Food & dining

This forgiving apple dessert is a cross between a cake and a pie

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Makes one 9-inch cake

In this cross between a cake and a pie, Cortland or Macoun apples, which hold their shape when baked, are sandwiched between pastry layers. The dough is mixed like a cake batter, but is firm enough to press into the pan for a bottom crust. With the help of extra flour, the same dough can be rolled for the top, like a pie. If the pastry tears when transferred to the pan, press the edges together; it’s very forgiving. Repairs disappear later under a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar.

Butter (for the pan)
Flour (for the pan and sprinkling)
cups flour
1teaspoon baking powder
¼teaspoon salt
½cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1cup granulated sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
3medium baking apples (Cortland, Macoun) peeled, cored and thinly sliced (3½ cups total)
Cinnamon-sugar made with 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Heavy cream (for brushing)
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt to blend them.


3. In an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar until well blended. Beat in the egg, followed by the vanilla. With the mixer set at its lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture. On a lightly floured counter, shape the dough into a disc, wrap in foil, and refrigerate for 40 minutes.

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4. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

5. Divide the dough in half. Rewrap one half in foil and refrigerate. With lightly floured fingers, press the remaining half into the bottom and partway up sides of the pan. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles in the pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top.

6. On a floured counter, roll the remaining dough to a rough 10-inch round. Set it on top of the apples. Turn the edge under like a hem and pinch together any tears. Brush the pastry with cream and cut half a dozen slits on top.

7. Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples are tender when pierced with a skewer. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Turn the cake out of the pan, then turn it right-side up and set it on a cake plate. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Jean Kressy

Jean Kressy can be reached at