The apple sharlotka I grew up with is Soviet in origin and to not be confused with its progenitor, the better-known Charlotte russe, which was created within the nineteenth century by Czar Alexander I’s chef. The on a regular basis snacking cake model of my childhood was a results of shortage — shortage of elements, time and tools.
“Labor-saving, timesaving and space-saving,” is how “Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore” creator Darra Goldstein described sharlotka, as we mentioned how a recipe that initially used stale bread and fruit morphed into this cake. To eat apple sharlotka in its up to date iteration is to eat a historical past lesson: The cake was a byproduct of Soviet ladies’s ingenuity and resourcefulness fueled by a powerful want to indicate hospitality.
Goldstein jogged my memory that within the Twenties and early Nineteen Thirties U.S.S.R., ladies have been inspired to take part within the workforce and had little time for baking. Their tiny kitchens, geared up with small, moveable kerosene ovens (kerosinki), have been typically shared with different households.
Sharlotka, with its one-bowl, few-ingredient scrappiness, cemented itself within the canon of Soviet meals: Chop up some fruit, pour a batter over it and inside an hour, the cake is prepared.
After I requested my mother for her model, there was an extended pause. “It’s simply one thing I make,” she mentioned, including that she eyeballs all the pieces till the proportions appear about proper.
Bonnie Morales, the chef-owner of Kachka in Portland, Ore., which serves Russian meals with intelligent, up to date twists, refers to sharlotka as one thing that her mother “has in her psychological Rolodex of fast desserts.” Her mom makes use of a particular pan — an angel meals cake-style mould with a lid — introduced from Belarus, which steams the apples because the cake bakes. Rising up, if Morales noticed the cake pan out, it meant her mom was making sharlotka.
Most sharlotka recipes are merely eggs mixed with equal portions of sugar and flour, just a little vanilla and cinnamon, and sliced agency, tart apples, reminiscent of Granny Smith. Point out sharlotka to a Soviet expat sufficiently old to recollect the Brezhnev years, and also you received’t escape a dreamy point out of the famed Antonovka apples and their superiority to any and all American apples — interval, full cease.
The primary distinction amongst sharlotka recipes is whether or not baking soda is used. My mother’s model, which I share right here, like most iterations I encountered, leaves the baking soda out and depends on whipped eggs as a leavener.
Morales’s model, which is customized from her mother’s, makes use of just a little baking soda, however as a result of there’s nothing acidic to work together with it, I don’t see a lot want for it.
Spice-wise, cinnamon is what most Soviet kitchens had available, however I can see the dessert working effectively with a bunch of different spices: cardamom, a whisper of allspice or nutmeg, and even ginger. Most frequently, sharlotka options apples, although Goldstein’s newest cookbook provides a scrumptious pear model.
This undemanding cake, to Goldstein, is an emblem of a Russian urge to be hospitable, notably in occasions of relative hardship.
And with that in thoughts, it may be the best cake for these unusual occasions.
Storage: Leftover sharlotka could also be saved, loosely lined with a tea towel, for as much as 2 days. It’s best the day it’s made.
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
- 3 massive tart, agency apples, reminiscent of Granny Smith or Suncrisp (about 680 grams/1 pound 8 ounces)
- 3 massive eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon floor cinnamon
- 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
- Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
Place a baking rack in the course of the oven and preheat to 350 levels. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan, line it with a parchment paper circle, and flippantly butter or spray the circle.
Peel, quarter and core the apples. Slice every quarter throughout into 1/4-inch thick items.
Within the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a big bowl if utilizing a handheld mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and salt on medium-high pace (excessive pace for handheld mixer) till thick and ribbony, about 5 minutes. Beat within the vanilla extract and cinnamon.
Utilizing a fine-mesh sieve, steadily sift a 3rd of the flour into the egg combination, then gently fold with a spatula till simply mixed and no flour streaks stay. Repeat twice with the remaining flour. The batter can be very thick.
Place half the apples in a good, compact layer on the underside of the pan. Cowl with half the batter and use an offset spatula to unfold the batter evenly over the apples. Repeat with the remaining apples and batter. Gently rap the pan a couple of occasions in opposition to the counter to eliminate air bubbles, and switch to the oven. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or till a cake tester comes out freed from batter and the highest of sharlotka is golden brown.
Let the cake cool within the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently run a butter knife across the perimeter of the cake to loosen and thoroughly take away the perimeters of the pan. Utilizing a fish spatula, gently switch the cake to a serving platter and let cool utterly.
When able to serve, mud the sharlotka with the powdered sugar and reduce into slices.
Energy: 227; Whole Fats: 2 g; Saturated Fats: 1 g; Ldl cholesterol: 70 mg; Sodium: 98 mg; Carbohydrates: 48 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g; Sugar: 33 g; Protein: 4 g.
Scale and get a printer-friendly model of the recipe here.