There are lots of things I like in winter but nothing compares with the smell of a freshly baked cake that fills your kitchen and drives your neighbors crazy. The steamed up windows, Mr. Felix sleeping in his warm place and Little Miss Foodie admiring herself in the oven window trying to convince “Mao” how beautiful she is with a towel on her head, transforms an ordinary winter day into a perfect one.
I don’t know why, most of the times I associate the baked apple smell with winter, that is why apple cakes are my favorites during the cold winter days. Maybe because they make me think of childhood, of my granny baked apples or the ones my mom used to prepare with honey and butter.
Last days I had a some spare time – not too much, though (uhm, “spare time” , what’s that?!?! ) – and a crazy need of something sweet but not very complicated, so, I decided to prepare a Quatre Quarts, actually, an upgrade of the classic one, adding a “fifth element” (ok, six, if we consider the vanilla seeds too) to allow me to enjoy the flavor of something sweet in a cold winter day.
The name ” quatre quarts” (literally “four fourths”) derives from the fact that the four ingredients are used in equal amounts, so as in the case of the English “pound cake” all the ingredients are weighed and used in equal proportions.
I must say that, in my opinion, this is one of the easiest cake to make and it gets you out of trouble especially when you have a toddler around the house and you cannot take your proper time to bake something more complicated. With few ingredients you just get “the dessert” you wanted and in this case, adding apples, took it to another level.
- 3 eggs
- 200 g caster sugar
- 200 g butter
- 200 g all purpose flour
- 1 vanilla bean
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- Preheat oven to 170°C.
- Grease a 24 cm bake tin with butter.
- Peel and core the apples and dice them. Add the lemon juice to prevent the apples from changing colour.
- Break the eggs and separate the whites from the yolks; beat the yolks with the sugar until lighter and smooth and add the vanilla seeds.
- Add the flour and the melted butter mixing carefully.
- Separately beat the whites until stiff and fluffy and fold them gently into the batter.
- Add the diced apples, pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for about 45' until golden brown.
- Let it cool on a wire rack and serve.
Hugs from Milan,