My mother-in-law Renate is an excellent baker. One of the stars in her repertoire is apple cake. Whenever Renate visits she asks, “Shall I make a cake?” We always say yes and “How about the apple cake!”
It’s not a cake in the way you’d think, with flour and a leavener. It’s more like French clafoutis, with a bottom crust.Renate uses an unusual method with the dough (made with butter and an egg, giving it a more cookie-like rather than flakey structure). After it’s chilled, she slices the dough and presses the pieces into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a spring form cake pan.
Then she adds a particularly German touch. She sprinkles unseasoned homemade breadcrumbs over the dough. The recipe comes from Chef Tell, one of her favorite chefs. He was a German chef who had a PBS program “In the Kitchen with Chef Tell” in the 70s and 80s.
Renate scores apple halves, places them on the breadcrumbs, and pours a custard of eggs, sour cream, cream and vanilla over the apples.
After it bakes and cools, she brushes the top of the cake with strained apricot jam, to make it glisten.
Around three in the afternoon she asks, “Shall we have cake and coffee?” Yes!
The cake is so light, and not too sweet. The apple melds into the sour cream custard and the thin crust. We’re so happy when Renate makes Chef Tell’s Apple Cake.