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Mom’s "Tupp" Apple Cardamom Cake

Apple Cardamom  Cake

Let’s talk winning tickets, shall we? First, my dear human random number generator, B., picked Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny to receive Nicole’s The Baking Bites Cookbook. Congrats! Send me a quick email and I’ll pass the info along. Now on to this cake…

I know I am going to jinx it. I just know it. Maybe if I whisper it very softly: It finally feels like Fall around here. Mostly in the wee hours of the morning when I can finally feel a chill in the air and a dry breeze through the marsh. Actually, not having a free day on the schedule until April means that the season has indeed changed. Drastic times call for drastic measures and I often turn the comfort of my mom’s apple cake during the Fall and holiday season. The one cake that earned her the affectionate name of Maman Tupp and the one we know as "Gateau Aux Pommes Tupp".

Apple Cake

I am pretty sure that most French people reading are familiar with the "Gateau aux Pommes 5-4-3-2-1" that the brand Tupperware® introduced during home demonstrations of their products. A very simple, very unassuming and particularly delicious appple cake, soft and moist all the way through. It was especially known for its creamy butter and sugar topping forming a tempting thin crust while baking. For years, I thought that was my favorite part of the cake. Now I know. Two slices with some creme fraiche is my favorite part!

When you are 5 or 6, saying that you would like the "Gateau 5-4-3-2-1" for "gouter" (4pm snack) is not only long but it does sound silly. However, it made it very easy to start baking with mom at an early age since the recipe went something like "5 spoons of flour, 4 spoons of sugar, 3 spoons of milk"…and so on. One bowl, one spoon, dry before wet, one apple, whip it all and bake.

Apple Cardamom Cakes

We made it so often in my family that it became much easier for everyone to call it the "Gateau Aux Pommes Tupp" (Tupp Apple Cake) and over the years to make it even shorter with a simple "Gateau Tupp". See, it works so much better to beg mom for it this way. This simple gateau became the one we would gather around during tea time on a cold and rainy day, the one that made any bad school day be forgotten in a few whisks of sugar. It solved a few arguments and mended broken hearts too.

Yes, my mom was a Tupperware┬« lady back in the 80s. She never played the sales game, but she loved to host parties for friends getting in the biz. That was her thing, the hosting. And the baking, the cooking, and passing around trays of items made with the brand’s products. Let’s face it mom, you also loved getting new stuff for the kitchen. To this day she is still very well stocked in containers, molds and measuring instruments of all sorts from the big T company.


It was very fortunate that my parents in law dropped off a basket full of apples from a recent visit to an orchard in North Carolina and I made a big dent in it baking a few of these cakes. In the end, the cakes are nothing like the original recipe. I made ours a tad less sweet and gluten free which is perfect here to keep the cakes moist, thus not following the original "5-4-3-2-1" formula. Then, there was the matter of the spoon measure called for in the original version. I don’t own such an instrument but I figured that since the company was American, a large spoon such as the one mom used had to be close to 1/4 cup. Yes, in this cake, precision to the gram has very little importance and that’s just what I need when swamped.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my daily slice…Or mini cake.

Apple Cake

Mom’s Tupp Apple Cake:

Notes: if you do not intend to make a gluten free cake, replace all the gluten free flours (rice, tapioca, sorghum) with 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour.
The cake bakes in two separate times: first for 10 minutes, the remove it from the oven to add the cream topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
I added cardamom just because it reminds me even more of my mom but you can skip that part or add cinnamon instead.

For the cake:
1/2 cup (80gr) sweet brown rice flour
1/4 cup (30gr) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (65gr) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon (5gr) baking powder
3/4 cup (190ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80ml) oil
1 egg
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I like Granny Smith but any kind will do here)

For the topping:
5 1/2 tablespoons(80gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or butter the inside of a 9-inch round baking pan or several 3 to 4-inch baking pans if you want smaller cakes. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and baking powder. Reserve. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and egg until just blended.
Slowly pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, whisking well to make sure that everything is well incorporated, about 40 to 50 strokes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and arrange the apple slices on top in a circular pattern.

Prepare the topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Reserve

Bake the cake(s) in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the cake(s) from the oven and spread the creamy butter topping over the top(s). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean.

Spiced Quince Crumbles

Quince Crumble

If you were to come visit South Carolina right now, you’d be hard pressed to find any sign that it is indeed Fall. For us, an extra packed schedule and an ever growing temptation for candy corn let us know tis the season. The leaves are still green, the sun is still out and the heat and humidity are still very much present. So what is a gal to do when she is season deprived? Get in the kitchen and bake something Fall-ish like these Spiced Quince Crumbles while listening to comforting favorites.

Nothing screams Fall louder to me than the smell of quince simmering on the stove with a handful of my favorite spices. My mom used to make quince jelly every year and the process usually took a couple of days between the peeling, slicing, slow cooking, straining and canning. Every year, I looked forward to these days like a famished wolf. There would be jelly sweet as honey for our morning toasts and quince compote left over from the straining for our after school tartine.

Quinces are no locally grown here so they tend to be pricey and since we are watching our budget, they are more of an occasional luxury, and I treat them as such. Nothing gets wasted not even the seeds. Once peeled I use the skin to flavor tagines and oriental stews. The seeds are very high in pectin so I wrap them in cheesecloth and use them for pate de fruits or other jams. The soft flesh is most often stewed until tender and parked in the refrigerator for tarts or crumbles just like this one.

Spiced Poached Quince

I love that I can find them around here as soon as October rolls around even though no one at the store really knows what they are and how to prepare them. If you live in my town and they was a lady holding up the cashier’s line for a code check, might have been me and my two quinces!

There are no good words to explain quinces properly. They are a bit of this and a bit of that but also neither this nor that. Whatever you do with them, just do not eat them raw. You can always check Google and Wikipedia or trust me that they are too good not to bake with.

We’ve had a pretty packed weekend of photographing weddings and my brain is getting fried by the minute planning a job this week, working with this amazing photographer (I style, he shoots). So when we plopped on the couch last night and put our feet up with a couple of these crumbles, all seemed right and quiet with the world. At least during those ten minutes of eating them…

Quince Crumble

These gluten free crumbles start with softly poached quinces in plenty of spices reminiscent of Fall like cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves. Here I used a mix of flours for the topping with some chopped hazelnuts, but you could substitute the same amount in all purpose flour if you wish.

Fall is here. At least through cooking and baking!

Quince Crumble

Spiced Quince Crumbles:

Serves 4

For the poached quinces:
2 quinces, peeled, cored and quartered
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
5 cloves
1/4 cup (50gr) sugar
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 lemon

For the crumble:
1/4 cup (40gr) brown rice flour
1/4 cup (40gr) sorghum flour
1/4 cup (30gr) tapioca flour
OR 3/4 cup (95gr) all purpose flour instead if not baking gluten free
3 tablespoons (15gr)finely chopped hazelnuts
1/4 cup (55gr) packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream

Prepare the quinces:
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the quinces. Bring the content of the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, place a lid halfway over the pot and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the quinces are soft when you poke a knife through them. Remove the fruit from the liquid with a slotted spoon and let cool to room temperature. Thinly slice the quince and reserve.

Butter the inside of four 1 cup capacity ramekins or small dishes and set them on a baking tray. Preheat the oven to 350F and position a rack in the center.

Prepare the crumble:
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with your fingertips or a fork until the mixture resembles large beads.

Divide the quince slices evenly among your prepared dishes and sprinkle the crumble as evenly on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

You might have leftover crumble mixture, you can either bake it separately and crumble it up over ice cream later or freeze it for up to three months for a quick crumble later.