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Sasha’s Grated Apple Cake

April 02, 2021
Courtesy Penguin Random HouseFrom ‘Beyond the North Wind’Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Beyond the North Wind, by Darra Goldstein:

My friend Sasha baked this cake in celebration of our visit to his tiny village south of Moscow. He calls it “dry” apple cake because it actually has no batter. The cake is super easy to make—just sprinkle the dry ingredients between layers of grated apples, which you don’t even have to peel. The secret to its special texture is farina, which we know more commonly as Cream of Wheat. The apples bake down into a soft filling punctuated with chewy bits of dried apple and a slight graininess from the farina.

You can adjust the amount of sugar to your taste. For me, it depends on my mood—sometimes I like the cake tart, with some pucker; other times I prefer a sweeter cake. And although it’s not à la russe, I can recommend serving this cake à la mode, with vanilla or caramel ice cream.

Featured in: To Russia With Love

Recipe by: Darra Goldstein


  • 6tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tiny bits, plus more for the pan
  • ¾cup flour
  • ½cup fine farina or Cream of Wheat (not instant)
  • 6to 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 1teaspoon baking powder
  • ½teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 ½pounds (4 to 5) tart apples, such as Granny Smith, halved and cored (do not peel)
  • 2tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¾cup finely chopped dried apples
Yield: Serves 8


  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly butter an 8-inch springform pan.

  • Step 2

    In a small bowl, mix together the flour, farina, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.

  • Step 3

    Coarsely grate the apples. This is most easily done in a food processor with the grating attachment; you can also use the large holes on a box grater. Transfer the apples to a bowl. Stir in the lemon juice to mix well, then stir in the dried apples.

  • Step 4

    Evenly sprinkle one-third of the flour mixture over the bottom of the springform pan. Top with half of the apples, then cover with half of the remaining flour mixture. Spoon on the remaining apples and cover them with the last of the flour mixture.

  • Step 5

    Scatter the bits of butter evenly over the top, being careful to cover the entire surface so you don’t end up with dry patches. Place the cake in the oven, then immediately lower the heat to 350 and bake for 1 hour, until golden. Let cool slightly on a rack, then remove the outer ring of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

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