|Main ingredients||Flour, butter, sugar, apples|
Apple cakes are cakes in which apples feature as a main flavour and ingredient. Such cakes incorporate apples in a variety of forms, including diced, pureed, or stewed, and can include common additions like raisins, nuts, and 'sweet' spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg. They are a common and popular dessert worldwide, thanks to millennia of apple cultivation in Asia and Europe, and their widespread introduction and propagation throughout the Americas during the Columbian Exchange and colonisation. As a result, apple desserts, including cakes, have a huge number of variations.
Apples are also used in other cakes to add moisture and sweetness, often as a partial substitute for refined sugar.
Regions of Great Britain and Ireland have the ideal climate for apple growing, making apple cake a common dessert with many regional varieties throughout. However, it is in the traditionally agricultural West Country of England that apple cakes have been raised as culinary symbols of their counties, such as Dorset apple cake, Devonshire apple cake, and Somerset apple cake. They are characterised by the use of wholemeal flour and often a combination of dessert apples and Bramley apples, and are typically served warm with cream or custard, or more rarely, with cheese.
An apple cake called szarlotka or jabłecznik is a common traditional dessert in Poland, made from sweet pastry crust and spiced apple filling. It can be topped with kruszonka (crumbles), meringue, or a dusting of caster (powdered) sugar. An additional layer of budyń (a Polish variation of custard) can sometimes be found. In restaurants and cafes, it is usually served hot with whipped cream and coffee.
In Scandinavia, apple cakes are typically prepared from sour apples and baked in a dough made from sugar, butter, flour, eggs, and baking powder. The cake is then topped with apples, cinnamon and sugar, sometimes also chopped almonds. Apple crumble pie is also common. In Sweden it's usually served lukewarm with whipped cream, custard (vanilla sauce) or vanilla ice cream.
Dorset apple cake.