After a successful [first time] use of fresh cranberries in a cranberry sauce, I became obsessed with them. I baked cranberry bran muffins, two cranberry almond cakes, and a cranberry walnut tart. By the time the grocery stores stopped carrying fresh cranberries, I only had 1 cup left. I was hesitant to use my last cranberries on just any recipe, so I was very excited when I discovered this German apple cranberry cake from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook. The cake is simple, moist, and nicely dense. Although the cake is good on its own, I just love the comfort and indulgence of the warm sauce.
Thomas Keller is an award winning chef and this cookbook is a collection of recipes used in his very famous The French Laundry restaurant in Napa Valley, California. Anna and Kristina’s Grocery Bags (a show that reviews cookbooks and kitchen gadgets) gave this cookbook their stamp of approval (see their reviews here). Prior to Thomas Keller, this restaurant was owned by Sally and Don Schmitt. This is Sally Schmitt’s Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce recipe.
Apple Cranberry Kuchen (Cake) with Hot Cream Sauce
adapted from Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry Cookbook (original recipe posted here)
for the kuchen (cake):
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, plus more for greasing
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk or light cream
2 to 3 large sized apples (Gravenstein or Golden Delicious apples are recommended but I used McIntosh)
1 cup fresh cranberries
cinnamon sugar (1 tablespoon of granulated white sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon)
for the cream sauce:
Note: This sauce can be halved.
2 cups heavy whipping cream (35%)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (if you prefer a sweeter sauce, use up to 1/2 cup sugar)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour a 9-inch round springform cake pan. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and egg together until the mixture is fluffy and lightened in texture. On the lowest speed, mix in half of the dry ingredients followed by half of the milk. Then mix in the rest of the dry ingredients followed by the rest of the milk just until combined. Do not overmix.
Core and peel the apples and slice them into 1/4 inch thick wedges. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Press the apple slices into the batter, core side down and about 1/4 inch apart. Do this in a circular pattern around the outside edge so that it looks like the spokes of a wheel. Then sprinkle most of the cranberries in the inner circle of the apples and sprinkle a few around the outer edges of the apple slices. Sprinkle the top with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the centre of the cake, about 40 to 50 minutes. Set this on a wire rack to cool. Then remove the cake and transfer to a serving plate.
To make the hot cream sauce, combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pot. Bring to a rolling boil. Do not allow this mixture to burn or boil over. Then spoon this onto the centre of warm plates. Place slices of cake in the middle of these pools of cream sauce and serve immediately while the sauce is still warm.