Friday, 12 February 2016

Apple cake "sharlotka"

I might be completely wrong, but I think this cake, or variation on it, is know to pretty much everybody in Russia. It is simple to make and tasty to eat.

We call it sharlotka, but, curiously, it has almost nothing to do with the apple charlotte. Apart from the apples, that is.

It is one of these strange situations when recipe changes dramatically, sometimes beyond recognition, but the name stays. Like Spanish "russian salad" with olives and tuna, both not-at-all most common ingredients in Russia.

Ingredients, more or less
Everybody will have a slightly different way of making it. Here is a recipe I use, but I do vary it sometimes.

Ingredients, in order of appearance:

4 small apples, or 3 medium, or 2 large... really depends on the size of your cake tin.
3 large eggs (could be 4 small)
1/2 teaspoonful salt
3/4 cup brown or white sugar
1 teaspoonful cinnamon (or more, if you like)
1 cup plain flour (approx)
1 teaspoonful baking powder

Line a baking tin with parchment (my baking tin is still 13 by 23 cm, well it is the same tin).

Have some foil ready to cover the mixture before it goes into the oven.

That's the size of chunks I use. Don't chop much finer, or the cake might get too soggy.

Peel, core and chop the apples.

Start the oven going, 210 °C (not fan-assisted), the rest of preparation is even faster.

Beat the eggs, add salt, beat some more, add sugar, beat some more, add cinnamon, beat some more, the mixture will foam.

Add the flour and baking powder, quickly mix with a spoon and then beat with the whisk to break the lumps, if any.

The mixture will be pour-able. If it appears too tough, add a little non-smelly oil, and I mean a little, like the size of egg yolk. Let's say a tablespoon.

Pour about half of the mixture into the tin, then mix the apples with the remaining half and scrape this into the tin, on top of the first half. I do this step, because I don't like apples sticking out, they tend to burn. Pouring first half  and then adding apples stops them from drifting right to the bottom.

Cover with foil - making a little tent, so that raising cake doesn't stick to the foil.

In it goes. In 15 minutes,  lower the temperature to 180 °C.

In 45 min from the beginning of baking take the foil off (keep it) and then bake for another 15 min to get some color on the upper crust.

Once the color looks good, switch the heat off, take the cake out of the oven, let it cool uncovered for 30 minutes and then cover with foil you saved to keep it moist. It's not a fancy cake which needs good presentation - you just get it out of the tin, cut a slice and put the rest back in.

Enjoy :)

Bonus track - the recipe as it was taught to me all these years ago:

4 apples
4 eggs
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
teaspoonful baking soda

peel and chop the apples, put them into a baking tin

mix all other ingredients well, pour the mixture on top of the apples, bake for 40 minutes.

That was it. The 4 - 4 - 1 - 1 makes it easier to remember, but I was getting some pretty soggy results, plus I always found it too sweet, so I modified the recipe to my liking. I am sure millions of other  modifications exist

Second Bonus track - same (but shorter) recipe in Spanish. I did it for my Spanish class, and there was a length limit, so some details might be missing, but still, here it is:

Bizchocho de Manzana Rusa (Sharlotka) 

Creo que este pastel, o su variación, se sabe por casi todo el mundo en Rusia. Es fácil de hacer y sabrosa. 

Lo llamamos sharlotka, pero no tiene casi nada en comun con la Charlotte de manzana, aparte de manzanas. Es uno de casos cuando la receta cambia drásticamente mientras que su nombre permanece. 

Todo el mundo tendrá una manera diferente a hacerlo. Esta es una receta que utilizo yo. 

4 manzanas pequeñas o 3 medianas, o 2 grandes, depende del molde. 
3 huevos grandes (4 pequeñas) 
1/2 cucharadita de sal 
 3/4 taza de azucar blanco o moreno 
1 cucharadita de canela 
1 taza de harina 
1 cucharadita de levadura en polvo 

Alineamos el molde con papel. 

Pelamos y cortamos las manzanas. 

Calentamos el horno hasta 210 ° C 

Batimos los huevos, sal, el azúcar y la canela. Añadimos la harina y la levadura, mezclamos rápidamente y luego batimos. 

La mezcla será bastante liquido para verter. 

Vertemos la mitad de la mezcla en el molde, mezclamos las manzanas con la otra mitad y metemos esta en el molde, encima de la primer mitad. Hago este, porque no me gusta cuando las manzanas se pegan hacia fuera, tienden a quemarse. 

Cubrimos con una pequeña “tienda” del papel de aluminio, asi que bizchocho no se adhiera al papel. 

Ponemos el molde en el horno. En 15 minutos, bajamos la temperatura a 180 ° C. 

En 45 minutos desde el inicio quitamos el papel de aluminio y lo guardamos. 

Dejamos sharlotka en horno durante 15 minutos mas. 

Sacamos la torta del horno, dejamos sin tapa por 30 minutos y luego cubrimos con papel de aluminio. 
Que disfruten :)

Pictures related to baking on shutterstock - here

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