At this point it should come as no surprise that I ended my European holiday in Stuttgart. After my au pair year, I have friends to catch up with, old haunts to visit and nostalgic food to gorge on. It was a great end to the trip and felt so much like home that I felt like I could have stayed forever. I actually felt that way on my entire trip seeing as that I was staying in apartments and visiting with friends, pretty much some of the same things I do at home – except with more leisure time and better beer.
When I lived in Germany, my closest friends were a group of British expats, as I was determined to steer clear of other Americans, yet couldn’t speak German to befriend native folks. We spent the year going to fests, trying to find spicy curries, taking trips here and there and in general living it up. Since then, the group has dissipated a bit and has returned to their home countries, yet a few have stayed including my good friend Nicola and her husband Joe. They so graciously put me up in their new house for my time in Germany and it was just lovely. Nicola took some time away from work and we spent a day making jewelry and baking a cake (the jewelry being her hobby and the cooking mine). I spied apple trees in the field across from their house and insisted that we trek out there so I could bake up something tasty. I found a supremely simple recipe online and we had a little afternoon tea and cake all displayed on her new tea set in its inaugural usage.
The cake was delicious! It was in the vein of my favorite types of cakes: not too sweet, no frosting and some fruit in there too. I loved the huge chunks of apples and the slightly tart bites that they brought to the cake. The simplicity of this cake is what also makes it amazing, I made the entire cake by hand and was done in what felt like a matter of minutes. This afternoon treat felt like the perfect combination of German and English tradition, bring the best of my au pair experience together.
Apple Cake from epicurious
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large apples
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
Peel the apples, cut them in quarters and remove the cores. Cut the apples into 1- to 2-inch chunks.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk until they’re foamy. Pour in the sugar and whisk for a minute or so to blend. Whisk in the vanilla. Whisk in half the flour and when it is incorporated, add half the melted butter, followed by the rest of the flour and the remaining butter, mixing gently after each addition so that you have a smooth, rather thick batter. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the apples, turning the fruit so that it’s coated with batter. Scrape the mix into the pan and spread evenly.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean; the cake may pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a cooling rack and let rest for 5 minutes.
Carefully run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool until it is just slightly warm or at room temperature.