Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple Brown Sugar Sharlotka

October is here and to me that means apples and pumpkins and lots of leaves to rake! I've already filled my freezer with tons of applesauce and my fridge is filled with grape, plum and raspberry jams. I still have to make the last of my oregano and basil into pesto and then I might be ready for the chill of winter. But I'm skipping ahead, aren't I?

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. It allows me to transition not only physically, but mentally, from a time of relative relaxation (think deck sitting in summer) to an urgent, more demanding season. I only have to look at the squirrels to know what they are thinking about. The glory of fall, I believe, is that it allows us to appreciate what is behind us and lets us have some time to get ready for all we still have yet to do. 

Enter the apple. Whole Foods want us to think apples. After a bumper crop of apples, and crab apples, it has been hard to get them out of my mind. We've had to rake them from our front yard to keep our yard from smelling like a still. This however brings every squirrel and rabbit in the neighborhood, right to our front door. I'm not sure if they get dizzy from eating these apples, but I can tell you that they leave way to many for me to pick up. I finally had to tell Manservant to stop sorting the good apples from the bad, because the freezer was full! 

But back to Whole Foods. Yesterday on a rainy, cold, gray day, I ventured out and filled my senses in their produce department. Apples of various varieties from Ela Family Farms, a local grower that produces Jonathans, Galas and Honeycrisps, quickly caught my eye. Other apples of many varieties were also available and all looked so resplendent in shades of green and red, and even yellow. My guess is that each state in the country has their own regional varieties and it would be fun to hear what you can find that I can't. Besides all the fresh apples, Whole Foods has a wide array of apple recipes and apple products including their apple pies, caramel apples, apple soap, maple, apple and bacon pizza (YUM!), apple soup and others too numerous to mention!

The timing of this all coincided with my receiving the latest Food and Wine issue that features a sharlotka on the last page of the magazine. I had never made one before and loved the idea that a cake could have no butter. Who would have thought? Now the picture I took looks nothing like the one in the magazine, but I'll wager it tastes better!
I chose to substitute in brown sugar because, not only do I love the taste, I also love its caramelly qualities. Caramelly is a word, right? If not, it should be!

After tasting a bite, Manservant said that it tastes like a professional made it. Well, I've spent over thirty some years in the kitchen cooking and baking and cleaning, so I feel that qualifies me as a professional. I have no clue what he meant by this!  This cake does have a meringue like top with a crisp bite to it, so maybe that's what made him think this. It is filled with lightly sweetened, tender apples, that contain a hint of cinnamon. You will think fall when you make this. You will smell fall when you bake this. You will taste fall when you eat this. Enjoy!

Whole Foods is giving away 1 $25 gift card to help fill your basket.  This is a sponsored post by Whole Foods but all opinions expressed are mine, baby. All mine. This giveaway is easy to enter as long as you live in the US. Giveaway closes on October 31st, 2014. Subscribe if you don't want to miss the announcement of the winner or tune in on November 3rd  to see if you won!  The winner will be chosen by a Random Number Generator! So now, to enter: (dahdah, dah, dah, de DAH!) Enter once by leaving me a comment and telling me what your favorite apple or apple recipe is. Enter twice by subscribing to This is How I Cook. Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter. 

Apple, Brown Sugar Sharlotka (adapted from Food and Wine)
Time to Make: 30 minutes
Time to Bake: 60 minutes
Makes: 1 6" cake to serve 6 people who are watching their diet!

4 small Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered and thinly sliced (I used a mandoline, but you can slice them thin)
1 1/2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c plus 1 T flour
1/4 t cinnamon
A few shavings of nutmeg
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/2 t almond or vanilla extract
Butter for greasing pan
Powdered Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of a 6" springform pan with butter.

In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice and 1 T of sugar and let stand for about 15 minutes. 

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the extract, and the remaining sugar at medium high speed, for about 8-10 minutes, until thick and pale yellow, when the beaters are raised.This should form a thick ribbon falling from the beaters. Gently fold in the dry ingredients.

Spread the apples in the prepared springform pan and pour batter over evenly. Let stand for five minutes to allow the batter to sink in a bit.

Bake for about an hour, until it is golden and crisp on top and a cake tester comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and let rest for 15 minutes. Remove sides and transfer to a platter. Dust with sugar. Serve and feel like a professional!

Other Apple Recipes:
German Apple Pancake
Fresh Cranberry and Apple Salad
Halvah Stuffed Baked Apples

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  1. I follow you via Pinterest (!

  2. Your apple brown sugar sharlotka looks absolutely stunning and love those layers. Please get the kettle going I will be right over to join you!

  3. Fall is my favorite season, too. Partially because I begin craving heartier foods that take more kitchen time to prepare (and when one is in a hurry, too much kitchen time is a bother; but in general it's a lot of fun, and I enjoy it). This does look like a professional made it! Whatever that means. ;-) Frankly, all of us who've cooked for 30+ years probably do quite a few dishes better than a lot of "professionals." ;-)

  4. How did I miss this recipe in Food and Wine? It looks terrific as I love ALL apple desserts. Maybe if I make this I will forget about the hectic season ahead, right?

  5. You are a professional- and don't forget that, lol.... anyway this apple Shalotka looks delish! My favorite apple dessert is an great apple crisp with vanilla ice cream on top. YUM!

  6. My favorite is country apple fritter bread.

  7. I subscribe to This is How I Cook.

  8. My favorite apple recipe is a Dutch Apple pie with a touch of lemon zest in the crumb and a pinch of cayenne in the filling. De-lish!

  9. I'm an email subscriber too -

  10. A gooey sweet apple filling and crisp topping..a lovely cake for a Fall afternoon tea break.

  11. Such a beautiful cake. I love all things apple. And I especially love how the whole house smells when I'm cooking and baking with them. Can't wait to try this for my family.

  12. My favorite apple recipe is a good old fashioned Apple Crisp!

  13. I follow you on twitter! @sockmonkeydiva

  14. I am a subscriber to your posts!

  15. There is no Whole Foods nearby, so I'm not entering the giveaway, but this looks SO good - thanks for a great recipe!

  16. Love this cake, and that crust sounds sooooo good! I'm a huge fan of apple butter, and I think that's my favorite thing to do with apples every fall.

  17. This does look delicious (and professional) with that crackly crust! I love apple desserts and one of my favorites is a baked apple dumpling stuffed with fruit and nuts.

  18. My favorite apple recipe is Sour Cream Apple Cake. It is rich and so good in the fall!

  19. Beautiful and most delicious looking cake!
    My family can't never get enough of apple-cake and I'm sure this one would be a hit on our table :)

  20. This is such a nice and delicious apple desserts...I sure would like a slice of this cake.
    Hope you are having a great week Abbe :D

  21. I can never have enough apple desserts and this one is a beauty!!

  22. If a word means something, then "caramelly is indeed a word because I knew exactly what you meant. This cake sounds delicious, Abbe, hitting all the right notes for this time of year.
    Zia had a large crab apple tree just beyond the back of her home. As beautiful as it was every Spring, the mess it became as Summer wore on -- crab apples rotting everywhere and with them countless flies and wasps -- her son cut it down last Fall. As empty as that area was in Spring, it was so much nicer the rest of the year.
    As for the contest, I'm following you everywhere -- in a good way and not at all stalker-ish. :)

  23. This looks beautiful, Abbe. Ooo, I would so love to get a taste!
    Raking leaves was one of the chores I never looked forward to... :P

  24. that looks amazing, Abbe! I thought i was appled out due to some apple picking (and coming home with like 30 lbs of apples), but as it turns out, i'm not. Not after seeing this. :)

  25. There s nothing better than fruits and veggies from your own garden, maybe it's only psychological but it tastes so much better.
    The apples look beautiful, so does the Sharlotka.

  26. My favorite apple is a granny smith apple!
    Faithrains2387 (At) Yahoo (dot) com

  27. Subscribed via email to your blog!
    Faithrains2387 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  28. Following you on Pinterest (heavensangel238)
    faithrains2387 (At) Yahoo (dot) com

  29. Follow you on Pinterest as deniseleb!
    dmarie824 at aol dot com

  30. Damn delicious and comforting apple cake!!!

  31. Hi Abbie, wow! your sharlotka looks so much better than mine, love that you added brown sugar, bet this was delicious!

  32. I love homemade apple pie with a crumble on top.
    prettyinhotpink6 at gmail dot com

  33. Beautiful cake! Looks delicious!