About This Swedish Apple Cake Recipe
Every country has its own version of an apple dessert, be it the classic American pie, the British apple crumble, the Latvian apple pancake fritters, or the French apple tart. Apple-based desserts are usually simple, healthy, delicious, and often a staple in many cuisines.
Known in Swedish as äppelkaka, this apple cake is slightly different — it’s a combination of a crumbly pie and a soft cake. Essentially, a cake wrapped in a pie. So when you’re craving an apple treat but can’t decide between a pie or a cake, this is the perfect solution. And this recipe is so simple, it’s tough to mess it up.
It has a buttery crust that you even don’t have to roll out, just press it to the bottom of the pan. And the infusion of vanilla and spices to the crust adds a nice touch of flavor. You can even get fancy with the leftovers and do some leaves for a decorative crust topping.
The filling has a cake-like texture and is absolutely divine. The cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla seeds added to apples and almonds blend into a lovely warm nuanced flavor.
Serve the cake as it is or you can add a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. But the Swedish vanilla sauce we’ve used in this recipe is absolute perfection. The cake just isn’t the same without this rich, velvety smooth sauce.
What You Need for This Swedish Apple Cake Recipe
- Flour: I have used plain/all-purpose flour.
- Almond Flour: Blanched almonds that are finely grounded into a powder to deliver a strong almond flavor.
- Cinnamon, Ground Cardamom, & Nutmeg: It is a wonderful combination of spices that adds more complexity to the crust and filling.
- Butter: I have used unsalted, cold, and diced butter for the crust to create a beautiful, crumbly crust. And I have used soft butter for the filling for a tender, soft mixture.
- Milk: I have used whole milk because its fat content and creaminess are ideal for creating delicious sauces.
- Cream: It gives the sauce a nice thick, rich, and velvety consistency.
- Apples: For this recipe, I like to use apples that hold their shape when cooked, like Granny Smith apples.
- Eggs: It adds tenderness and provides structure.
- Baking Soda: To help the crust rise a little.
- Potato Starch: The extracted starch from potatoes has a powdery consistency, and I have used it to thicken the sauce.
- Vanilla Beans: I like to use fresh vanilla beans and scrape the seeds out for an exquisitely aromatic vanilla flavor. I also like to see those tiny black spots in my vanilla sauce.
- Apples: I have used Granny Smith apples, but if you can’t find them, you may use any other sturdy variety. It is important to use a firm variety that will hold their shape when cooked, like Jonagold, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady.
- Potato Starch: It can be substituted with corn starch.
- Baking Soda: If you don’t have baking soda, you can use baking powder too.
- Almond Flour: If you can’t find almond flour, you can use almonds and crush them in a food processor.
Can I use vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans?
I recommend using vanilla beans for this recipe. It delivers an incomparable flavor, and the tiny black vanilla seeds look stunning.
How can I store this Swedish apple cake?
The cake is best consumed the day it is made, but you may wrap the leftovers in plastic wrap and store them at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Swedish Apple Cake With Vanilla Sauce
A simple yet delightful Swedish dessert, this apple cake with vanilla sauce is the perfect dessert to end your meal on a high note. Or you can simply have a slice of this cake with a strong cup of coffee to truly bring out its flavors.
Yield: 8 servings, using a 22 cm spring-form cake pan
How To Make Swedish Apple Cake Step By Step
Start with the crust. Grease a spring-form cake tin with butter, dust with a little bit of flour, and set aside.
Combine the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, salt, and vanilla seeds in a food processor and mix thoroughly. Add the cold butter and pulse until the mixture forms small crumbs. Add the egg and pulse again until the dough is evenly mixed.
Press about ¾ of the dough into the bottom of the cake tin and slightly on the sides to form an even crust. Roll the remaining dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge.
Preheat the oven to 356℉ (180℃) and start making the filling.
Peel and slice the apples.
Mix the almond flour, flour, sugar, spices, and vanilla seeds in a large bowl. Add the butter and eggs and mix well. Fold in the sliced apples.
Pour the apple filling evenly into the cake tin.
Roll out the remaining chilled pastry to a thickness of about ¼ cm. Cut it into leaves shape, and layer them on top of the cake. They don’t need to cover the entire surface of the cake.
Bake for about 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the center is set.
While the cake is baking, prepare the vanilla sauce. Place the milk, cream, and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low flame, stirring constantly. When the mixture starts to simmer gently, remove from the heat and set aside for 1 to 2 minutes.
Place 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture in a small bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar, and potato starch, and whisk thoroughly.
Combine the egg mixture with the rest of the vanilla and cream mixture in the saucepan and return to the stove-top. Simmer over low heat, constantly stirring until the sauce thickens and becomes glossy. Remove it from the heat and set it aside.
Serve the cake warm or chilled, topped with vanilla sauce.
- I have used a cookie cutter to make the leaves for a decorative crust topping. If you prefer, you can also cut it in other shapes or use the entire crust for the bottom and keep the cake without the topping. The apple filling will solidify and form a nice crispy top.
- You can add the scrapped pods of vanilla to the vanilla and cream mixture while simmering and then remove them, or you may keep them to make vanilla sugar.