Photo: Greg Seber
This post was originally published on October 16, 2009 and is now updated. I have added a recipe video and tweaked the recipe for best results.
Apple Sharlotka is a classic Russian cake that is prepared with tangy apples. Anyone who spent a chunk of his or her life (like me) in Soviet Union knows this cake. Born in Russia and popular across the vast Soviet geography, the cake belonged to the category of foods dubbed as perfect for gostya na poroge, or guests-at-the doorstep. So, this is a cake that a host can put together in no time, while chatting away with the guests to “blame.”
All you need is a few tart apples and a very basic cake batter made with nothing more than eggs, sugar, and flour, poured on top of the cake. Bake it to a golden perfection and you are one happy camper. And so are you guests. Guaranteed. Let’s do it.
Peeled, cored, and sliced apples.
The beginning of the cake batter.
The batter should not be very runny, neither is should be too thick.
Out of the oven, nice and golden!
WATCH HOW TO MAKE APPLE SHARLOTKA CAKE:
- 5 large apples (about 2 pounds / 1 kg), preferably a tart variety, such as Granny Smith
- ¼ teaspoon or to taste, ground cinnamon (optional but recommended)
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or a pinch of vanilla powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Butter, for greasing the pan
- Powdered sugar, for coating the cake
- Peel and core the apples. Quarter them, then slice each quarter crosswise into pieces of medium thickness (see pictures and video).
- Butter the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan (you can use a regular pan, but it is easier to unmold the baked cake from a springform pan). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
- Place the apples in the pan (no need to arrange them neatly). If using cinnamon, sprinkle it on the apples and toss the apples to coat them with cinnamon. (For added taste and texture, you can also add some chopped raw walnuts and/or raisins to the apples, if you wish.) Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
- In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until light in color, about 5-7 minutes. (The more you beat, the more the cake will rise and the softer it will be.) Add the vanilla extract or vanilla powder and flour. Beat briefly until well blended (do not over-beat!). If the batter is too runny, add a little more flour.
- Pour the batter evenly over the apples. Do not mix! Put the pan aside for a few minutes to allow for the batter to cover the apples completely and fill in the spaces in the pan.
- Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 50 minutes, or until the top is golden and a wooden stick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature, then unmold from the pan. Carefully invert the cake onto a cake platter (the apples will now be on top). Allow to cool completely then sift some powdered sugar on top (optional).