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Published January 16th, 2013
Andy's "Quarky" Apple Cake
By Susie Iventosch
Photo Susie Iventosch

As it turns out, our publisher, Andy Scheck, is quite a fantastic cook. He has taken to making his mom Anneliese's recipes, which come directly from their native Germany.
"Sometimes Andy makes apple cake for our staff meetings-served warm with fresh whipped cream if we've been really good," said Lamorinda Weekly editor Lee Borrowman. "The smell of warm apples and vanilla as you walk through the front door is simply heavenly!"
This cake is a favorite of the Lamorinda editorial team and is made with a somewhat unusual type of soft German cheese called "quark." This is a fresh, un-aged cheese, and is really more characteristic of yogurt or sour cream than the types of cheese we think of here in the U.S. According to Scheck it is not that easy to find here in the states, however I had a very easy time of it, since Andy pointed me in the direction of Whole Foods, which carries it regularly in the dairy department!
In Germany, quark is often used in combination with fruit and the resulting dessert is called Fruchtequark (fruit quark), but is also used in dips and cheesecakes, or mixed with potatoes as filling for peirogi (or dumplings) in Poland. This cheese has a plethora of names, different in every country, from twarog in Poland to topfen in Austria and Gvina Levana in Israel.
Scheck's cake is a three-part cake with a pastry crust, a layer of freshly sliced apples, and a quark-custard filling, served with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. The recipe calls for Pink Lady or Jonathan apples, and I could not find either in the market, so I used four different apples- Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonagold and Gala. This was fun, arranging these slices so each piece had some of each! Andy uses Dr. Oetker's Organics vanilla pudding mix, also available at Whole Foods, but I used Jell-O brand, which did not work as well.
One mistake I made was to pat the crust just on the bottom of the spring form pan. Scheck says it should be not only on the bottom, but also pressed partway up the sides as well. My crust was a little bit too dry to form into a ball, and Scheck says that when he has that problem, he just cuts in a little bit more butter until the dough can be formed into a ball. We served it warm, but it can also be refrigerated and served chilled. Have it your way!

Apple Cake

Cake Crust
2 cups pastry flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
(you may need an extra half stick of butter)
1 egg
3-4 Jonathan or Pink Lady apples, peeled, cored and sliced into
thin wedges
2 eggs, separated
16 ounces Quark (available at Whole Foods)
2 (4-ounce each) vanilla pudding packets,
-the cook and serve
variety, not instant
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk

Cake Crust
Place flour in a large bowl with sugar and salt. Cut butter into flour using a pastry cutter or finger tips until crumbly. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and place egg. Mix egg into dough with fork or hands until it forms a dough and then roll into a ball. Cover it and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
Grease a spring form pan, and pat the dough out on the bottom and sides of pan to form a thin crust.
Arrange apple wedges over crust and set aside until filling is ready.
Separate egg yolks and egg whites and place into two different bowls. Using electric beaters, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside. Next, beat egg yolks with sugar and add quark, pudding mix, sugar and milk. Stir well. Carefully fold in egg whites. Pour batter over apples.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until filling is set and cake edges are just beginning to brown. Cover cake with foil and continue to bake if the filling is not quite done, once the top is browned. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream on each slice.

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