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A food blog with delicious recipes and stories

Apple Charlotte (Sharlotka)

I did some change to my blog header. Have you noticed it? I decided to change my blog title from Farida’s Azerbaijani Cookbook to AZ Cookbook, to perfectly match my domain name. No…Actually, that’s really not the reason why I did that. Those who know me well, know I am my worst critic, sometimes to a maniacal extend (I know this is not healthy). So, for the longest time I couldn’t help but reproaching myself each time I posted a non-Azerbaijani recipe. “Your blog reads AZERBAIJANI cookbook,” my inner critic said, “and this is not Azerbaijani!” I told the evil voice that whenever I posted a non-Azerbaijani recipe, I mentioned its origins in the intro to the recipe. The critic was not satisfied. Plus she found the title too long and not cute enough. I couldn’t sleep and I had nightmares, mostly with the evil critic scolding me for my dishonest behavior (did I tell you the critic is mean to me?).

No more. The critic can be at peace, as from now on this space will be called AZ Cookbook, where AZ stands for Azerbaijan and everything from A to Z, that is, not necessarily Azerbaijani. Plus, according to the critic, it sounds cuter.  Short and to the point. I can sleep better now. Off the chest. Feels great. Now I can talk food without guilt. So, here it comes.

Last Sunday our family friends and we went apple picking in Oak Glen. It was our family’s first apple picking trip and we were super excited. Glean Oak is a scenic town known for its numerous apple orchards tucked at the foot of lush green mountains. We first stopped at an orchard where you can pick your own apples. Sadly, the orchard didn’t have a good harvest this year, so we ended up with just a few apples and ironically, a pumpkin that we picked from a tiny pumpkin patch set up amidst the apple trees, as if on purpose, to ease off the visitors’ souring mood.

With a bag of hard earned apples and a cute little pumpkin in our hands, we moved on to a nearby orchard, where you can’t pick apples, but you can sample from a dozen variety already pre-picked and bagged for you and buy your favorite. After a palate provoking sampling ceremony, I decided on Mutsu apples because of its taste, and well, because the name sounded very appealing and new to me. I learned that Mutsu (also known as Crispin) is a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Indo. It takes its name from the Mutsu province of Japan where it was first grown. Mutsu apples have a green skin and a somewhat tangy succulent flesh.

I immediately thought of Apple Charlotte, a classic Russian cake that is prepared with tangy apples. So, I baked it once we got back home. I haven’t made that cake for a long time and thought this was the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of my favorite Soviet-era cakes. The cake is super easy to put together. All you do is slice the apples, beat the eggs with sugar and flour, pour the batter on top of the apples and you are good to go.  It is exactly for this reason that Russians consider Apple Charlotte as one from the “gostya na poroge” (guest at the doorstep) series – foods perfect for unexpected (or, should I say uninvited) guests, that can be put together in no time, while catting away with the guests to blame.

APPLE CHARLOTTE (SHARLOTKA)

5 large apples (about 2 pounds / 1 kg), preferably a tart variety, such as Granny Smith
about a teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or a pinch of vanillin powder
1 cup flour

butter, to butter the pan
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
powdered sugar, to coat

1. Peel and core the apples. Quarter them then slice (not to thick and not to thin) each quarter crosswise.

2. Butter the bottom and the sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan (you can use a regular pan, but springform pan  is preferred for easier unmolding). Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apples on top. You do not have to arrange them accurately. Just toss them in there and level with your  hands. If using cinnamon, sprinkle it on the apples.

3. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

4. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until pale yellow. The more you beat, the more the cake will rise and the softer it will be. Add the vanilla extract or vanillin powder and flour. Beat until well blended.

5. Pour the batter all over the apples, to distribute evenly.  Do not mix.

6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 50 minutes-1 hour, or until the top is golden. Let cool slightly, then unmold. Sift some powdered sugar on top. Serve warm with ice cream, or at room temperature with a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy!

68 Comments
  1. Your new place looks great! Warm & inviting as ever :-D

    I can almost smell the Apple Charlotte, pretty simple but beautiful!

  2. I have been following your blog for a long time but never commented. I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog. Your writing, your pictures, your recipes. I am a foodie and surf a lot of blogs every day, but honestly,. yours stands out because you offer recipes that have never been published anywhere before, while most others (famous ones too) simply adapt recipes from magazines, cookbooks. Nothing unique, really. Keep it up! I am going to make this apple cake soon. Interesting about the Russian tradition:)

  3. The apple charlotte is definitely a good way to eat apples. Like the way your new title looks. Did you know we shar the “pom” favicon? :)
    I like your blog whatever the title. I know about that self criticism. Did you realise I’m still looking for the perfect banner for my blog title? (Think I found it and shall add it soon!) ;-D

  4. I was searching so hard for real apple charlotte (not with bread slices!) to make for my friday home meeting – could not remember how my friends in Russia had made it so many years ago. Thanks for putting this recipe up – it was just in time and so delicious!

  5. Hey – the philosophy behind the name change is actually how I always thought of your site – AZ always seemed to me to be the A-Z even though I also knew about the Azerbaijan focus :-)

    Lovely lovely photo up at the top!

  6. It all looks delicious!

  7. What a marvellous dessert this is!! Looks so appetizing too,….

    MMMMMMMMMMMMM,…Farida!

  8. miammm, It’s delicious!

  9. Feride, this sharlotka sounds so easy, and it looks scrumptious! This may be a perfect treat for me to return my kitchen after a terrible cold. And I love the tradition of making this apple charlotte for unexpected guests. It will be great for my unexpected craving for a sweet.Thanks for this easy and yummy sharlotka.

    By the way, I loved the change in your header and what AZ stands for. Also, the description of your inner critic’s interference makes this post so interesting with a psychology touch. I loved the way you write.

  10. Hi Farida, your recipe seems delicious. We have decided to try it now with my sister. But I wonder why you didnt use any baking powder ?

  11. This looks so great and perfect for fall Farida! I love your blog and posts no matter what the name, or origin of the recipe! You do a great job!

  12. Hi Farida, I like site’s new name of A to Z, well done.
    Truly I do not like to see Farida’s place empty. Why did you call it Farida’s AZ cookbook?

  13. I look forward to your email each week. Always something yummy. Right now I have an apple Charotte in the oven. Thanks

  14. Hi, Farida. I always loved everything with apple and am sure I will like this one, too ))

    Concerning your new heading.. actually, I liked previous one for one reason– it sounded like a brand ))

  15. I love this cake and the new image of the blog.
    AZ sounds good.
    Regards
    Moira

  16. je viens de la faire et c’est tres bon mais sucré…

  17. I love that cake!!! Interesting that you call it ‘sharlotka’, however. Here in Estonia, sharlotka is a curd cheese (tvorog) and whipped cream filled festive cake, which is surrounded by cake roulade slices.
    This cake – gorgeous in its simplicity – is simply known as “apple biscuit” (well, õunabiskviit) :)

  18. Hi Feride. The first thing I noticed on you website was the change in the header. Then, I started reading about it. :) I like it! I also hesitate to post non-Turkish recipes since my blog advertises Turkish food. I started a “Traditionally not Turkish” category. Even with that, I keep non-Turkish recipes to minimal in my blog because I keep thinking that my blog is supposed to post Turkish recipes! Your idea is very clever. I like that. The cake looks gorgeous! You do a great job with photography too.

  19. SOMA: Thank you.

    KATI: Welcome to my blog and thank you for your warm words.

    APARNA: Yes, I happen to be a pom monster and I take pom pics whenever I get a chance. Some of them ended up on my header:) I like yours too:)

    MAY: Enjoy:)

    CHENNETTE: Thank you.

    HOME SCHOOL COLLEGE COUNSELOR: Thank you.

    SOPHIE: Glad you like it.

    GRAZI: It is indeed:)

    ZERRIN: Hope you feel better, arkadasim. Eat lots of soups:)

    YASEMIN: No baking powder needed in this particular recipe, unless you want to experiment with it. Just beat the batter well, it will do.

    JENN: Thank you for being such a supportive blogger friend!

    ILKIN: Please don’t tempt the mean inner critic to come back to me, this time reproaching me for removing my name from the blog title:)

    PAM KIEFFER: Hope your cake turns out great. Enjoy!

    RAMIL: I blame my critic for the change:) I am a good one:)

    MOIRA: Thank you.

    GRAZ?: Really? Sucre? Did you use sour apples? Because with them, the cake shouldn’t be very sweet.

    PILLE PETERSOO: How interesting! The same name but different cakes. Thanks for sharing. I love learning new things food related.

  20. TURKISH FOOD PASSION: I know the feeling. You want to be very honest. I am with you. Adding a new category is a clever idea. Love your blog no matter what. Keep it up, arkadas!

  21. Great dessert for home! Thanks Farida!

  22. Wow, this apple charlotte looks delicious…and even more due to its simplicity…have to give a try :-)

  23. Well, I like the changes you made with your blog my dear, so I’ll resist the urge to kick your inner critic’s butt, this time.

    What I cannot resist, however, is making that Apple Charlotte. And today is as good a day as any.. Looks just right for the season! Thank you Fari.

  24. Lovely Blog and Lovely post.Such a Simple dish.Thanks!-)

  25. you know what, i would’ve felt the exact same way as you about thinking you should change the name. i’m so glad i have a blog name that is ambiguous b/c that way i don’t have to think twice about posting anything specific to the name (although i think people sometimes think our blog name is a porn thing, which, as you know, it is not). great new look!

  26. Hello, lik your blog, looking forward to checking it out, Can almost smell the apple charlotte, the finished dish looks gorgeous! cant wait to try

  27. Russian sharlotka! The simplest, yet super-delicious treat! I never bother to peel the apples for it :)

  28. Thank you for your comments, friends.

  29. this looks divine farida~ and glad the critic in you is finally at peace. love the new title although the previous one was good as well but makes sense that now you have more freedom in your posts :) x

  30. Privet Farida! I am writing you from Russia.

    I found your blog searching for Russian Sharlotka. I just wanted to say your blog is very professional. I have seen lots of Russian cooking sites with Sharlotka but the recipes are not well written and makes you ask lots of questions. I see almost no questions asked on your recipes:) IYou write them so accurately!!!!! I am happy I know some English so I can read and make your foods. Spasibo!!!!!

  31. love the name; makes perfect sense! and the dessert: well of course that looks absolutely delish!

  32. this is perfectly dense and apple-happy and cakey all at the same time. simply put, i love it. :)

  33. This is so good, I make a similar version. And I like your new header!

  34. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS!

  35. I just baked it, glazed it with confectioner’s sugar mixed with a little heavy cream, cooled it, unmolded it, tasted it and am in heaven! Thank you so much. I am really no pastry chef, but I adore apple pie. I raise a few ducks and have an overabundance of eggs as well as numerous apple trees on our property. This is the most perfect recipe as it satisfies everything all the way around! I’ve been hanging around your blog being impressed for awhile, but never commented before. Just had to this time!!!

  36. I’m liking the new blog look Farida. Apples are wonderful now and a cake is just what our souls crave.

  37. Good job! I’ve added your site to my favorities.

  38. Just a quick note, to let you know I made this cake over the weekend. And it was nothing short of wonderful!

    The batter was very light and spongy. I’m thinking this would also be great if I substituted berries for the apples, come summer.
    Thanks Fari!

  39. I’m so happy I found your blog! You make so many interesting and new things -I love exploring your recipes and looking at your amazing photos. Yum! I’ll be checking in regularly! :)

  40. Farida, I tried your recipe that you submitted for the Russian Sharlotka and was very satisfied and so was the whole family! Thank you for such a delicious yet simple recipe. I will definitely be making it more! I’m glad that I found your blog. It’s one of the best I’ve seen so far, and I have been to many!

  41. Yum! This cake is a favorite both in my family and in my husband’s family and it was his requested birthday cake this year. I follow a similar recipe except I don’t peel the apples (I find that the peel becomes soft enough during baking) and I use three eggs, not four. I also mix the apples into the batter rather than putting them in the pan and pouring the batter over them. Thanks for posting it, and I look forward to reading more of your recipes! I am so glad I found your blog.

  42. do1

  43. I am from Kazakhstan and I make this same exact thing ALL the time along with some of your other recipes like rolled eggplants, stuffed cabbage leaves, mimosa, napoleon. :) I love some of your other recipes that I havent heard of like the pomegranite salad and zebra cake. You pics are also beautiful! My mom used to make sharlotka all the time growing up :)

  44. Ura, nashi! More soviet food please!

  45. Salam!

    I made this cake yesterday! Mmmmm… thanks for the recipe. It reminded me the time when I was buying this cake at “Bon Appetit” culinary shop on my way home after school…

    I also added 2 ingredients: crunchy cookies based on cacao and almonds since I didn’t have bread crumbs (Ritornelli Mulino Bianco by Barilla – I think, you can find this brand only in Italy) and some red currants that “diversified” the flavor.

    Thanks again!

  46. Thanks for the recipe. It is great Sharlotka. I haven’t had enough apples, so I used a peach instead :) turned out real good. I remember my mom making this kind of pie with pitted cherries instead of apples. It is gorgeous!

  47. My Russian Language Professor would make this all the time for our Russian Club Meetings… found soo many recipes calling for apple slices and they didn’t resemble anything what she would make… Just got back from the market w/a bunch of apples! Can’t wait to try it out! :)

  48. Hi, just wanted to say your zebra cake is a very big hit with all my family, they think I am so clever.
    Can I ask is it plain or self raising flour you use for this Charlotte cake?
    Look forward to trying more of your interesting recipes daily. Thanks

  49. MARIA: So glad you like the cake:) For Sharlotka – use all-purpose flour. No baking powder or soda is used in this recipe.

  50. We love this apple cake. Our friends from Russia make this for my mom’s birthday. The grandma does not speak English, so I am estatic to find a recipe. I am going to try to bake it myself, since it sounds so easy. All the recipes called for cutting the apples and putting in bottom of pan. Do the apples then rise through the cake? I think they dust the pan with sugar instead of bread crumbs. Wish me luck:) Thanks for taking the time out for your blog!

  51. ERNA: I am sure you will impress the grandma with your sharlotka:) The apples don’t rise – it is the batter that fills the gaps in between the chunks of apples then puffs up during the baking. Good luck:) Please let me know how it turns.

  52. how should i preserve this cake?can i keep it in freezer and warm it during eating?

  53. SHAHNAZ – It is best the day it was baked, but you can freeze it and warm just before serving too.

  54. Thank you for your recipe, it’s great. My grandmother made a cake like that.It may be called Charlotte cake in Russian (just like ?????? salad :) ) the traditional charlotte uses a day old white roll.

  55. Thank you so much for this one – it’s my favorite pie in this blog! It’s fast, easy and reminds me of home.
    I made some changes though. Instead of 5 apples I put 3 and add half a pack of frozen blackberries. Turns out delicious and is officially the best thing I’ve baked so far!

  56. Denemeden duramayacagim galiba / I will try this recipe soon!

    Ellerine saglik!

  57. my apples are sinking to the bottom of the cake and not throughout the cake as featured in your picture. what am i doing wrong?

  58. ANNE – Does that mean there is not enough cake batter to cover the apples? Because the batter really just covers the apples. Now sure how the apples can think to the bottom.

  59. I make it all the time. The other day I didn’t have any apples, but had apricots that had to go soon. So I used applicots and added apricot jam into batter. It was pretty good too. :)

  60. Farida hanum thank you so much for your website! You make my baking life so easy! Your fan from Houston

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