one apple cake i have been making for a long time comes from a relative who lives in israel. it is also one of those things which cannot be judged from looks alone. what pops into my head is what they say in italian .... "bruto ma buono" (ugly but good!). in reality, it is a cake which is quite different from most — it includes semolina pasta flour and has no liquids or eggs! funny enough, i came across a very similar recipe in a cookbook a few years back, so i guess it's not thaaat original, after all. anyway, despite its lack of usual ingredients, it's a great all purpose cake to serve with coffee or tea. the way it is made reminds me of a coffee cake i posted earlier (but with a different texture).
in order to successfully make this cake, you will need 2 things: a good baking apple (i use either empire or macintosh types) and durum semolina flour which is the same as pasta flour. this can be purchased at major grocery stores or in bulk where you can get the amount that you require for whatever you are making. it is not the same thing as semolina which is also called wheatlets or sooji or solet or smeed.
if using parve (non dairy) margarine, the cake will be completely vegan as there are no eggs and no dairy products in it at all. if nuts are an issue, just don't add the ground almonds. it won't make much of a difference.
unorthodox apple cake
unbelievably, this recipe has no eggs or liquid added to it except that of the melted butter (or margarine) and juices released from the apples as it bakes. it results in a wonderful cake which actually requires little work on your part. i suggest using a baking sheet underneath to catch any juices that may escape from the spring form pan — there should be very little, if any, that does.
1 c (8 oz /192 g) durum semolina (pasta) flour (not solet/sooji/smeed)
1 c (8 oz /125 g) all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 g) baking powder
1/4 tsp ( 1.15 g) baking soda
3/4 c (6 oz /125 g) sugar
1 pkg (15 g) vanilla sugar, optional*
2 tbsp (12 g) ground almonds, optional
1/2 c (4 oz /100g) unsalted butter or parve margarine
5 to 6 large apples, suitable for baking
2 tbsp (25 g) sugar
1 1/2 tsp (3.5 g) cinnamon
*if you don't have vanilla sugar, then skip it. don't add regular vanilla.
preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and grease a 8 or 9 inch springform pan. you need a springform type to get the cake out easily. it can be made in a regular pan but it may not come out of the pan very nicely and neatly.
in a small bowl, measure the butter and melt it in the microwave or on stove top in a pan.
meanwhile, in a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
drizzle 9 teaspoons only of the butter or margarine over the dry ingredients and with clean hands, "massage" the oil into the dry mixture until its well incorporated. it should clump when you squeeze it.
wash your hands and place only 1/2 of the mixture into the springform pan and with a spoon even it out and compact it a little.
peel and core the apples and shred them on a large grate. you can do this quickly in a food processor also if you have the attachment. if they turn brown, don't worry about it.
in a small dish, mix together the sugar and cinnamon.
place the apples over the first layer and then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mix over that evenly. use a spoon again to spread out the mixture so its evenly placed.
now add the rest of the dry mix over the apples and smooth it out again.
drizzle the remaining butter or margarine over the the semolina flour mix and bake the cake for 50 minutes.
once it comes out it will still look pale and will probably have cracked. it won't look cooked but it is. in order to set properly, the cake needs to cool down completely.
once cooled, take a knife and carefully cut around the circumference of the cake. remove the spring form and cut into slices. it will stabilize and become firm once it's sat for about 2 hours.