A few years ago, I was whinging about needing something to bake with apples. My friend Sarah promptly sent me her mum’s recipe for Norwegian Apple Cake, which she said to me is ‘probably not really my mum’s recipe as we aren’t Norwegian’.
This is one of several ‘hot milk’ cakes I’ve seen floating around, invariably from someone’s mum or grandmother. My mum has made a variation with caramel sauce since I can remember, the recipe for which she received from her mum. The thing with hot milk cakes is they are dead simple to make and incredibly hard to properly screw up. Butter is melted in the milk, which is heated to boiling and then poured, hot, straight into the eggs and sugar. I thought this would mean instant lumpy custard, but it doesn’t. It also does away with the tedious step of creaming butter and sugar together. I’ve tinkered with the recipe in the smallest of ways by adding a teaspoon of vanilla and a grate or two of nutmeg to give the dense cake that nice doughnutty taste. It is just as lovely without.
A word on the apples. The original recipe Sarah gave me specified Bramleys, which are a tart green apple grown all over England, but not available in my end of North America. I’ve used pretty much any eating apple over the years, both over there and over here, as I have made this cake countless times. Galas are fine. Pink Lady apples, whilst often suggested as a dessert apple, went a bit mushy in this recipe. As the apples only grace the top of the cake and are sprinkled with sugar before going in the oven, you want them to have a bit of shape at the end of the process. I’d say Granny Smith are probably the closest analogue to the Bramley – but I just don’t like them. The short of it being pick an apple you like to eat.
This is a great cake for making contributions to a bake sale or fete, because it slices into squares easily and looks fancy – despite being simple and quick to make.
Norwegian Apple Cake
- 2 large eggs
- 225g granulated sugar
- 100g butter
- 150ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 175g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
- 3-4 apples (see above)
Preheat oven to 200ºC/390ºF.
Grease and flour a 20cmx30cm baking tin.
Whisk the eggs and 200g of the sugar until thick and creamy in a large bowl.
Put the butter and milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Take pan off the heat, add vanilla.
Stir, still boiling, into the eggs and sugar.
Sieve in the flour into the bowl, grate nutmeg and fold until there are no lumps.
Pour the mixture into the tin.
Peel, core and slice the apples, arrange them on top of the mixture in the tin and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the tin, then slice.