitchen.
I poured the batter into my magic non-stick frying pan with the detachable handle (the best birthday present ever from Mister North!) and dropped the pieces of peeled and chopped Braeburn apples into the batter until it was groaning with fruit. I sprinkled ground cinnamon over the top and scattered some more ordinary caster sugar over the top rather than the golden granulated suggested since I didn’t have any. I couldn’t be bothered to melt any extra butter to put over the top so skipped that step.
I put the cake into a well preheated oven and forgot about it slightly as the phone rang and distracted me so the it baked for just over an hour which is slightly more than the 40-50 minutes suggested. It came out looked golden brown, almost burnt on the apples on the very top and looked absolutely mouth-watering.
I left it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes as suggested and then turned it out onto a plate…only to find that despite the extra 20 minutes cooking time and a skewer coming out clean, the cake still wasn’t cooked. Most of the apples on the top fell out when I tried to turn it right way up and I had to shove them back into the holes left and then bodily lift the rather hot, slightly liquid cake back into the pan. Another shake of cinnamon to hide the wonky apples and it went back into the oven at 200°C for another 10 minutes.
This seemed to do the trick and the cake seemed a lot more ‘set’ when I took it out the second time. I left it to cool for about 45 minutes in the pan, having discovered first time round that while it’s great not to have to bother greasing and lining a cake tin for this recipe, it’s much much harder to get a warm cake out of a frying pan than a springform tin. The fact the cake had shrunk back from the edges of the pan upon actually being cooked meant I could get my plastic palette knife in and manoeuvre the cake on a plate with a wing and a prayer!
Luckily the rustic look of the cake disguised the fact the apples had been shoved back on the top and the cake had split slightly when being lifted back into the pan to go back in the oven. I would definitely advise mixing the apple pieces through the batter before pouring it or pushing them more firmly into the batter if I was baking this again. But now I was impatient to try it…
The cake was soft and moist and springy on cutting into it and it looked delicious. Sadly, it was a case of looking better than it tasted. The base was tough and hard to cut with the side of a fork while the middle was soft to the point of being wet and tasted bland and slightly eggy, like a gigantic pancake. The apples added some much need taste and texture on the top, but couldn’t rescue the cake from being a bit too sweet for my liking. But the light golden crispy edges of the cake rescue this cake from disaster territory!
If I was to bake this again, I would add some nutmeg to the batter to add some subtle spicing and take away the sheer egginess of it. Some more cinnamon might not go amiss either. Unless I was using the Bramleys suggested in the recipe, I would omit the sugar sprinkled on the top as I think this makes it too sweet. I’d try the melted butter instead to give a crispiness to the top of the cake. And I would definitely use a cake tin and turn the oven up a bit when cooking it. Like many of Allegra McEvedy’s recipes, this was a bit slapdash but with some care and attention to spicing, it could be a real winner.