Recipe source: Dunaújvárosi Hírlap Online
Every year the Hungarian Confectioner Craftsmen Corporation invited entries to win the 'Cake of Hungary Award’. The public can taste the first slices from the winner cake(s) in Budapest and at the confectioneries during the celebration of the 20th of August when St. Stephen founded the Hungarian State. A trend can be observed through the history of this Award, that the pastry chefs and creative minds try to use Hungarian ingredients from specific areas of the country, where they are traditionally produced or re-think traditional Hungarian desserts.
Zsolt Pintér won the Award with this Szabolcsi Apple & Poppyseed Cake in 2012.
You can find 'Szabolcsi' in the name of it because Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county is famous for its apple orchards where farmers grow specific cultivars of apples. According to the original recipe, we should use 'Jonathan' or 'Idared' apples, but of course, if you have no chance to buy some (like me this time), just use any kind of apples which is good for cooking and baking. I've chosen 'Cox' apples, here in the UK since it's an old British cultivar.
Apple and poppy seed are very common ingredients in the Hungarian kitchen, and with the vanilla cream, it turns into a well-balanced dessert.
The whole cake is gluten-free if you use gluten-free sweet crumbs for the crust. The sponge layers have a light, airy texture since they are mainly just a mixture of poppy seed and egg white foam. The apple filling is sweet and fresh because of the lemon juice and cinnamon with a not too soft a texture. I love the chilled vanilla cream with poppy seed, it reminds me of our traditional dessert, the Poppyseed bread pudding which we usually eat hot. I had to use some stabilizer for the vanilla cream because for some reason it was not as firm as I expected... but if it happens, just no panic, there is a good solution for almost every problem in the kitchen!