Happy Saint Nicholas Day (Mikulás if you are Hungarian)! We left our shoes out last night and when we woke up this morning Mikulás had filled them with all sorts of treats. Generally, Mikulás only brings European candies and chocolates and a few small handmade gifts. This year, however, he brought some Phineas and Ferb paraphernalia. The candies and chocolates, however, are always European. Frequent brands include, but are not limited to (we are equal opportunity chocolate consumers):
Lindt & Sprüngli (Switzerland)
A Korkunov (Russia)
My favorite Mikulás items this year were Niederegger Marzipan Kartoffelen (marzipan candies), the colored pencils made from natural twigs and the Windel Advent calendars (they are super cute this year).
I was going to bake some sort of European confection for Saint Nicholas day, but everyone around me is on a diet (who diets this close to Christmas?) and Mikulás brought enough candy to last well into the spring. I have, however, been cleaning up recipes on my computer (in the hopes of organizing them into something a bit more manageable – they are out of control… no joke, if there is such a thing as a computer file hoarder, I am one… I throw nothing away… nothing). In my attempt to clean house (or computer, rather), I did run across some recipes that haven’t made it to the blog yet. I was shocked to find that my Sharlotka has never made it up. It is one of my all-time favorites and I’m not sure how I neglected to publish it. I checked, and I had pictures so I thought I would put it up today. Deb at Smitten Kitchen published a Sharlotka recipe earlier this year and I used that as my jumping-off point. I compared it to some of my Hungarian recipes and made some changes that I felt would make it feel a bit more Hungarian and I made it gluten-free so that my mom could have some. It took a couple of attempts to get exactly what I was looking for and I finally found it. This was a huge hit with everyone and my Hungarian father-in-law says it reminds him of some of the cakes he had growing up. It is a rustic cake and it is so simple to throw together, it should be a crime!
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
- 6 large Granny Smith apples
- 3/4 cup ground walnuts
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup gluten-free flour
- 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp.baking soda
Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.
- Butter or oil the parchment paper and the sides of the pan.
- Peel, quarter and core the apples, then slice the quarters width-wise in 1/8-1/4 inch in thickness.
- Line the bottom of the pan with a layer of apples and the sprinkle with some of the ground walnuts.
- Continue layering the apples and the walnuts, alternately until you run out.
- Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar, sour cream and vanilla.
- Add in the gluten-free flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
- Whisk until combined.
- Pour the batter evenly over the apples.
- Allow the pan to sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the batter fill in the areas between the apple slices.
- Lightly tap your pan against the counter to release any air bubbles.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Flip the cake out onto a plate and remove the parchment from the bottom.
- Flip the cake, again, onto your serving dish and allow to cool completely.
- Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve.