When I found today’s Dutch Apple Cake recipe, I instantly thought of the my favorite Apple Bread which also happens to be Dutch. It made me wonder, what are they doing in the Netherlands that make apple desserts so good?
As it turns out, they’re doing a few things. First, they just happen to live in a country that grows apples. Second, because the apple is a delicate flavor, they use spices and other flavors sparingly to allow the apple notes to really come through. And finally, the Dutch tend to mix the apples directly into the batter to create a layered effect, creating a sort of cross between a cake and pie.
Today’s cake has enough apples in it to really get away with being a breakfast cake or a snacking cake. I’ve found that basically most European cakes (or maybe just any cake outside of the USA) tends to get my approval to eat as a breakfast cake. It’s just the American birthday cakes that are smeared with frosting that I save for actual dessert.
The apples are sweet and juicy so the cake tastes very fresh. Because the fruit is sliced thinly, each bite offers an element of apple. The texture of the cake is soft and lush, thanks in part to the fats from both the buttermilk and sour cream. I find these two ingredients always make a cake moist and provide a more decadent flavor. (Buttermilk happens to be the ingredient that makes these cakes so good: Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Cake and Flag Cake; Sour cream meanwhile is the winning ingredient in Baked Apple Custard and Apple Sour Cream Muffins). There’s a hint of spice in this cake, but again, nothing overpowering the flavor of the seasonal apple. After baking, the cake is sprinkled with powdered sugar and sliced to serve along coffee or tea. It’s really the epi-TEA-me of a cozy apple cake.
So while we’re preparing for the cooler months ahead, keep this recipe in your back pocket as it provides the perfect accompaniment to a hot drink. It’ll be a comfort and perhaps even a glimpse at what life is like in the Netherlands while we’re all still refraining from international travel. Enjoy!
Dutch Apple CAke
- 1 1/2 cups Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg freshly grated if possible
- 1/2 cup Butter softened
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
- 3 Eggs
- 1/4 cup Sour cream creme fraiche or plain yogurt works too
- 1/4 cup Buttermilk
- 3-4 Apples, peeled & sliced into thin half moons (14 oz. or about 2 1/2 cups)
- Powdered sugar, sifted to finish
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Grease a 9 or 10-inch springform pan. Place on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case your pan is prone to leaking).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together for about 3 minutes until fluffy and light. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the vanilla.
- Combine the sour cream and buttermilk together in a small bowl or measuring cup.
- Turn the mixer to low speed. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Don’t overmix.
- Stir in the apples using a spatula or wooden spoon. Transfer the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center of the cake is lightly golden and set. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack and remove the outer ring of the springform pan. Once cooled, dust generously with powdered sugar. Slice and serve.