German Apple-Almond Cake

German Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)
10 to 12 servings
Adapted from Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss

I used a mix of apples, some tart, some less-so. Do use good-quality, flavorful apples, preferably ones from a farmers’ market, which taste better than supermarket varieties. For suggestions on which apples to use, ask the people at the farm stand or choose those that have a fragrance. Apples are related to roses, so often have a faint, yet lovely, rosy smell. If your apples are small, use 6 of them.

Luisa recommends grating the almond paste, which I didn’t do, so I had to run the mixture through a food processor. Since my almond paste was “artisanal” it wasn’t as moist as what you buy at the grocery story, so that may have been the culprit. So I recommend grating the almond paste in step #4.
4 medium apples, (1 3/4 pounds, 800g)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
7 ounces (200g) almond paste
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (200g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoons almond extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup, 3 tablespoons (150g) flour
9 tablespoons (80g) cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum free
1/4 cup (75g) apricot jam, strained if lumpy
1. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (23cm) springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. Peel and core the apples. Divide the lemon juice into two separate bowls. Slice two of the peeled and cored apples into 1/2-inch (1,25cm) slices, and toss the apple slices in one bowl of lemon juice. Dice the other two apples into 1/3-inch (1cm) cubes. Toss in the other bowl of lemon juice.
3. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
4. Using a grater with large holes, grate the almond paste into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the sugar and salt and mix until the almond paste is finely broken up.
5. Add the melted butter, almond extract, and lemon zest, and continue mixing until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
6. Whisk together the flour, cornstarch and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir the dry ingredients into the almond batter mixture by hand, then fold in the diced apples, along with any lemon juice in the bowl.
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Place the sliced apples in concentric circles on top of the batter, pressing them in very lightly.
8. Bake the cake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
9. Remove the cake from the oven. Warm the apricot jam in a small saucepan and brush it over the top while the cake is hot. Let the cake cool completely, then run a knife around the inside of the cake pan to release the cake, and remove the sides of the cake pan.
Serving and storage: This cake is so moist, it doesn’t require any accompaniment. However softly whipped cream, perhaps lightly spiced with cinnamon or allspice and a bit of vanilla or Cognac, would be welcome. Cinnamon ice cream would be lovely. The cake can be kept at room temperature for 3-4 days. Avoid freezing it, which could make it soggy.

FAQs

Can I make my own almond paste?

I’ve not done it but it takes a very powerful machine (food processor) to get it as finely ground as purchased almond paste. Luisa has a recipe in her book (page 264) for those who want to give it a go. In the United States, I like Love ‘n Bake, but the tubes and packages of it sold in supermarkets (such as Solo or Odense brands) are generally of good quality, too.

Can I use marzipan?

Most marzipan is meant for modeling, so has more sugar (and sometimes glucose) added, to make it more pliable. So use almond paste, not marzipan. Nigella Lawson says that almond paste in England is called marzipan. So check that link for advisements if you live in the United Kingdom.

Can I make this without nuts?

Unfortunately, I don’t know of a nut-free substitute for almond paste.

Does it matter if my almond paste is blanched or unblanched?

It’s generally a matter of preference and what’s available. Either will work in this recipe. Unblanched almond paste is darker in color, but harder to find.

Is there a good way to remove this from the pan, for presenting and serving?

You can run a knife or spatula underneath the kuchen to remove it from the pan bottom and lift it slightly with a spatula, then futz underneath to peel off the parchment paper and slide it onto a serving platter. (It sounds complicated, but it actually quite easy as the cake is not fragile. You can also use a glass bottom springform pan and omit the parchment paper.

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German Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars

From Recipe Revival: Southern Classics Reinvented for Modern Cooks by the Editors of Southern Living

NOTE: This recipe alone is worth the cost of the book.

Makes: 2 dozen (or a 13 x 9 pan full).
Hands On: 20 min
Total: 3 h 20 m

Ingredients:

1 3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c powdered sugar
3/4 c cold butter, cubed
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate morsels
3/4 c firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c light corn syrup
1/4 c butter, melted
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 c sweetened flaked coconut
3 c toasted pecan halves and pieces

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Line bottom and sides of 13 x 9 pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing 2 to 3 in to extend over the sides. Lightly grease the foil.
  3. Pulse the flour and next three ingredients (powdered sugar, cold butter, unsweetened cocoa) in food processor 5 or 6 times or until the mixture is crumbly. Press the mixture on the bottom and 3/4 in up the sides of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake the crust at 350 F for 15 min. Remove from the oven, and sprinkle the chocolate morsels over the crust. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 30 min).
  5. Whisk together the brown sugar and next three ingredients (corn syrup, melted butter, eggs) until smooth. Stir in the coconut and toasted pecans, and spoon into the prepared crust.
  6. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 min or until golden and set. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour). Chill 1 hour. Lift from the pan, using foil sides as handles. Transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars.
  7. Enjoy!

Baker’s German Chocolate Cake (Original Recipe)

INGREDIENTS:

CAKE

1 (4 ounce) package Baker’s German sweet chocolate
1⁄2 cup boiling water
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk

FROSTING:

1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
4 slightly beaten egg yolks
3⁄4 cup butter
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups Baker’s shredded coconut
1 1⁄2 cups chopped pecans

CAKE DIRECTIONS:

Heat oven to 350°F.

Cover bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round pans with waxed paper; spray sides with cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and water in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1-1/2 to 2 min. or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring after 1 min. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

Beat egg whites in small bowl with mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form; set aside. Mix flour, baking soda and salt.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Blend in melted chocolate and vanilla. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating until well blended after each addition.

Add egg whites; stir gently until well blended. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Immediately run small spatula around cakes in pans.

Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Spread Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting between cake layers and onto top of cake.

COCONUT-PECAN FROSTING DIRECTIONS:

Combine evaporated milk, sugar, slightly beaten egg yolks, butter or margarine and vanilla in saucepan.
Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Remove from heat.
Stir in shredded coconut and chopped pecans.
Cool until thick enough to spread.
Makes 4-1/4 cups.

Vintage Lebkuchen Recipe

Hilda Lebkuchen
This sounds great, but I must send on this recipe that is at least 100 years old — Lebküchen — Hilda ‘Hode’ Eiseman Hode made this every year for Christmas. She did the final mixing in a huge dishpan with a wooden spoon and her hands. I cut it in half and freeze some of the dough in well-sealed containers for two or three years. Freezing the dough seems to improve it as the flavors have more time to blend. Thaw the dough, then roll out as usual. May take extra flour.
Ingredients:
1 pound light brown sugar
1 quart light molasses
1 ½ cups shortening (original recipe called for lard)
1 tablespoon salt
1 pint sour cream
1pint sour milk (or buttermilk)
3 tablespoons baking soda dissolved in buttermilk
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
½ tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
5 pounds flour (save out 1 – 2 cups for rolling out dough)
1 quart chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are good)
2 ½ pounds raisins
1 pound dates
1 pound mixed candied fruit
Directions:
1. Grind together the last four ingredients and mix with the flour and spices.
2. Cream sugar and shortening until light.
3. Add molasses, sour cream and milk with dissolved baking soda.
4. Add and thoroughly mix in the flour/spice/fruit mixture.
5. Chill dough.
6. Roll out on a floured board to about ¼ inch thick. Cut into rectangles.
7. Place on a greased baking sheet.
8. Glaze with a thin mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk (or water) before baking. Can add half a candied cherry or nut to top of cookies.
9. sBake at 350° about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack. Store tightly covered in cool place.

Lebkuchen

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies p.192

Lebkuchen (German Christmas Cookies)

Lebkuchen
Lebkuchen

This is the authentic recipe. If you don’t like fruitcake mix, try King Arthur’s Lebkuchen recipe.

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 tsp mace or allspice or nutmeg
1/2 c almond flour
2/3 c candied fruitcake mix
4 Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
3 oz almond paste, broken into small pieces
1/3 c apricot jam (I used Smucker’s Simply Fruit)
3 eggs
3/4 packed light brown sugar

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients.

2. In second bowl, add fruitcake mix and dates. Mix.

3. Add almond paste. Mix.

4. Add jam. Mix.

5. Add eggs and brown sugar. Mix.

6. Fridge mix overnight or up to 3 days.

7. Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare cookie sheet with silpat on top.

8. Make 2 in diameter rounds, place on silpat. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie, decoratively. (Note: In Germany, they bake these on something called oblaten.)

9. Bake 12-14 minutes. You may need to rotate cookie sheet halfway through.

While baking, make glaze.

GLAZE:

1/2 c + 3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp whole milk

Mix well.

10. When cookies are cooled all the way, brush glaze on top of the cookies and let set. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. To store longer, put cookies in airtight box with half an orange or apple (to keep the moisture in).

Note: WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!! Divided batter into three parts, baked one, froze two. Love Germans. Love!