Gluten-Free Apple Cake with Brown Butter & Hazelnuts
Gluten-free apple cake gets an upgrade with vanilla bean browned butter, hazelnut flour, and brown sugar all loaded with tangy baked apples. Serve slices of this beauty with dollops of crème fraiche all season long.
Prep Time: 30minutes
Cook Time: 45minutes
Cooling Time: 1hour
3large tart baking apples, such as granny smith (1 pound / 450 g)
1-2tablespoons(15-30 ml) strained fresh lemon juice
¼cup(30 g) toasted hazelnuts, cut in half (or sliced almonds)
2tablespoons(25 g) granulated sugar
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a 10-inch oven-proof skillet, cake pan, or springform pan on the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Place the butter in a small, heavy saucepan. Add the vanilla bean and scrapings if using. Melt the butter over medium heat. Continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter turns golden and smells nutty, 3-5 more minutes. Pour the butter into a heatproof bowl to stop the cooking and let cool 5-10 minutes. When cool, remove the vanilla bean, rinse, and let dry. You can reuse the vanilla pod to make vanilla extract or vanilla sugar. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the butter for drizzling over the apples.
Peel the apples and cut them off the core in large pieces. Slice two of the apples thinly, keeping the pieces together, and drizzle with lemon juice to prevent browning. Cut the third apple into large dice, place in a small bowl, and toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.
Sift the hazelnut, sweet rice, oat, and millet flours with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Sift as well as you can – hazelnut flour is hard to sift – then add whatever flour is left in the sifter into the bowl. The goal is to remove any large clumps of hazelnut and oat flour and leavening, which all tend to be clumpy.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in 8 tablespoons of the browned butter, then the crème fraiche.
Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until smooth, then fold in the diced apples and any juices.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Place the apple slices over the cake, keeping them together, and press them about halfway into the batter. Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts. Drizzle with the reserved 1 tablespoon browned butter.
Stir together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the cake.
Bake the cake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, 35-45 minutes, rotating the cake towards the end of the baking time. Remove from the oven and let cool completely, 1-2 hours. For the cleanest cuts, chill the cake before slicing.
Use the parchment to pull the cake out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into slices and serve at room temperature with dollops of crème fraiche. Or serve slices warm with ice cream.
Store leftover cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
You can use 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (gluten-free or wheat) in place of the sweet rice, oat, and millet flours if you prefer.