Saturday, December 11, 2010

Finnish Apple Cake

In honor of my Finnish grandmother and my new Finnish friend from yoga class, Liisa,  I decided to bake and post this favorite treat from my childhood. While it's true that I am a Euro-mutt like many Americans, I am mostly a 3rd generation Finnish-American. My mother's family was influenced heavily by my grandmother and her parents and sister. I don't know that I ever heard my great-grandmother,  Mummu, speak anything but Finnish.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered there was a full-fledged Finn in my yoga class. It's been so fun to talk to her about all things Finland. I enjoy hearing her perspective on Finnish traditions and culture. She asked me if we had any Finnish traditions at Christmas, and this cake is what I remembered. We ate it a lot as kids. It's very simple to make, but also very rich and flavorful. It's a bit like pound cake, but the gooey center makes it much tastier than regular cake. The apples and cinnamon really add a subtle, but pleasant, boost to the cake. Liisa emailed me and said this GF version was very similar to her mother's apple cake, so that made me happy.

I decided to go super green when I gave the cake to Liisa by using one of the Goodwill dishes I bought for photography. It cost about the same as a paper plate so she doesn't have to worry about giving it back to me, nor does she need to feel guilty about re-gifting it or returning it to Goodwill. I think I will use this method of giving out food gifts in the future. I don't know why it took me so long to come up with that idea. I also chose this particular plate as a nod to the Finnish flag, which is blue and white.

I hope you make Finnish apple cake this holiday season. It's an awesome family favorite. Enjoy!

PS - I blame all my problems with food allergies on my Finnish genes and Liisa re-enforced this notion with her own gluten problems. We'll be cooking together soon.

1 1/2 cubes butter
2/3 sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, thinly sliced

Melt butter in microwave. Add sugar and eggs, beating slightly. Add flour, mixed with baking powder, and xanthan gum. Add vanilla. Pour the dough into a greased pie pan or spring form pan with parchment paper. Top with apple slices. Sprinkle cinnamon. Bake at 325 F for 25-30 minutes. Take out of the oven while the center is still gooey.


Anita said...

Besides being Finnish with a gluten problem, has she been able to tell you of other Fins who also suffer from these problems? Granted we can clearly see that all of our problems came from Grandma on down but it would be interesting to see more proof. How I love and hate being of Finnish decent.

Joe and Lora Leigh said...

Glad to see you back, Ali! I have missed your blog.

Heather said...

oooh, looks and sounds delish and I looove the plate too. We must have some Finnish in the genes somewhere, lol. ;)

Thanks for sharing Ali.

P.S. I am now putting your books that I have had for a really embarrassingly long time into my church bag to give back to you tomorrow. sigh!