Spruce branches strewn across the windowsills with candles aglow and bowls of cookies, dried fruits, citrus, and apples scattered around the kitchen. While looking for inspiration for the next baked good this season, I didn’t have to look farther than the countertops around me.
Apple cake arouses a deep fondness and yet, at this time of year, it’s more so about citrus fruits and traditional cookies and cakes, like julekake (sweet Christmas bread) filled with raisins and candied citrus peels. The combination of an apple cake and julekake seemed like an almost inevitable marriage of two incredible classics to make a sumptuous treat to indulge in by the fire as the snow trickles down. A cake fitting of the season, and that’s just what this apple julekake cake delivers.
Bursting full of apple slices and a good amount of raisins, the pops of orange zest and cardamom warm the cake up. It’s the right amount of sweetness, and while incredibly elegant, it’s downright comforting. Beautiful, but not fussy. The flavors of two classics melting into one, something even reminiscent of an Italian panettone.
This might be one of my favorite holiday cakes to date, and I hope it will bring you much warmth in the kitchen this winter.
Apple ‘Julekake’ Cake
Serves 10 to 12
- ¾ cup (120 g) raisins
- 2 tablespoons aquavit, substitute with rum or omit altogether
- 2 2/3 cups (320 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 g) granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) milk
- 2/3 cup (150 g) butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Zest of 1 orange (about 1 teaspoon)
- 4 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar, to finish
In a small bowl, combine the raisins and aquavit and let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Butter a 9 inch (23 cm) springform pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and cardamom.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the eggs and sugar and beat until for 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla and beat until light and creamy. Add the flour mixture and beat to incorporate. Add the orange zest and beat just until well blended. Fold ½ of the raisins and 1/3 of the apples into the batter with a spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange the remaining apples, in concentric circles, on top, pressing them into the batter, then sprinkle with the remaining raisins and brown sugar. Bake for about 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Cool slightly in the pan. Once cool, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm.