Updated: Jun 12, 2020
Thanks to the addition of kefir this cake is extra soft and airy. There is something rustic and old-fashion in the look of this cake. This is the type of cake which your granny used to serve. The one that usually disappears in a jiffy! The only modern twist here is the use of kefir and as a result - lighter texture. This can be 'any-fruit' cake (see Jazz things up section). Added bonus - it takes only 15 minutes to prepare.
We use kefir in our bakes frequently. So - what is kefir and why is it worth buying kefir (or making your own)? Kefir is a sour drink from fermented, skimmed and pasteurised milk. Kefir grains' or bacteria are used for its production. Natural kefir is beneficial to your digestive system containing on average 4 times more good bacteria than natural yogurt. Broad research shows that these good bacteria go all the way through the digestive tract making it the healthiest natural probiotic. Why would you use kefir for baking? Kefir's good bacterias when slightly warmed up and mixed with the cake batter create extra airy and soft texture (lighter than buttermilk). In this way, you are combining positive health effects of kefir with its work on airy cake texture. On top of that the taste of kefir is natural. In baked cakes there is no sensory aspects of using it other than lighter texture.
When buying kefir make sure to look at the labels. Proper natural kefir should have only 2 ingredients on the label - milk and kefir bacterias. This is quite important as it means that if any additives are added in the production the kefir is not natural and fermentation didn't occur spontaneously. Hence, the benefits described above will be highly reduced. In terms of price - 1L of natural kefir costs somewhere between 1.4 euro to 2 euro and is available in major grocery stores (or Turkish, Polish, Far East food shops). Anything more expensive and sold in smaller bottles is probably marked up with expensive marketing (you are paying for promotion and product placement rather than for the core product itself).
When you gather all the information above you can see that with addition of slightly different good bacteria cultures you can transform your old-fashion (delicious nevertheless) granny's style baking into light and airy, modern version of cake goodness.
Make sure to read Hints before baking.
Kefir Apple Cake Recipe
Yield: 16 servings
Active time: 15 minutes prep + 50-55 minutes baking
Tin: 21cm round tin with removable base (or spring form)
- 2 and 1/2 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup (200g) granulated white sugar
- 1 and 2/3 cups (400g) kefir
- 1/2 cup* (125ml) sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 apples
*cup= 250ml cup
- 50g granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line bottom of the tin with parchment paper. Lightly grease sides and apply thin layer of flour or spray with non-stick baking spray.
2. Prepare dry ingredients and fruit: Sift flour with baking powder and set aside. Peel and chop apples (1/8th slices or coarsely chopped).
3. Combine: In your main bowl beat eggs with sugar until creamy (3 minutes on high speed). In a small pot warm up kefir to anything between 21-35C (slightly less than body temperature). Mixing on low speed add kefir to egg/sugar mixture, proceed with adding oil and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients (from Step 2) and mix gently only until just combined (you can use spatula or mix with hand held mixer on low speed for 15-30 seconds, only until combined). Don’t over mix. Pour cake batter into the tin, stick in apples (gently pressing into the cake batter) and sprinkle the top with cinnamon mixed with sugar.
4. Bake at 180C for 50-55 minutes (or until skewer or chopstick is dry). Cool in baking tin for 15 minutes, run thin knife around the edges to loosen, transfer to the cooling rack. Let the cake set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
1. Warm up kefir to 21- 35C. You are decreasing risk of soggy cake bottom. On top of that the increase in temperature allows good bacteria to grow = airy texture.
2. Use eggs at room temperature to aerate the batter and avoid soggy bottom in the cake.
3. Don't place the fruit to dense as the cake won't bake through.
4. Always check with chopstick if cake is fully baked through.
Jazz things up:
1. Fruit: fresh peach, rhubarb, blackberries, blueberries all work well in this recipe.
This cake was inspired by Ostra na Slodko. You can find her blog in Polish here.