Compressed Apple Cake is basically a reversed apple cake, cooked slowly for 2 hours, the released pectine from the apples will jellify the whole cake to make it hold perfectly. The result is a fantastic mouthful of apples with a thin crust made out of walnut, sugar free whole grain corn flakes (or graham) with a touch of flour, butter and brown sugar. This thin base gives the crunch to the dessert, but the magic of this dish finds itself in bold apple flavour and fun light texture of it. I usually try to stay away from flaky pastries knowing it’s filled with butter, so this base is a great solution, plus walnuts and apples are just a perfect match. A sweet cake made with not much sugar because apples are just already filled with it, so it ends up being a quite healthy dessert.
The apple type
For this recipe you’ll need apples that are not breaking too easily… so no mealy apples. Any type of apples that is sweet and hold good when cut 1 mm thin is great for this recipe. This way, you’ll get to see the many layers and cut through it with the fork and feel each piece of apple, which is as satisfying as cracking the caramelized top from a “creme brulee”. Otherwise, with a mealy or floury textured apple you’ll get a purée and won’t get the same result. For this particular recipe, I’ve use a well known “pink lady” apple but you choose the one you prefer, as long as it’s not too acidic nor mealy.
The technique used here is a slow and long cooking process which will make the apple layers compress and holds perfectly together. For the first half of the cooking process you’ll need to double wrap the mold containing the apples in aluminium foil to prevent the steam from escaping. This way you’ll get all the juices (apple, brandy and butter) to merge to perfection with the cinnamon and nutmeg. Also, the pectin from the apple will activate and jellify the cake making it hold to perfection. In the second half of the cooking session, we’ll discard the aluminium foil to let all the juices evaporate and concentrate the flavours. By then the apples lost about 1/2 of their height they originally were. 30 minutes before the end, we’ll finish it up with the fine walnut base. Once the cooking is done, it’s important not to reverse the cake right away, it needs to jellify and cool down before, so I suggest waiting for minimum of an hour before reversing the cake and serving.
So let’s make this layered apple cake!
Compressed Apple Cake
Difficulty: easy | Preparation: 20 minutes | Coccion: 2 hours
- a bread mold 30 cm long
- baking paper
- 5 apples
- 25g butter
- 2 tbsp of brandy of your choice (I’ve used an orange flavored; Grand-Marnier)
- 1/4 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
- 50g of whole grain, sugar free cornflakes
- 50g of walnuts
- 3 tbsp of brown sugar
- 25g flour
- 30g of butter (salted is fine, if unsalted add a pinch of salt)
- Add a baking paper to the bottom of the bread (rectangular) mold
- Peel and slice the apples into 1mm thin slices with the help of a mandoline
- Add a first layer of apple overlapping each other on the bottom, then on the sides and filled up the rest adding overlapping layers of apples
- Once all the apple are in, add the brandy, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg
- Double wrap the mold with aluminium paper
- Cook in the oven at 180°C (350F) for 1h30
- Uncover the mold, let the vapor escape and cook another hour (same temperature)
- In a blender or mortar, crunch the corn flakes (or graham) and the walnuts (not too fine), add the rest of the ingredients and the melted butter and mix
- Once the hour is over, add the base on top of the compressed apple slices and cook another 25 minutes
- Take the cake out and let rest a minimum of an hour before flipping on a plate and serving
Enjoy this healthy dessert!