Friday, September 18, 2009

Dutch Apple Cake . . . History Will Remember This Cake!

Apples have been on my mind lately. More specifically, apples in cakes. And if we're narrowing it down even further, the famous apple cake they sell at IKEA (the gargantuan Swedish furniture and home-goods store), in their cafeteria, has been on my mind. I've tasted this cake maybe three times at most. If you've never tried it, and someday you have the opportunity to do so, you've got to have at least one big bite. It's fantastically good. Fantastically. I wouldn't lie to you about a subject this serious.

Now and then I'd hunted around on the internet trying to zero in on the recipe for that particular cake, but never with much luck. I'd seen a couple of recipes that more or less claimed to be "The IKEA Recipe," but they looked to me like fakers. So you can imagine my cautious glee when I found a promising recipe a few days ago for a Dutch apple cake in sort of a funky looking cookbook that had belonged to my mom. The book is called Heartland Baking from the Midwest's Best Cooks. The recipe had potential, to say the least, and I started laying plans to alter it to fit my purpose as precisely as possible.

Silently I schemed, "Let's see . . . nix all of the lemon zest . . . make the cake in a 10" springform pan instead of a 13" x 9" pan . . . have the crust go up the sides of the pan instead of just on the bottom . . . completely get rid of that topping made with cornflakes (of all things--cornflakes?), and replace it with a nice basic streusel. Decrease the amount of cinnamon in the apple mixture. Hmm . . . there, I think that might do it."

I made the cake today and it couldn't have turned out better. It's not too sweet. Not too dry and not too moist. It slices so cooperatively. If you wanted to, you could add a traditional Scandinavian vanilla sauce to dress it up, though it's perfectly good on its own. It's almost a misnomer to call it a cake . . . it's more accurately the marriage between an apple cake and an apple pie. Such a union would engender just this dessert--I'm sure of it!

So, now that I've effectively given this recipe the Jane's Sweets Seal of Extreme and Undying Approval, I really think you should gather up your baking supplies and go make one. Mmm hmm. Go ahead.

(Just in case you're interested, further details about the recipe's attribution can be found at the end of this post under "Recipe Full Disclosure!"')

Dutch Apple Cake

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10" springform pan with baking spray, or butter the bottom and sides (I opted for the former, because I didn't want to take any chances, but I assume just buttering the pan would work fine too.)

For the crust:
2/3 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups All Purpose flour (I used unbleached, but I doubt it matters if you use bleached)

For the filling:
2 large eggs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 oz. sour cream
Approximately 5 and 1/2 cups sliced, peeled apples (I used a mixture of Honeycrisp, Paula Red, and Golden Delicious)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

For the streusel topping:
1 cup and 2 Tbsp. All Purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2/3 of a stick of unsalted butter, room temperature

To make the crust:
In a medium mixer bowl, using the paddle attachment, mix the butter until soft (about 30 seconds on a medium-high speed). Add the 1/2 cup sugar to the butter and beat until combined. Add all of the flour and beat until the mixture looks crumbly.

Pour the mixture into your prepared springform pan. Press the crumbs to cover the bottom of the pan, and halfway up the sides. Press firmly. (Try to get the thickness fairly even all over, but don't worry if it looks lumpy and rustic; it doesn't have to be as perfect looking as you'd probably want it to be for a cheesecake crust.)

Put the crust into the oven for about 18 minutes, until it becomes slightly golden around the top edge. Remove from the oven and set aside.

To prepare the filling:
In a medium mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until foamy. Add the 1/4 cup sugar. Beat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture looks thick and lemon colored. Gently fold in the sour cream.

In a large saucepan, combine the apples with a small amount of water (a cup or so). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the apples, covered, for about 3 minutes just until they're tender. Drain them well and let them cool slightly.

Pour them back into a bowl, or back into the saucepan.

In a small bowl combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the cinnamon. Pour this over the apples and stir to coat.

Spread the coated apple slices evenly over the crust. Pour the sour cream mixture evenly over that and spread it with a spatula as needed.

To prepare the streusel topping:
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl; add in the butter with a pastry blender until you see some pea-sized clumps. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the filling.

Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until the top is quite golden. Let the cake cool completely, on a rack, before you attempt to remove the side of the springform pan. Delicious at room temperature or cold.

Recipe Full Disclosure! In the cookbook mentioned above, the original version of this apple cake recipe appears on page 29 and it's called Trudie's Dutch Apple Cake. It is credited to someone named Trudie Seybold, "owner of the Forest View Gardens restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio." I found the sweetest article about the closing, in 2001, of this very lively German restaurant after over 60 years of operation. It must have been a wonderful place. (The article even has a photo of Trudie and her husband kissing!)

(If you'd like to comment on this post or read any existing comments, click on the purple COMMENTS below!)


Unknown said...

JANE - this cake looks devine! Perfect fall/autumn cake...looks quite delicious. Great job!!!

Jane said...

Thanks very much, Nina! I was thrilled with the way it turned out, I must admit.

:) Jane

Pursuit of Healthfulness said...

It's great that a dessert from the IKEA cafeteria of all places has captivated you this much! It must be worth trying!

Unknown said...

Jane this looks delicious.. Very different - a cake with a crust! Im going to try this soon

Xiaolu said...

Gorgeous looking cake, Jane! I'm sad I'll be really busy at work this apple season and probably won't have much time to play with them in the kitchen.

Hanaâ said...

Your perseverance paid off!! I'm glad you liked the recipe. The cake looks beautiful. What's the texture of the custard around the apples like? Not too eggy, I hope? I'm a bit of an eggo-phobe.

Btw, thank you so much for stopping by for my 1st blogaversary and your kind words. I'm glad we met and look forward to frequently visiting your blog and discussing bakeology :o)

The Food Librarian said...

I'm in love. With this cake and with Ikea's cake!!! Thank you for finding this recipe that captures all that is good about Ikea! :) Yours look even better too!!!! - mary the food librarian

Jane said...

Hi Pursuit-- I'm glad you think that. I realize it must sound a little fanatic or nutty to be talking about a "famous" cake from a cafeteria of all places, but that's really what it is! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

Hi there Avanika-- Thanks very much! As cakes go, I guess it's at the far end of the spectrum towards pies or even cheesecake, but it sure is good. Always appreciate your sweet and encouraging comments!

Hello Xiaolu! It can be tough to find time to bake sometimes. So tragic, yes? I feel for you! Hope you can squeeze in an "apple something or other" while it's still autumn. Thanks for visiting!

Hi Hanaa! Actually, I was thinking of you frequently as I was pondering this recipe and preparing to make it. In fact, I almost sent you the recipe ahead of time to say, "Do you think this is really a Dutch style recipe? Is it authentic??" but I don't have your email address! I'm glad you think it's beautiful--thanks so much. I, too, am pretty egg-phobic in the way you described and I'm relieved to be able to report that the egginess is almost nonexistent. That filling has a more of a slightly cheesecake-like quality than an eggy one, though it's not overly rich and dense like cheesecake filling.



Jane said...

Gosh, thanks so much, Mary! I've been hoping someone who's tried that IKEA cake would happen by with a reaction. I'm so glad you visited,too, as I'm a BIG fan of your beautiful blog. (Hey, if you ever actually try the recipe I'd love to hear how you think it compares to the real thing.) Thanks again for the compliment! Much appreciated.

:) Jane

Mini Baker said...

yum yum yum! thanks for sharing this recipe!I just found your blog and I love it, I'll be checking back often :)
-Mini Baker

Hanaâ said...

I’m glad you went ahead and made it, because I wouldn’t have been much help to you. The traditional apple pie/cake recipes I’m familiar with are different from what you’ve made. Either way, in case you need to email me in the future, my email address is: HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com. I’ll let you know when I post my traditional Dutch “appeltaart” on my blog. The pie concept still applies: crust, filling, top crust (usually lattice top) or streusel topping. However, the Dutch don’t use a flaky pie crust. Instead they use a pâte sucrée and they bake it in a springform pan, so the ‘pie” has straight edges and they’re much taller than the American apple pie, giving you a greater “filling to crust ratio”. The filling usually consists of apples, sugar, spices, and raisins. After baking, it’s glazed with an apricot jam glaze (if using a lattice top). And it’s served either plain or with sweetened whipped cream.

Hanaâ said...

This Dutch apple cake recipe looks pretty traditional: This one's filling is made with marzipan.

Some cakes have grated apple them. Those are the two variations of "cakes" I'm familiar with.

Jennie said...

I made this cake a couple of days ago and it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe ! One to keep

Jane said...

Dear Jennie,
That is wonderful to hear! I'm so glad the recipe worked well for you. Thanks a million for letting me know!
Jane :)

Pearl said...

Made this for our Thanksgiving dinner the other day. Great instructions! Although the 2/3 stick of butter was a guess... I used 1/4 cup and it seemed to be adequate. I also used 1% plain yogurt for the sour cream. We have a Hyer Apple tree, so used them. And the result was delicious! History will remember this cake! Had holidayed in The Netherlands last year and when we bicycled from town to town, we had to try the area's apple cake. Every town had their own version. So glad to have found yours!

LindaP said...

Found your recipe, hoping to make an Ikea apple cake for my grandson's 3rd birthday. We have been in love with this cake for years. I substituted heavy cream for sour cream due to dietary restrictions and found it needed an extra 10 minutes to bake. The cake was a superb, guilty pleasure. I hope my arteries will recover. The Ikea cake is much lighter, not as sweet, less guilt-ridden. I would like to take this recipe and try to modify it to comply more with my eating philosophy and maybe make it closer to the Ikea cake. FYI, Ikea has changed its recipe and the cake in their cafeteria is now different, not better, so sad. And my grandson refused to eat this version on his birthday, sorry Jane!!

eileen said...

I realize it has been awhile but I just wanted you to know that after returning from a trip to Holland where my husband's memory was piqued by a cake his mother made many years ago, I came home to search for a similar cake. We found your recipe and I am looking forward to trying it very soon. Thank you for helping to resurrect a memory for him.

Jane said...

Hi Eileen,
Thanks so much for letting me know you may be trying this recipe. I hope it fulfills that lovely "cake memory" for your husband! Let me know how you like it, if you do make it, okay?
Warm regards,
Jane :)

Anonymous said...

WOW, I just made this cake, it is outstanding. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I so wanted this cake to work out!!! We had the most amazing cake in the Netherlands this summer, and my attempts to get the recipe failed, so I was looking for a replacement!

I consider myself a good baker, but somehow this cake went very wrong!! :( My issues? I found the crust was too dry. There was too much flour in the crumble mixture. I think next time I will also sauté the apples in a bit of butter rather than the par-boiling. I find the granny smiths I used just lost any flavour in that method.

I will persevere!!