Saturday, September 8, 2012

CAKES AND FRUITS - PART VII: Autumnal Cake with Vanilla Custard and Marzipan stuffed Apples

The seventh and last recipe in my „CAKES AND FRUIT“ series features an autumnal Autumnal Cake with Vanilla Custard and Marzipan stuffed Apples. Make the most of the apple season by trying and using lots of wonderful, delicious apples. There are countless varieties of apples available at the country fairs, greengrocers, farmers´ markets as well as supermarkets. The flavors of the different apples range greatly and there are two basic types of apples available, the eating apple and the cooking apple. The ones sold as “eating apples” are sweeter and have the more interesting flavors, they include “Golden Delicious” and “Granny Smith”, the “cooking apples” are usually larger and more acidic and include varieties such as “McIntosh” and “Pink Lady”.

There are early varieties, mid-summer fruit and late-season apples – the varieties depend entirely on the place where you live. But whatever kind of apples you buy, the best fruit is the one that was recently picked. You can create countless dishes with apples, you can put them in pancakes, slice them over your morning muesli, add them to red cabbage or a stuffing, pair them with pork, duck, chicken or turkey, make juice and cocktails (or buy Calvados), bake tarts, cakes, muffins and puddings, prepare compote, jelly and fritters, or this very pretty treat of a cake.

Recipe for the Autumnal Cake with Vanilla Custard and Marzipan stuffed Apples
(“Herbstlicher Kuchen mit Vanillepudding und Marzipanäpfeln”)

Ingredients for the Pâte Brisée
(the recipe is enough for one large 28 cm (10- 11- inch) springform pan which I used)

  • 300 grams (2 ½ cups) AP flour
  • one pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp super fine sugar
  • 250 grams (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • ¼ to ½ cup ice water

Preparation of the Pâte Brisée

1. To make the pâte brisée, in the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar.
2 Add the butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse oatmeal, 8 to 10 seconds. You can also make the dough with a pastry cutter/by hand.
3. With the machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through the feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process in intervals of more than 30 seconds.
4. Pat the dough into a ball. Flatten the ball into a disc and wrap in plastic.
5. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill at least one hour.
6. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the cold pâte brisée and fit it into your spring form pan, try to fit it in with a few centimeters/inches up the sides.
7. Transfer the pan to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick dough all over with a fork. If the dough is too soft, transfer to refrigerator again and re-chill for about 30 minutes.
8. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit), line the unbaked dough with parchment paper and fill up with ceramic pie weights or uncooked rice or beans and blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and paper and continue to bake for another five to eight minutes or until the crust is golden color.
9. Take out of the oven, place on a rack and let cool while preparing the topping.
10. Maintain heat while preparing the ingredients for the pudding and the topping.

Ingredients for the Vanilla Custard

  • 65 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 450 ml (2 cups) whole milk
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • the seeds from one vanilla bean (1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)

Preparation of the Vanilla Custard (you can also use your favoritr recipe for vanilla custard, has to serve 4)

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch.
2. Whisk in milk and cream.
3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, then boil, taking care not to "burn" the custard. Continue whisking for about one minute.
4. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
5. Transfer to a bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the hot custard. Set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the Cake.

Ingredients for the Apples

  • 7-8 small apples (choose cooking apples that are all the same size and red skinned, if possible)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 50 – 75 grams (1.7 to 2.6 ounces) marzipan, such as “ Odense” (I used “Lübecker Marzipan”)
  • 2 tbsp raisins soaked in rum or apple juice 
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon sugar
  • 8 small cinnamon sticks, or long ones that you will have to break into equal pieces

Preparation of the Apples

1. Wash the apples and take out the remaining stem.
2. With a sharp kitchen knife or vegetable peeler, cut some of the peel off (like a spiral around the apple).
3. Rub the exposed areas of the apples with the lemon juice.
4. Turn the apples top side down on the counter and using a sharp kitchen knife, carefully core the fruits, leaving the top intact.
5. With a fork, mix together the marzipan, cinnamon sugar and the raisins.
6. Stuff the hollowed out cores of the apples with the marzipan mixture.
7. Stick a cinnamon stick in the top of each apple (you have to get a really good grip of the apples to do this).

NOTE: For slicing the cake, you can take out the cinnamon sticks, that will make it easier to cut nice pieces of the Apple Cake.


one large spring form  pan 30cm (10 – to 11-  inches)
parchment paper
ceramic pie weights or dried rice/beans

For the “Final Touch” (optional)

2 tbsp homemade apple jelly
some slithered almonds
some confectioners´ sugar

Putting together the Cake

1. If you turned off the oven after blind baking the cake crust, you have to pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) again.
2. Place the baking pann with the pre-baked and cooled crust onto the baking sheet covered with parchment paper (same you used when blind baking).
3. Take your vanilla custard and with an off-set spatula spread it over the bottom of the crust as evenly as possible, do not worry about some lumps, they will smooth out during baking.
4. Taking one apple at a time, carefully place the apples on top of the custard, one in the center, the others around the "center apple". Push ever so slightly into the custard.
5. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a good hour. Take out of the oven. Let the cake cool on the baking sheet. NOTE: after half an hour of baking, you can also loosely cover the cake with a large sheet of aluminium foil to prevent the custard from turning too dark or to help the apples become a bit softer (optional).
6. In a small saucepan, heat the apple jelly and with a soft-bristled pastry brush carefully brush the areas of the apples that are "sticking out" of the pudding.
7. Toss a few slithered almonds over top and dust ever so slightly with confectioner´s sugar.
8. Remove the cake from the spring form pan and transfer to a serving plate.

NOTE: you should let the cake cool completely before unmolding and serving it, it will be much easier to cut.

For stuffing the apples, try to find real good marzipan, the kind that is made only with ground almonds and sugar, you will not need a lot and you will have plenty left over for some other good uses. The one I always use is "Niederegger-Lübeck Marzipan" - the ratio of almonds and sugar in good quality marzipan is 70% whole blanched almonds to 30 % sugar, pure and simple (

Although this pretty Autumnal Cake is the last cake to be featured in my week-long series on CAKES AND FRUITS, I will be putting together one more post this week that will conclude this series – it will be about the Country Fair that I visited with my family and that inspired me to do this series. Hope that you enjoyed the recipes that I presented!


  1. Oh, my another one!! This is so lovely, the look of it alone is intriguing and I am already planning how I would tackle eating this one! YUM!

    1. Kayte, thank you for all your lovely comments - this cake is actually a fun cake to put together and delcious too.

  2. What an amazing cake! I've never seen or dreamed of one so unique and wonderful. And I am such a sucker for an apple dessert! YUM.

    1. Liz, thank you also for all your wonderful comments on the cakes in this series - I am glad that you like the look of this apple cake, just trying to get a different sort of look for a cake.

  3. Hi Andrea - Another beautiful post, I've so enjoyed your posts this summer as always. This looks so delectable!

    1. Christy, thank you, so nice to hear from you! And thanks for all your wonderful comments, I really appreciate them.

  4. The cake looks beautiful and delicious:) I like the use of marzipan in the cake. Fantastic post!

    1. Geraldine, isn´t marzipan one of the best fall ingredients in a cake?! We love the taste it brings to desserts, especially when they involve apples.

  5. I've never seen anything like this cake before. I love the way the cinnamon sticks stand up in the apples, looking like candles on a birthday cake. We went apple picking this weekend, so thanks for one idea on how to use them up! Have a great week.

    1. Betsy, this time you make me smile, my husband had the same perception of this apple cake when he looked at it!

  6. This looks like a lot of work, but I think it's definitely worth it. I'm always on the lookout for recipes using apples.

    1. Cathleen, this actually only looks like a lot of work, granted, it requires a bit of planning like choosing the right apples, finding cinnamon sticks but really nothing completely out of ordinary.

      Thank you also for visiting my blog!

  7. What an incredible dessert! It looks absolutely wonderful, and is a perfect way to showcase apples.

    1. Beth, thank you so much - this cake is a bit on the labor intensive side but at the same time it is fun to prepare.

  8. Is a kind of dessert that my husband will love and lick the spoon as well;)Your blog is very nice I spent a good time here.Thanks

    1. Thank you, Sylvia - my husband loves apple cakes too and he did like this one (vanilla custard is also always a big winner).

  9. Let me say one of the best looking delicious cake I've seen this week. I can keep looking at the 4th picture... so gorgeous!

    p.s. Just got your message - I'm a little bit better than before. If I get this cake, I know I'll recover from my terrible cold in a second! ;)

    1. Nami, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! I really appreciate it!

  10. Wow, this is dazzling. I really couldn't understand how you were going to cut and serve this until I saw the picture. It is an amazing presentation. You've brought Apple Cake to a whole new level.

    1. Mary, thank you - apple cakes are good at this time of year and it was an interesting experience putting this cake together.

  11. Andrea, this presentation is outstanding! The idea of keeping the apples whole is so eye-catching. Nothing like homemade vanilla custard, it makes such a difference! Wonderful job!

    1. Paula, that is quite a compliment coming from you! Thanks so much!