Chocolate, Orange & Whiskey Cake (vegan!) vs. “Apfel Sahne” Apples & Cream Cake

Whiskey!  Chocolate!  Orange Oil! Cayenne! Density!  Uh.  Vegan-ness!  Tiger-stripe Spikeys of Piquante Candied Orange Peel!  Incredible Moistness!   GANACHE!

The Dark beauty was made within a day of it’s sister-cake of Light, and for no more reason than there wasn’t even chocolate cake in the house… you know how that is, right?  Oh, famous chocolate depression cake, with the vinegar and the no eggs and the tender cocoa crumb that comes out perfectly every time.  I love that you are vegan.  I love that I can make you in my sleep, thereby bringing me ever closer to absolute One-ness with Cake.

Now, granted, I doctored it a bit, adding all those aforementioned flavours to the construction, and a thick layer of homemade blood orange marmalade to the centre, besides.  And it was like – because I feel like personifying gateauxs today – a world-wise poet who had learned how to keep his flask full in dry times, with an immaculate leather jacket and the wherewithal to impress anyone’s parents as long as he didn’t have to do it for a very long time.  Heh.

On the other end of the spectrum:  Angelic whorls of floffy cream with a heart of glowing autumnal amber.  I feel like apples take on a very particular quality when combined with cream.  When they mix, it’s like magic, like one particular freckled girl you crushed on forever in class, finally, wearing an opulent gossamer dress, and looking like alchemy – like a million caramel bucks.  Somehow incredibly wholesome, but also sexy, and rare (at least, I rarely see creamy apple flavoured drinks, puddings, candies, etc).

The birthday girl I made this cake for is much the same way.  Not only that, but her home country of Sweden is damned close to Germany, from whence came the most pure application of this flavour pairing I could find, in a traditional cake called an Apfel Sahne torte.

It’s simple and very light, and therein is the beauty.  A layer of genoise is split and sprinkled with rum, and between the layers is a golden bar of apple gelee made from real apples and a bit more rum.  Topped with lightly sweet whipped cream and a crunch of sugared almond slices, it’s probably the most innocent of cakes I can remember making, and tastes so full and rich in the mouth regardless (okay.. rum and cream have a bit of substance to them :P ).  Big ol’ mouthfuls of aerated puffy spice!

So these two cakes duked it out on the kitchen table.  I guess I have to say that no one got hurt.  They gave their succulent best for the good of all of us, and caused no sugar comas that I was aware of.

Sometimes, it’s good to have options.  ;)

Apfel Sahne Torte

from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

Yield: 8-10 servings

Cake Layer:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 large eggs,separated and at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark rum (for brushing layers)


  • 10-15 apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks or 1 quart unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons rum or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup water


  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 3 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Fit a 9-inch circle of waxed or parchment paper into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan. Grease and flour paper. Set aside.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

3. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with water. Add 1/3 cup of sugar and the vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until frothy and lemon colored.

4. In a separate small bowl, beat egg whites with remaining sugar until stiff but not dry. Fold into yolk mixture. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cake tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool.

5. If using fresh apples, place apple chunks into a 3-quart saucepan and cook until very soft. Mash. If using prepared applesauce, place into saucepan and warm. Add sugar, rum or vanilla extract and lemon zest. Cook until mixture mounds in a spoon.
6. Soften gelatin in cold water. Place into a pan of simmering water and stir to dissolve. Stir gelatin into applesauce. Set aside to cool. Applesauce will thicken quickly in refrigerator.

7. Combine almonds, 1 tablespoon sugar and butter in a nonstick frying pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until almonds turn a golden brown. Transfer to paper toweling to cool.
8. Soften gelatin in milk. Place in pan of simmering water and stir to dissolve. Cool.
9. Whip cream with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until it begins to thicken. Add gelatin and continue beating until soft peaks form.

10. Remove cake from pan; split horizontally into two layers. Brush each layer with 2 tablespoons rum. Transfer one layer to a cake plate. Mound applesauce on top of layer. Cover with remaining layer and pat down to evenly distribute applesauce.
11. Generously frost top and sides of cake with whipped cream. If desired reserve some cream for decorating top of cake.
12. Pat almonds around sides and sprinkle on top of cake. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

More darks and lights…
“Fido and the mainstream”, Elizabeth Ranger, 2008

Chocolate, Orange & Whiskey Cake (vegan)

Yield: Serves 8-10

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • zest of 1 orange
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cold orange juice
  • 1/4 cup whiskey
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup crystallized ginger, finely minced (optional)

Whipped Chocolate Ganache

  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)


  • 1/3 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 cup candied orange peels (optional, but fun)

Preheat oven to 355˚F (180˚C).

Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, orange zest, sugar and salt.  In a large pitcher, stir together the oil, vinegar, orange juice, whiskey and water.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until everything is combined.  Add the ginger and stir once more (being careful not to overmix).

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Leave in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Place the semisweet chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 10 minutes; use rubber spatula to stir until smooth.
Let chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Place mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until ganache holds its shape and is slightly lightened in color.  Be careful not to over-whip, as the ganache can become grainy; if this happens, simply re-melt and whip again.
To Assemble:
Shmear a bit of ganache onto a serving tray.  Carefully slice the cooled cake into two layers and place the top layer, cut side up, on the tray.  Brush off any crumbs, then spread the marmalade over the cake and top with the second layer, cut side down.  Spread the ganache over cake until everything is pretty (for a mirrored finish, dip an icing spatula into hot water until it gets warm, dry it off, and smooth the surface.  You can also hold the spatula over the flames of a gas stove, but that’s a little more hardcore and you might scorch the metal).  Finish with candied orange peels, and serve, with good black tea.

2 thoughts on “Chocolate, Orange & Whiskey Cake (vegan!) vs. “Apfel Sahne” Apples & Cream Cake

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s