Mary Berry is an inspiration I often turn to for a reliable cake recipe and I was in the mood to make a cake using apples. There’s always a couple over at the end of the week and they usually get stewed or just popped into my bag for lunch while out of a weekend. But Mary Berry’s Nusskuchen cake grabbed my attention and I thought I would make something more substantial of those two apples.
Breaking the golden rule of baking, I began to make the cake and soon found I was missing entire ingredients or was a little short of what I had. The result was a beautiful cake nonetheless, but I don’t think it can honestly be called a nusskuchen. According to Mary, the defining feature of a nusskuchen is that it always contains hazelnuts.
What resulted from my haphazard substitutions and the basic proportions of Mary’s nusskuchen recipe was a beautifully soft and fluffy cake filled with baked apple pieces and a hint of spice. As demonstrated by my own lack of planning, this recipe will deal with many substitutions as long as you keep the ratios correct.
- 40g almond meal (or 20g almond meal and the remainder made up with self-raising flour)
- 100g softened butter
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 2 tablespoons milk (or more to create dropping consistency)
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1 heaped teaspoon lebkuchen spice mix or cinnamon
- 2 small apples, very finely sliced
Pre-heat your oven to 170 fan-forced and grease and line a 20cm round cake pan.
Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the egg yolks and then stir in the almond meal along with the milk. Fold in the flour and spice until combined.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form and then fold into the butter mixture. Stir in a little more milk if required to smooth the batter into a dropping consistency.
Finely slice the apples and lay half the slices out to line the bottom of the tin. Spread half the mixture on top of the apples. Now repeat with the other half of the apples and batter and smooth the top.
Pop into the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until risen and a knife inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
Dust with icing sugar or brush with a little warmed apricot jam to glaze if you wish, but the cake is beautiful in it’s simplicity and just right for any time of day. It doesn’t keep much longer than 24 hours but you shouldn’t have any trouble polishing it off.