A few weeks ago, I spent my Thursday night watching a video-recorded opera with about 40 new senior citizen friends. My husband’s opera company has a relationship with several retirement homes where they regularly help host events – and I’ve started regularly attending them! Laughing at their stories and hearing them brag about their grandchildren brings back fond memories of my dear friends in Helena. Different city, similar stories…
After the screening, we sat down to a three course meal inspired by the featured opera of the evening: The Bartered Bride, a Czech classic. The appetizer and main course were both good, but the dessert was the star of the show. It was a cake comprised almost entirely of thin layers of apples stacked on top of each, surrounded by just enough cake batter to keep everything together. It was kind of like an apple pie disguised as a cake.
As soon as I got home, I knew I wanted to recreate this recipe. I searched the internet for Czech or Eastern European apple cake recipes, but none were what I was looking for. Finely, I stumbled on this recipe, from Dorie Greenspan. The recipe was French, but looked very similar. I tested it out and modified it slightly to better fit the look and flavor profile of the Czech version. The flavors are simple, with apples as the clear star of the show. It’s the perfect dessert to balance out a rich dinner or for a family meal.
Czech Apple Cake
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
4 large apples (if you can, choose 4 different kinds)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
A few dashes of cinnamon
Since this cake is really like a pie in disguise, feel free to make it this weekend in celebration of Pi Day. Or make this AND a traditional pie. Nom nom nom.