We’re loving Trine Hahnemann’s Scandinavian Comfort Food, it’s filled with so many warming recipes perfect for the festive season. For this week’s foodie Friday we’re sharing her recipe for a delicious Winter Apple Layer Cake. Enjoy!
Danes have a special love for layer cakes, especially homemade ones; there are a lot of family recipes! These crisp layers are a classic Danish way to make the layer cake at home, and I always make this in winter. The cream for this is partly inspired by my favourite Danish author Karen Blixen – she has described the cake as part of her dinner party repertoire.
For the apple sauce
- 600g/1lb 5oz Bramley apples
- 40g/¼ cup caster (granulated) sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
For the layers
- 175g/¾ cup minus 1 tsp soft butter
- 175g/¾ cup caster (granulated) sugar
- 1 egg
- 175g/1⅓ cups plain (all-purpose) flour
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
For the cream
- 100g/3½oz hazelnuts
- 400ml/generous 1½ cups double (heavy) cream
- 100ml/scant ½ cup single (light) cream
- 2 tsp icing (confectioners’) sugar
- Peel and dice the apples and put them into a pan with the sugar and lemon juice. Let them simmer for 15–20 minutes until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Draw a 20-cm/8-in circle using a pencil on 7 sheets of baking parchment. Turn these over and arrange on as many baking sheets as necessary to fit (you may have to bake these in batches).
- Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then beat in the egg. Mix the flour and spices together and fold into the creamed mixture. Using a spatula, spread the mixture as evenly as possible inside each visible circle on the pieces of baking parchment.
- Bake in the oven, in batches if necessary, for 6–8 minutes or until the edges start to take on some colour. Set aside to cool on the sheets of baking parchment on a wire rack.
- While the layers are cooling, roast the hazelnuts. Spread them out on a baking sheet and roast in the oven, then wrap them in a clean tea towel and give them a good rub, so the skins come off. Roughly chop them.
- Whip both creams together with the icing (confectioners’) sugar and stir in two-thirds of the chopped hazelnuts.
- Assemble the cake just before serving, and no sooner as it goes soft very quickly. Place a crisp layer on a serving plate and add some apple sauce, then add another crisp layer, then some cream. Repeat this layer pattern twice, then add the last crisp layer and some apple sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining chopped hazelnuts on top and serve right away.
Scandinavian Comfort Food
by Trine Hahnemann
(Quadrille £25) Photography: Columbus Leth