Versunkener Apfelkuchen

Whisked away by the season, I took to my kitchen this morning armed with a number of apples Mr. E had bought earlier in the week. Inspired by a recent post seen on Smitten Kitchen, I dug through my fridge and pantry, happy with the results of my search.

Serves 8 in standard wedges, up to 12 in thinner ones

Apple Filling
4 small Macintosh apples, halved, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (originally should have been lemon but lime worked just fine)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 tablespoons) granulated sugar
1/4 cup clove honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs, separated
2 good pinches of salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 cup honey
A good pinch of sea salt

Heat oven: To 350°F. Coat a 9-inch dark cake pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

Place peeled, halved and cored apples cut-side-down on a cutting board. Use a knife to create parallel thin slices cut halfway down each apple, taking care to keep its form in tact. In a bowl, toss apples with lime juice and 2 tablespoon granulated sugar.

In a separate large bowl, cream butter and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar together in a bowl with a hand mixer. Add honey and mix until combined. Add vanilla and egg yolks, beating until just combined. Add salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder over cake batter, and mix for just 5 seconds, until they disappear. Add flour, half at a time, mixing until combined – take care not to over mix as this will result in a tougher crumb.

In a separate bowl with cleaned beaters, beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the cake powder in thirds. Again, do not over mix as you will lose the volume you’ve achieved in mixing your egg whites.

Spread cake batter in prepared cake pan, smoothing the top. Place apple halves face down over the cake batter. Pour any excess juice and sugar in the bowl over the apples.

Bake cake on the middle rack for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. After 5 minutes, remove cake from the pan and let cool completely.

Microwave 1/4 cup honey and a good pinch of sea salt for 30 seconds. Brush honey-salt mixture over cooled cake. Serve.


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