And now, for a brief interruption in the program…
Before I regale you with free yoga sites and tasty new smoothie ideas, I want to interject with a recipe for Apfelkuchen (that’s apple cake to those on this side of the pond) that is near and dear to me. It isn’t particularly difficult to make, but it certainly looks impressive, and the beautifully sliced apples are wrapped in a warm embrace of perfectly buttery, almondy cake. It’s ever so quintessentially German and reminds me of home. I’ve been wanting to post about it for a while, and recently had the chance to make it again when we had our first BBQ of the season (!!!) and had some friends over. Yes, the snow has finally disappeared from even the shadiest nooks and crannies of the yard, and our thirst for something green and growing is now being quenched.
Granted, we might have jumped the gun a bit with the BBQ, since we ended up having to move it inside after the grilling bit since we were all shivering. Still, the backyard has come a looooong way from just 2 months ago! Below are some photos of the crazy transition – first one is from 14 February, when I dug out the BBQ, and the very next day, when we got dumped on again.
Obviously, you have to have some fun with that much snow, so I decided to make a snow cave! This has always been a dream of mine, and we finally had enough snow to make it happen! Oddly enough, though I had gotten a bit tired of shoveling the driveway and sidewalk, I managed to shovel away at my snow cave for hours quite happily. Funny how it’s not a chore when it’s for something fun 🙂 I then chilled (literally) in my cave for a bit with a glass of wine and my book – it was awesome to say the least, and very cozy!
Fast forward to the beautiful sunshine of spring, and here’s our backyard at the moment – quite snow cave-less.
Even though it was still a bit chilly, it was impossible to resist a snowless backyard and a BBQ that was finally free after so many months of being trapped!! While the Kiwi manned the grill, I made an Apfelkuchen that was just as delectable as those I had as a child.
I’ve included both the original metric measurements (since it comes from a German recipe) along with the conversions. If you don’t yet have a digital scale, I highly recommend getting one if you do a lot of baking! The measurements will be more accurate, which can make a huge difference in your finished product. For instance, 200g of flour is 200g of flour since it goes by weight, but 1 cup of flour could be different depending on how packed down the flour is or how you scoop the flour. Most good-quality baking books will have metric measurements as well (that’s usually how you know a recipe is legit!).
125g (9 Tbsp. unsalted butter), softened (see Note)
125g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp.) granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
3 eggs (preferably at room temperature)
150g (1 cup + 1/8 cup) flour
50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
2 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. milk
2 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered (Granny Smith or another firm, tart apple work best)
2 Tbsp. apricot jam
squeeze of lemon juice
Note: If you forgot to take your butter out of the fridge in time so that it could get nice and soft, you can cut the butter into large chunks (about 1 Tbsp. in size), and zap it in the microwave for 15 sec at first. If the butter still isn’t soft, then give it another 10 sec at a time until the butter is room temp. and a knife can be run through it easily.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.
2. With a mixer, blend the butter and sugar together until creamy, about 3-4 min. Add the vanilla, salt, and lemon zest and mix until combined.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure each is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.
4. In a small bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds, and baking powder.
5. Starting with the flour mixture, add one third to the butter mixture and mix until combined. With the mixer still running, add a bit of the milk, then another third of the flour mixture, then a bit of the milk, until the flour mixture and milk have been used up.
6. Plop the dough into the pre-greased springform pan.
7. Taking one of the apple quarters, make 8 slits in it that go almost all the way through, but not cutting all the way through the apple. Do this with all of the apple quarters.
8. Place the apple quarters on top of the dough, with 6 around the outside and one in the middle (you’ll have one left over to munch on while you wait for the cake to bake!).
9. Bake for 40-50 min., until golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
10. Warm the apricot jam and lemon juice with a dash of water in a small pan. Brush on top of the cake while it’s still warm. It will look shiny at first, but will then settle down a bit!
The intimidating part about having a blog is that the longer you go without posting…