I’ve written about eplekake, Norwegian apple cake, a couple of times before on the blog, but it’s one I could write about multiple times over. There are endless variations, such as a vegan version filled with marzipan which I shared here, and before I went vegan there was a vanilla custard variety here. I’ve yet to measure up to some of the biggest food bloggers in Norway, one who can brag about having over 50 different recipes for apple cake alone! This will tell you how popular this is….
It’s the middle of apple season here in the gorgeous Hudson Valley of New York, and fall is the most magical time of year, in my opinion. The leaves are turning and displaying gorgeous colors, the air is cool and crisp, and it’s all of a sudden ok to turn to comfort foods like creamy soups, stews, casseroles and baked goods again. Halloween is my favorite holiday, and right around the corner, but that’s for another blog post..
In Norway, there are signs of apples being in existence since the Stone Age (around year 850). 54 apples were found in good condition; a sign they were highly valued. But it was the monks who started planting apple trees and made it commonplace. They quickly discovered that Hardanger in the southwestern part of Norway was the most ideal place to grow apples, and since they have been planted all the way up to the county of Møre and Romsdal, where I’m from, as well as further north. The difference is that the apples in the south are for commercial sale, whereas the ones found in the northern parts of Norway are for personal consumption. The juicy varieties we have in Norway today, is a result of a long history of cultivating and perfecting them.
The most important Norwegian varieties are Summerred, Aroma, Rød Gravenstein, Rød Aroma, Julyred, Åkerø, Discovery, Rød Prins/Kronprins, Lobo and regular Gravenstein.
The apple cake is a very traditional cake in Norway, and most people have some type of relationship to it. It’s the epitome of an autumn cake, and I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t like it!
Most of the Norwegian apple cakes are super decadent, containing tons of eggs, sugar and butter and while I certainly have enjoyed a piece or two hundred in my lifetime, I wanted to prove that no eggs or dairy is needed to create the same wonderful gustatory experience.
A couple of weeks ago, I purchased the VeganEgg, a product made by the company Follow Your Heart, as I set out to re-create one of my favorite foods; a Spanish tortilla layered with potatoes and caramelized onions. As a side note I’m happy to report that the result was fantastic, with my egg-loving husband giving it a big thumbs up. But this week I wanted to try the egg in baked goods to see how it acted. I’m thrilled to announce that the cake ended up as juicy, rich and flavorful as the one I grew up eating in my mom’s kitchen! I’m typically not a fan of using ready-made vegan products, but in this instance, I’m going to be making a regular exception, the results were that good.
Of course there are plenty of options should you not have the VeganEgg available to you in stores where you live. Combining a tablespoon of either ground chia or flax seeds with 3 tbsp of water will equal one egg, or you can also used mashed bananas, apple sauce, cornstarch and/or nut butters. In this instance, I would naturally choose apple sauce, to go with the flavor profile of the cake. Remember, eggs only serve as a binder in baking, so as long as you find something that can bind the batter/dough, you are good to go!
I hope you will try this version of eplekake, it comes together in no time – I use a small mandoline to slice the apples, much faster and you get uniform sizes, ensuring even baking. If you are a fellow cinnamon lover (if you are Scandinavian I won’t have to ask), you can go a little over the top on the cinnamon-sugar mixture that you toss the apple slices in for extra enjoyment!
Happy baking and as we say in Norway: Velbekomme!
7 oz /200 grams vegan butter, room temperature (just shy of 2 sticks)
7 oz /1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp VeganEgg powder whisked together with 3/4 cups (180ml) ice cold water
7 oz/200 grams/1 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 tbsp /40 grams/1.5 oz potato starch
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup/100 ml plant based milk
2-3 large apples, cored and sliced thinly
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vegan butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celcius). Dress a 9 inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Add the vegan butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer, and with the paddle attachment, whip it until light and fluffy. Slowly add in the VeganEgg mixture, then vanilla extract and plant-based milk.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, potato starch and baking powder. Add slowly to the butter-sugar-egg mixture and combine until no traces of flour are left.
Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl, and add the apple slices to it and coat well. Carefully arrange the apple slices on top of the batter, stuffing the apples mid way down the cake batter in a circular pattern.
Dab the 2 tbsp of butter over the top and bake in oven for about 50-55 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Serve with some whipped coconut cream or your favorite vegan vanilla ice cream!