Rye, Hazelnut and Pink Pearl Apple Cake

Hello from New York City, where the weather is slowly turning cooler and the brisk pace of Fall is setting in. If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll know I have complicated feelings about this season. It’s a moody one, just like me, and it often leaves me a little sad and nostalgic. That being said, I am always excited for the jewel and russet colored autumnal treats that begin to join summer’s last bright offerings at the market and for the kitchen inspiration that comes with it.
Which brings me to these apples. I discovered them while browsing the market for dinner party ingredients (it was a golden hour/summer’s goodbye themed dinner party that I hosted with a friend- more on that later!) and was immediately entranced. A rare, highly seasonal find, these pink fleshed apples feature freckled skins and blush insides and are sweet, tart, and crisp; in other words, ideal for baking with.
I wanted to use them in a way that would showcase their color and after snacking on one or two raw, decided on cake. Enriched with olive oil and yogurt, the batter for this one is earthy with rye and brown rice flours and warmly touched with spice. The apple slices, fanned out over the top and covered with toasty hazelnuts, retain their rosy color in the oven and turn this simple cake into something of a showstopper. It’s a one bowl affair, but it can be played down with a simple sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar and served for breakfast or paired with whipped cream and plated for dessert.
You can make this cake with regular apples, too and it’d be delicious with pears, or even poached slices of quince. That being said, I do recommend seeking out pink pearl, hidden rose or another pink apple variety. I think they are really special.
Hope you are enjoying fall and making the most of it,

Yields: one 9″ cake, serving 8-10

Adapted from here

Why I love this recipe: made in one bowl, warm with spice and earthy rye flour, this cake is simple, flavorful and a perfect way to showcase vivid pink pearl apples. Toasty hazelnuts add crunch and sour cream and olive oil keep the cake moist.

Variations: use a tart, firm baking apple such as Granny Smith in place of the Pink Pearl apples. Use sour cream or creme fraiche in place of the yogurt. Swap the rye and brown rice flour for all spelt, or swap the brown rice flour for more rye.

For the cake:

  • 1  cup dark rye flour
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 pink pearl apples, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • juice of one lemon, for squeezing
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • powdered sugar and whipped cream, for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9″ cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the olive oil, yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure no dry, floury spots remain.
  3. Pour batter into cake pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Tap it gently against the countertop to remove any large air bubbles.
  4. Top the cake with fanned out apple slices, and the chopped hazelnuts. Pour over half the lemon juice, top with one tablespoon of turbinado sugar, pour over the remaining lemon juice and sprinkle with the rest of the turbinado.
  5. Place the pan in the middle rack and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and turn it out onto a serving platter.
  6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche.

One response to “Rye, Hazelnut and Pink Pearl Apple Cake”

  1. Chaya, that Apple pie looks amazing. I never saw these apples on the market in Switzerland and here we have loads of different apples. Keep up your creative work.

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