I have been meaning to bake this cake at least 10 times during the last year. I even went shopping especially for it a couple of times in between. Only to choose yet another recipe to make in the end. Why? Because this is a recipe I’ve got from my dear aunt Geta. So? Geta is a wonderful wonderful cook and baker, I have never eaten anything she made that I didn’t like (well, except the fish soup, sorry Geta) and I have cooked many of her recipes and they have always worked for me as well.
There is only one flaw with the recipes she gives me: they are always so approximate. Like you need a piece of yeast as big as a walnut or a glass of milk (which size is always a guess) or my absolute favorite: take as much flour as the dough can assimilate. I think this one irritates a lot of other Romanian women of my generation who are trying to cook or bake recipes once made by their mothers or grandmothers.
When it comes to cooking being so approximate is really not so bad, if your soup has more or less carrots or beans will not make a huge difference in the end but when it comes to baking… this approximation can really lead to disasters. And I know what I am saying: for years I thought I am incapable of baking a good cake, after a few really bad results, I just gave up. Then as my son was born I received a wonderful present, my Thermomix, which has a scale included. And then I realized that that was the reason why baking never worked for me: I never used a scale, I just had a measuring beaker and thought that that would be enough. I mean I find cup measuring quite unreliable, imagine a beaker, I don’t think I ever got anything except liquids measured correctly using that.
So that is the reason I put baking this cake off for so long. Too bad, too bad! I should have taken the time right away because this is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I have made it for a small gathering with the neighbors not long ago and it was gone in a flash. Everybody just loved it. While making it, I really took the time and measured everything exactly, so that I will not have to struggle the next time I bake it.
The dough is absolutely amazing, it is what I would call a fake puff pastry. Absolutely genius! There is no endless rolling and folding and butter cutting and so on. You do not even need butter for this, just oil.
A perfect cake for the season, flaky pastry, not overly sweet and full of apples.
- For the pastry:
- 12 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 12 tablespoons water
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg
- 320 g/ 11.3 oz/ 2.6 cups all-purpose flour
- For the filling:
- 12 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz/ 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 450g /16 oz apples
- 75 g/ 2.6 oz/ ⅓ cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons semolina
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- icing sugar for dusting
- You will need a baking tray or roasting pan about 20x30 cm/ 8x12 inch.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To make the fake puff pastry mix the oil, water, salt and egg together in a medium bowl. Add the flour little by little, mix using a spoon as long as possible, add the remaining flour and knead the dough lightly in the bowl. Turn the dough on the floured working surface and knead until you get a smooth, kind of soft dough.
- In a small bowl mix together the next 12 tablespoons vegetable oil with the 125 g all-purpose flour until you obtain a smooth paste.
- Roll the pastry on a floured surface, about 30x40 cm/ 12x16 inch. Spread the paste evenly on the rolled pastry, roll the pastry beginning at the smaller end to get a large sausage. Cut this sausage in two to obtain two even, smaller sausages.
- Roll the first sausage just a little bit larger than the size of the baking tray or roasting pan that you will use to bake the cake. Oil the pan and place the rolled pastry inside, pushing the edges of the pastry lightly up the sides of the pan.
- Grate the apples (leaving the peel on) and mix them with 3 tablespoons of the semolina and the sugar. Spread this mixture on the rolled pastry. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of semolina and the cinnamon evenly on top of the apples.
- Roll the second sausage about the size of the baking pan and cover the apples. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and flaky.
- Let cool down completely and serve dusted with icing sugar.