The Great Apple Cake Debate

Boxing ApplesFor those of you who were not aware, there is a great Apple Cake debate happening out there in the world. I know, you’re thinking that you were so caught up on the going-ons of the world around you, and little did you know that there has been an argument brewing for decades on what is the best apple cake. The main contenders seem to be the Germans and the Dutch against the good ol’ American apple pie. To me, it’s all good, but what are the differences? Well…

Dutch Apple Cake

Traditionally, there are two varieties, a crumb (appelkruimeltaart) and a lattice (appeltaart) style pie, both recipes are distinct in that they typically call for flavourings such as cinnamon and lemon juice to be added and differ in texture, not taste. Dutch apple pies may include ingredients such as raisins and icing, in addition to ingredients such as apples and sugar, which they have in common with other recipes. The basis of Dutch apple pie is a crust on the bottom and around the edges. This is then filled with pieces or slices of apple, usually a crisp and mildly tart variety. Cinnamon and sugar are generally mixed in with the apple filling. Atop the filling, strands of dough cover the pie in a lattice holding the filling in place but keeping it visible or cover the pie with crumbs. It can be eaten warm or cold, sometimes with a dash of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. In the US, “Dutch apple pie” refers specifically to the apple pie style with a crumb, streusel, topping.

German Apple Cake

German Apple Cake or apfelkuchen tends to be a less sweet, dense cake with chunks of apples throughout. It can be topped with streusel or without. Either way, it is still delicious!

American Apple Pie

Apple pie was brought to the English colonies by the British, Dutch, and Swedes during the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, modern American recipes for apple pie usually indicate a confection that is 9 inches in diameter in a fluted pie plate with an apple filling spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg. and lemon juice, and may or may not have a lattice or shapes cut out of the top for decoration.

Swedish Apple Pie

The Swedish style apple pie is predominantly a variety of apple crumble, rather than a traditional pastry pie. Often breadcrumbs are used (wholly or partially) instead of flour, and sometimes rolled oats. It is usually flavoured with cinnamon and served with vanilla custard or ice cream. There is also a very popular version called äppelkaka (apple cake), which differs from the pie in that it is a sponge cake baked with fresh apple pieces in it.

French Tarte Tatin

The Tarte Tatin is more closely related to the upside down cake, rather than a traditional pie. It has a layer of apples usually (or other fruit or vegetables), which are first caramelized in butter and sugar, before the dough, either a puff pastry or shortcrust pastry, is added on top, and then baked in the oven. Once done, the tarte is then turned over out of the pan, and served with the bottom layer of apples showing.

So there you go, everything you could have ever wanted to know about Apple Pies and Cakes… now which is best? I suggest trying them all and then deciding!

Please note the image credit to Carolina Nadel Illustrations. For more of her work please check out www.carolinanadel.com.

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