Sharlotka (Russian Apple Cake)
Sharlotka is a classic Russian sponge cake. It has been made in Russia for centuries. Its beauty is in its rustic simplicity. In Russia, baking powder was not used as they did not have it, but we do, so the addition of baking powder only enhances the finished product.
- 6 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 pounds (4 medium) Granny Smith or Bramley apples, divided use
- Confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar (optional)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line bottom of an ungreased 9-inch round springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan.
- Add 6 eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, and beat on high speed for 1 minute until foamy. With the mixer on, gradually add the granulated sugar while beating at high s[eed for 8 to 10 minutes or until s thick and fluffy ribbon forms. When you pull up on the whisk, the ribbon of batter should sit for a few seconds on the surface before incorporating back into the batter. If you are using an electric hand mixer, beat for 10 to 12 minutes or until a thick and fluffy ribbon forms.
- Meanwhile, peel and core the apples, chop into quarters, then slice into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour with baking powder. Sift flour mixture into the beaten egg batter in 3 increments, folding with a spatula between each addition, scraping from the bottom of bowl. Stop mixing when you no longer see streaks of flour (don't over-mix). Fold in vanilla extract just until incorporated.
- Fold in sliced apples, reserving 1 cup for the top. Fold just until combined into batter then pour
batter into prepared springform pan. Spread batter evenly with a spatula (do not tap the pan) and scatter remaining apple evenly over the top.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes. Top will be golden brown.
- Remove from oven and let rest in pan for 15 minutes.
- Slide a thin spatula or knife around edges of pan to loosen and transfer cake to a cake platter to cool.
- When cake is at room temperature, sift confectioners' sugar over the top or sprinkle a cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top, whichever you prefer.
Yield: 8 servings