Infused with brandy and spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, this simple einkorn apple cake is both delicious and easy to make. Plenty of butter and eggs lend a little richness to the lightly sweet cake, making it just as good for breakfast as it is for dessert.
What is it?
Einkorn is an ancient variety of wheat that has a higher protein and micronutrient content than modern wheat. This rich nutritional profile means that einkorn is arguable a better choice for baking than regular all-purpose flour. For many people, einkorn is easier to digest than modern varieties of wheat, too.
Einkorn's low gluten content, soft characteristics, and rich flavor make it the perfect choice for baking. And it makes excellent cakes, cookies, and quick breads.
What's in it?
In this einkorn apple cake recipe, you combine all-purpose einkorn flour with plenty of eggs and butter to make a luscious cake base. To the base, you'll add cinnamon and nutmeg as well as a good dose of brandy which infuses the batter with an apple-like flavor and complements the fresh apples nestled inside the cake.
- Einkorn is one of the oldest varieties of wheat, and it has a rich flavor and creamy yellow color. That's because it's rich in micronutrients, such as beta carotene.
- Apples are nestled inside the einkorn cake batter. They're rich in vitamin C and a phytonutrient called quercetin which is highly anti-inflammatory. Choose good baking apples for this recipe with a nice balance of sweet and tart. Pippins, Kings, Fujis, Honeycrisps, and Granny Smith all work well.
- Brandy adds a little moisture to the cake and helps complement the flavor of the apples, infusing that flavor into the batter itself.
- Eggs and butter give the cake much-needed moisture. The protein in the eggs also helps to provide structure to the cake.
- Cinnamon and nutmeg complement the flavor of apples and lend a warming spice to the cake.
Einkorn is easy to work with, especially when making cakes and pastries. But, it behaves a little differently than modern varieties of wheat. So, there's a bit of a learning curve when you're first starting to work with the flour.
- Einkorn absorbs liquid and fat slowly. That means einkorn cakes and other baked goods typically use fewer eggs, less butter, and less liquid than similar recipes made with regular all-purpose flour.
- It makes a very sticky batter. Most batters and doughs made with einkorn flour will be sticky in comparison to those made with modern wheat. And it can make einkorn a little more difficult to work with if you're unprepared.
- There's a trick to cutting the apples for this cake. After peeling and coring the apples, slice them thinly without completely cutting through the apple. That is, they should be sliced on top, but leaving about ¼ inch on the bottom intact.
Pears work just as well as apples. Use 2 firm pears at the cusp of ripeness. Brandy works just as well for pears as it does for apples, but you can also use pear liqueur or perry instead.
Peaches are a delicious option for summertime einkorn cakes. Use firm, but ripe peaches and peel. Cinnamon, nutmeg and brandy work well for peaches, but so does a combination of amaretto or homemade almond extract instead.
Apricots and raspberries are a brilliant option for early summer. Use about 4 to 6 apricots and a ½ cup of raspberries. Leave out the cinnamon and nutmeg and try a ½ teaspoonful of cardamom or a few tablespoons of ginger purée instead. Alternatively, you could leave out the spices altogether and add a little rosewater and vanilla extract instead.
Add 2 tablespoons of apple juice or soft apple cider in place of the brandy.
There's enough existing moisture in the apples and eggs that it doesn't need additional liquid.
You can substitute up to ½ cup of all-purpose einkorn flour with whole wheat einkorn or sprouted einkorn flour. Too much whole grain flour can change the texture of the cake, and can also change how much liquid, fat and other ingredients you need to add.
Yes, you can use regular all-purpose flour in this recipe. Add 2 tablespoons more butter to the recipe, and 1 more egg yolk.
The cake will keep at room temperature in a tightly-sealed container for about 3 days.
You can freeze the baked cake for up to 3 months. Wrap the fully cooled cake in plastic wrap, and store it in a resealable freezer-safe bag.