© 2017 Green Kitchen Stories Grandmas_danish_apple_cake

Grandma’s Danish Apple Cake

I know what you are thinking. Where is the cake and what is that red sauce? In most other countries this would be called a trifle or a parfait, but in Denmark we call this an old-fashioned apple cake (although our version is modernized). I have the fondest memories leaning over a huge bowl of Gammeldags æblekage at my grandmother’s kitchen table. It’s made of smooth apple sauce (our version is red) topped with crushed cookie crumbles and whipped cream and it was my favorite dessert in the world. Me and my twin brother spent every other weekend and school holiday at my grandmother’s house. She was the warmest and calmest person we knew, always smiling. My memories are fading but whenever I think of her I can smell the cigarillos she loved to smoke and the hair spray she always wore. And I remember her huge black & white marble coffee table that we often sat around and her warm hugs. She had a big house and rented out one room in the basement, one on the top floor and one in the garden to various tenants. On weekends she baked for everyone in the house. Large batches of spiced pound cake, chocolate cake or her famous (in my world) old-fashioned apple cake. I never thought of it back then but – damn! – she must have been the best landlord. When my twin brother and I were 10 years old she sadly passed away, two days after Christmas, and she left a big hole of emptiness in me. I have been thinking about her so much lately as I have been making this recipe for our kids and telling them stories about her. So this cake and this video is for you grandma. /Luise

We have actually changed quite a few things from my grandmother’s recipe. We ditched the sugar in the apple sauce (because it’s really not needed if you use sweet apples), replaced cookie crumble with a simple nut and date crumble and used whipped coconut cream on top to make it vegan. But it still tastes a lot like the ones she made. And the texture is ace! It’s sweet and tangy and soft and rich and crunchy. And it’s pretty easy to make as well. 1) Cook apple sauce (or use readymade). 2) Chop toasted nuts and mix with sticky dates. 3) Whip cream. 4) Layer. 5) Dive in.

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While testing the first version of the recipe, David’s main concern was that it didn’t look pretty enough (typically him). I peeled the apples and didn’t blend the sauce so it did look rather yellow/brownish. But he figured out that by using the most deep red apples we could find, kept the peel on, cooked on low heat and then blended the sauce, it got a beautiful pink/red color. I’ve never seen an apple sauce looking radiant like that before.

Make sure to cook a double batch of the sauce. It’s crazy good on top of yogurt and porridge bowls.

Danish_apple_cake_3

We are definitely not experts on whipped coconut cream. We have failed at making it numerous times as different brands behave differently and some simply don’t work at all. Key is keeping it chilled to get the cream to separate from the liquid and the chilling is also essential when whipping. Usually, the cream solidifies so you scoop it out with a spoon, but when making the video above, we used a brand that separated without solidifying so we could simply pour the cream into the bowl while the rest of the liquid stayed at the bottom of the can. If you want to learn more about Whipped Coconut Cream (and which US brands that work best), go read Ashlae’s post on Coconut Whipped Cream.

I should also mention that if you are not vegan or too fond of coconut cream, regular whipped cream is just as delicious.

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Grandma’s Danish Apple Cake
Serves 4

If you cant find red apples like ours, you can add a little pomegranate juice or grated beetroot to the apple sauce while mixing to make it more red.

Red Apple Sauce
1 kg / 2 lb red apples (use local produce if available)

250 ml / 1 cup water
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground vanilla powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (or cardamom)
1 tbsp lemon juice

Date & Nut Crumble
180 g / 1 cup almonds
100 g / 1 cup walnuts
8 dates

Whipped Coconut Cream (or regular cream)
1 can coconut milk, placed in the fridge for a few hours (or coconut cream or heavy cream)

Rinse the apples and chop them in bite size pieces, discarding the core. Place in a large sauce pan along with water, fresh ginger, vanilla powder and cinnamon. Let simmer on low heat for approx 20 minutes or until soft.

Meanwhile, place the nuts on a tray and roast at 150°C / 300°F for approx 15 minutes. Remove the stone from the dates and use a knife to chop them or a fork to mash them. Chop the nuts medium fine, reserve a handful a nuts for topping and mix the rest with the date paste into a crumble. Set aside.

When the apples are done, use a hand (immersion) blender to mix into a smooth apple sauce. Stir lemon juice into the sauce,  leave to cool or scoop into a large jar and place in the fridge.

Scoop out the solid cream from 1 can of chilled coconut milk. Use a hand mixer to whip the coconut cream until it’s fluffy and forms soft peaks. If it feels too runny, place the bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes and then try whipping again. If you like it sweetened, you can fold in some maple syrup or vanilla into the cream after it is whipped. If using regular cream, simply whip it until soft peaks form.

Place apple sauce as bottom layer in 4 glasses or jars (or use 1 big glass bowl). Top evenly with nut and date crumble and then scoop over whipped cream. Sprinkle chopped nuts on top. Enjoy!

They sit quite well in the fridge so they can be prepared a few hours ahead.

PS! Yesterday also happened to be Noah’s first birthday! Happy day little man! David usually post a little letter to the kids here on their first birthday but he’s been a little busy lately but promises that he will write it in a later post.

GKAHDutch

Oh, one more thing! The Dutch edition of Green Kitchen At Home has been nominated for Cookbook of the Year in Holland. There are two awards, one is decided by a jury and the other is people’s choice. We’d be super happy if our Dutch readers (or anyone) would like to vote for us. It only takes 30 seconds. Here is the link!

37 Comments

  1. Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 09:18 | #

    Such a lovely post! Always looking forward to your little movies, they are incredibly charming and extremely well thought out. Thanks for sharing this recipe, we’ll try this one for sure!

  2. Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 09:37 | #

    What an interesting name for what I know as parfait! I’m happy you posted up and shared this recipe – your grandma’s cooking really lives on. Will give this a try, I’m sure it’s delicious. :)

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  3. Manon
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 10:51 | #

    What an adorable post, Luise! Thank you so much for sharing your lovely story and what looks like an essential fall recipe.

  4. Anita
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 13:45 | #

    I love this! In Norway this is called “tilslørte bondepiker”.

  5. Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 15:32 | #

    These look absolutely lush and love the idea of the date and nut crumble!

    chevrons & éclairs

  6. Kel
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 16:06 | #

    Looks delicious! Possible to substitute the vanilla powder for just a few drops of vanilla in the apples?

  7. Anna
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 17:43 | #

    Wow, I might have cried a bit over reading this… I’m sure it’s the mama hormones. Lovely recipe! Thank you

  8. Sarah
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 17:44 | #

    I have been making parfaits for breakfast so this delicious recipe is very timely for me! Can you also share what size jars you used? I have been using 8 oz standard mason jars but the wide mouth you used seems ideal for parfaits, thanks :)

  9. Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 22:19 | #

    I can imagine how light and lovely this must taste! The homemade applesauce looks wonderful. Looks like a delicious recipe!

  10. Ingrid Hofstra
    Posted 26 Oct ’17 at 22:54 | #

    Hi!!
    This looks so good guys! I bought small super red danish apples today and will make the compote tomorrow! It sounds so good! Also, will vote for you and happy birthday to Noah! xxx

  11. Nadia
    Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 04:22 | #

    My mother in law is Dutch, and she is here in Australia for a visit,she saw I’m using your cooking books EVERYDAY! She will be happy to have a Dutch version !
    My pleasure to nominate you the winners !

  12. Sandra
    Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 15:06 | #

    NOW I understand why I got this when I ordered apple cake in Copenhagen! Not that I was complaining though, it was delicious, and I will certainly give this one a go!

  13. Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 17:14 | #

    Yes Keep those memories alive. Some memories sit in the dark but flare to light like a match when you smell apples or the earth after a spring rain. My 13 yr old Norwegian niece visits each summer and will suddenly smell or taste something that brings forth a forgotten memory of her Bedstemor/my mother (she was from Denmark). My mom died when my niece was eight and cooking from family recipes helps keep those flames burning.

  14. Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 17:23 | #

    What a sweet memory of your grandma, Luise. And a really special way to remember her through food here too. I love how you call these apple cakes, and now I’m craving some too. Will have to give them a try before peak apple season is over, thank you for this treat! And as always, your videos are my favorite <3.

  15. Linda
    Posted 27 Oct ’17 at 19:20 | #

    Apples are cooking while I type and I also just voted!
    P.s. Your sweet story brought a tear to my eye, much loved grandparents can be greatly missed.

    • Diana Martin
      Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 21:08 | #

      you are right!, that´s what I´ve just posted hahaha, that I love this couple not only because of their recipes but also because of their stories. THey are very touching/moving, are they?

  16. Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 07:19 | #

    That sauce is BEAUTIFUL! Definitely worth the effort of keeping the red skins on and cooking it low and slow;)

  17. Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 08:18 | #

    It is lovely for me to see this type of æblekage. Posted the recipe of the original Danish yesterday.
    I will try yours soon, seems to be very delicious as well!
    Regards from Denmark,
    Meermond

  18. clara
    Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 08:30 | #

    Beautiful and yummy looking! Which type of apples did you use? I mean the proper name…
    thanks,
    xx

    • Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 18:38 | #

      😁 Thank you.
      I cooked Boskop (malus domestica), a sour but very delicious apple.
      Best,
      Meermond

      • clara
        Posted 29 Oct ’17 at 08:23 | #

        thanks! but its the same they’ve used?

        • Posted 29 Oct ’17 at 15:06 | #

          Hi Clara,
          We used a Danish apple winter variety called Ingrid Marie.
          /Luise

  19. Diana Martin
    Posted 28 Oct ’17 at 21:02 | #

    I do love your videos, guys!! I´ve been following you for 6 monts and I really enjoy your sweet stories and recipes. I found out about your blog/website thanks to a magazine and I fell in love with your domestic stories and recipes. I am not a vegetarian but I am not very keen on meat so I love your recipes and the fact that you are not vegan and include milk and yoghourt or cheese in your dishes (although you usually include a vegan alternative). This video in which we can see Noah´s progress is so cute, he´s already walking. And you look beautiful, Luise.
    Kind regards from Spain

  20. Debbie
    Posted 30 Oct ’17 at 22:00 | #

    This has to be one of the most delicious things that I have ever made!
    Thank you! I will make it for my next dinner party!

  21. Posted 31 Oct ’17 at 03:45 | #

    I really liked it!

  22. Posted 31 Oct ’17 at 09:59 | #

    I would like to see more coffee related recipes :)

  23. Posted 1 Nov ’17 at 18:04 | #

    I’m really curious to try this recipe, really really curious! Guess I’ll try it over the weekend =)

  24. Posted 1 Nov ’17 at 22:44 | #

    Your videos always put a smile on my face.

  25. Alice
    Posted 2 Nov ’17 at 08:00 | #

    This is such a lovely recipe and an even lovelier story behind it- I found myself getting teary thinking about your memory, and relating it to my own grandmother. Thank you for this- can’t wait to try it.

  26. Tina
    Posted 5 Nov ’17 at 07:01 | #

    Hey… very Nice i would like to Call it Danish inspirer though… i am Danish and that has nothing to do with Danish old fashioned Apple cake… apart from the whipped cream… if you would like the Real recept i would be happy to send it to you… Cause it IS very delicious

  27. Posted 5 Nov ’17 at 15:39 | #

    The hue on those apples! Amazing, I would love to bite into one. Happy feasting!

  28. Karen Heberer
    Posted 5 Nov ’17 at 19:12 | #

    It’s delicious. We had this apple cake yesterday with friends as dessert. Everybody loved it. Thank you for this recipe.

  29. Posted 6 Nov ’17 at 11:34 | #

    Such a beautiful video I loved it and the recipe contains delicious ingredients. Thanks a lot for the recipe :) It means a lot :)

  30. Posted 7 Nov ’17 at 14:05 | #

    Cheers to first steps and mouthfuls of coconut whip cream! Happy feasting.

  31. Cathie
    Posted 10 Nov ’17 at 12:27 | #

    This was delicious. I bought the reddist apples
    I could find but the colour of the Apple purée was more rose coloured. Altogether, the dish is wonderful. The apples make a lot of purée so I will freeze some so that I can make small portions of this dish up (with one date and a handful of nuts).

    So tasty. Keep the recipes coming and congratulations on your marriage.

  32. gfy
    Posted 22 Nov ’17 at 18:28 | #

    I would love to see an old photograph of your grandmother, it sounds like she was an interesting woman!

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