Apple Sharlotka

A fancy apple pancake topped with sparkly pomegranate gems. # 235: Apple Sharlotka

I feel like apple cakes get the short end of the stick during the run-up to Thanksgiving. Everyone wants to talk about how delicious pies are (rightly so), but we should have a day reserved for the warm and comforting genre of apple cakes. Tart apples can hold their own under a pile of spices, or simply stand out as the main event in a simple vanilla-flavored batter. Plus, they give the cake a lush texture! They lend so much moisture to the surrounding batter that it seems impossible to have a dry, crumbly apple cake.

You have to be really determined to de-seed a giant pomegranate. They truly are the Fort Knox of fruit. If you get a ripe one though, it’s so worth all the effort and stained cutting boards. I mean, look at them sparkle!

I tried watching all those “how to de-seed a pomegranate in under 10 seconds” videos, but it still took me over 5 minutes and managed to fling seeds 10 feet away. Let me know if you have any helpful tips, since I know I’m gonna cave and buy another one the next time I’m at the store. It feels like an edible geode and I can’t resist.

There’s a lot of variation in the origin story for this simple cake (a French chef’s invention in honor of a Russian Tsar seems to be the most common.) Whatever it’s exact story is, sharlotka seems most famous for only having five ingredients. Flour, sugar (I mixed white and brown sugar and threw some cinnamon in too – shhh), eggs, vanilla and apples. LOTS of apples.

Eek naked apples! I landed on Smitten Kitchen’s recipe, which seems to have a much higher ratio of apples to batter. It’s honestly just a little bit of batter holding together a mountain of thinly sliced apples.


Unless you are an apple slicing master, you’re gonna want a bowl of water with some lemon juice to keep your sliced apples from oxidizing while you finish up the rest of the pile. And all those apple skins are now waiting for smoothie glory in the freezer!

Yup, that is parchment paper you see in there. Who am I?? I’m still too lazy to butter and flour my pans, but hey if some parchment paper will keep my apples from ripping out of my cake, I’m all here for it.

I tried to get all technical and cut the batter recipe by 2/3 since I was using less apples than she called for and a slightly smaller pan. Jokes on me though – I ended up having to add the remaining third of the batter to make sure all the apples were submerged.

No apple left behind!

All about those caramelized edges * chef’s kiss *

It felt a little crazy to cover that lovely golden top . . . good thing pomegranate seeds make great hats!

The recipe says it can be served at any temperature, but I gotta say, a warm slice was just magical.

Happy munching!

Recipe mostly from:

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