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Yello® Sharlotka apple cake

Servings: 12
This cake will take you right back to your childhood, your nanna’s kitchen (or in my case, my Babushka’s), and it may just change the way you bake apple cakes forever. Think of it as an upside-down, upside-down cake! Sharlotka’s origins go all the way back to the kitchens of French pastry chef Marie-Antoine Carême, whose elaborate creations so thrilled the Russian Tsars. But by Soviet times, a far thriftier version developed, both in ingredients and effort-to-return. It’s marvellously moist with fruit below, and has a gorgeous nutty, crunchy crumb on top. The Yello® is everything I remember a great golden apple to be, and it’s the perfect apple to bake with: strongly perfumed and juicy, holding its shape but yielding to pillowy soft under heat. Serve this warm right out of the oven, or the next day as an afternoon tea cake.
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Ingredients 

  • 6 large approx. 1.2kg Yello® apples
  • Zest and Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 room temperature eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • ½ cup flaked almonds
  • Icing sugar to dust
  • Double cream to serve

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven 180℃ (160℃ fan).
  • Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking paper as you would a Basque cheesecake by pressing a big sheet of baking paper straight into the tin (the edges can be a bit crinkly for effect).
  • Peel, halve and core the Yello® apples and cut into 1cm chunks, toss with lemon juice then tumble into the prepared springform tin.
  • In the bowl of a stand-mixer rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to release the lemony aroma, then add the eggs and vanilla into the bowl and beat with the balloon whisk until pale, thick and 3 times the volume, this will take 10-15 minutes.
  • Fold in the flour, almond meal and a pinch of salt flakes and pour the batter over the apples so that the batter seeps into the gaps, shimmying the tin and pressing any bobbing apples down under the batter. Scatter with flaked almonds, place in the oven and cook for 90 minutes (this is not a typo!) until puffed and dark golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Ovens differ, so check yours after 70-80 minutes just in case.
  • Leave in the tin to cool for 15 minutes on an oven rack, then unhinge and transfer when cool enough to touch. Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar and double cream for good measure.

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