Carolyn Eichin: Festive Farmhouse Apple Cake with raspberries
T his was a great year for apples in Virginia City. Our apple trees were loaded from late August when the Yellow Transparent apples ripened, until late October when the last of the Firesides and Galas turned red. Our apple selections include a few heirloom varieties. The thin-skinned, pale Yellow Transparent was first introduced in 1870; it’s still a great cooking apple. The Fireside, a modern 1940s introduction works well for eating and for cooking. The Golden Delicious, a great option since 1914, is very versatile, and a good choice for this apple cake.One of my favorite apple recipes is the following Farmhouse Apple Cake with Raspberries. It is similar to a tart, and not truly a cake. By whatever name you label it, the results are thoroughly delicious. An added bonus is that there is no adjustment needed for high elevation. Just watch the baking time and test the cake with a knife. Frequently guests request breakfast baked goods without nuts. Farmhouse Apple Cake with Raspberries makes a great “go to” recipe when you can’t serve nuts in a baked goods course. For a dessert cake, top it with additional fresh raspberries, fresh mint leaves and whipped cream. This will make a great festive finish to Christmas dinner with the fresh red raspberries and green mint.Farmhouse Apple Cakewith Raspberries1 cup fresh raspberries1⁄2 cup butter (one stick), melted, plus more for greasing the pan5 heirloom cooking apples, medium to large size, peeled and thinly sliced2 large eggs1 cup sugar1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour1⁄2 cup half and half or milk1 teaspoon vanilla extract2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmegPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8-inch springform pan. Wash and clean raspberries. Set aside. Melt butter in microwave and cool butter while peeling apples. Peel, core and thinly slice apples. Slices should be about 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-inch thick. Beat the eggs and sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk until sugar is dissolved. Stir in flour, half and half or milk, melted and cooled butter, vanilla, baking powder, and nutmeg. Blend thoroughly to make a light batter. Then fold in the sliced apples. Toss gently until each apple slice is coated with batter.Pour 1⁄3 of apple mixture into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle 1⁄3 of the drained raspberries on top of the apples. Add another 1⁄3 of apples and top with 1⁄3 of raspberries. Add remaining apples and top with remaining raspberries. Place pan in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Test with a dinner knife inserted into the center of the cake. It should come out clean of the custard portion of the cake when the cake is done. The top should be nicely browned. Individual apple slices may remain a little crunchy.Place the cake on a cooling rack. When cool enough to handle, run a thin dinner knife around the outside edge of the cake and remove the springform ring. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with powdered sugar, whipped cream, additional fresh raspberries, and/or mint leaves. No adjustments are needed for high elevation. Makes 8 to 12 servings.I like recipes like this one which I consider versatile. Other berries could be used; blackberries or boysenberries. I have tried this recipe with cardamom instead of nutmeg, but prefer the nutmeg. Cinnamon is always an option. And, of course, try this recipe with any cooking apples ready to pick from your backyard.• Carolyn Eichin owns B Street House Bed and Breakfast in Virginia City.