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The "Epic" Apple-Almond Cake That Was Nearly Overlooked

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Tra-la-la, it's The Fall Cookbook Cake Parade: a new cake from a new cookbook every single day. Are your costumes cake pans ready?

Today: Why the apple-almond cake Luisa Weiss calls "the world's best" almost didn't make it into her book at all.

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Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)
Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)

We've talked before about great recipes hiding in plain sight: the gems (Fantasy Sauce) and classics (Toll House cookies) that are on the packages in cupboards and in grocery stores—seen but not always noticed.

But for Luisa Weiss, who filled a whole book with German cookies, cakes, yeasted cakes, strudels, breads, Christmas favorites, and more, the back of the package was more than weeknight dinner inspiration.

In this case, the almond paste tube was the ticket to the one cake that, three days before her manuscript was due, was still eluding her:

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My assistant, Maja, and I had tried a couple of apple-almond paste cakes earlier in our testing, but they were nothing special. In fact, after the most recent lackluster one, I’d decided to omit this cake, even though I love the combination of almond paste and apples and I was sort of surprised we hadn’t cracked that particular code. Three days before the manuscript was due, I was looking on the back of a packet of almond paste and out of the corner of my eye I saw a little recipe. I mean really little; it was printed on the short side of the 4-inch-/10-centimeter-wide rectangular packet. It was less than a knuckle’s length of printed information, but as soon as I saw it, I knew we’d have to try it.

We had almond paste. We had apples. We had an hour between one loaf rising and another cake baking. So we made a few tweaks (more apples, for one, and adding almond extract and salt for better flavor plus brushing a hot apricot glaze on top to give the cake a special sheen) and an hour later we had the world’s best apple-almond cake in front of us. No joke. This cake is epic.

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Apple-Almond Cake (Apfel-Marzipan-Kuchen)

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Makes 1 (9-inch/23cm) cake
  • 6 small apples (1 3⁄4 pounds/800 grams), divided
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 7 ounces (200 grams) almond paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14 tablespoons (200 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups scooped and leveled, minus 1 tablespoon/150 grams all-purpose flour
  • 9 1/2 tablespoons (85 grams) cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (75 grams) apricot jam
Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, Signed Copy $35
Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, Signed Copy

Reprinted with permission from Classic German Baking (Ten Speed Press 2016).


See more of our Fall Cookbook Cake Parade