Saturday, January 23, 2016

Eplakaka (Icelandic-style Apple Pie)

Icelandic-style Apple Cake or Apple Pie
This was my first attempt. The flavors brought me back to Reykjavik.

My first encounter with Eplakaka was quite accidental. It was a rainy day in Reykjavik, much like today, and we decided to spend the day visiting museums. We wanted to get an early start so we skipped breakfast. However, halfway through our walk, we needed to dry up and took shelter at the Maritime museum. We took that opportunity to have breakfast.

My husband had his usual ham and cheese sandwich. He has been having a ham and cheese sandwich almost every day while we were in Iceland, and he wanted to be consistent. For me, I had my eye on a yummy looking cake. Since I typically have something sweet for breakfast, I knew that was the one I wanted to try. I am always up for a food adventure -- as long as it's in my doctor-approved list (health first, you know). When I asked the server what it was, she said was apple pie.

Original Apple Cake
Original Eplakaka from the Maritime Museum
Sure enough, it was delicious: apples baked in the dough, lightly topped with confectionaire's sugar and served with fluffy light whipped cream and a hint of chocolate sauce. I knew I had to recreate it when I get back home. What timing! Since I made a peach galette during the summer, I have been meaning to make an apple galette for the fall. I figured why not make an Icelandic-style apple pie, instead. I may still have apples that I froze before the trip at home.

I researched the recipe, but all I found were recipes in Icelandic. Thank goodness Google Translate made it easier. However, there were some items where the translation was a bit questionable, so I had to guess based on other recipes. One of the changes that I made was also use recipes for apple cake. Reason is that although the lady said this was an apple pie, the consistency of the crust was more like an apple cake, so I used other apple cakes for reference (mostly non-Icelandic).

Given my current preference for gluten-free treats nowadays, I used a combination of oat flour and rice flour.  I only made half of the recipe since we were watching our sugar intake, but you can easily double it. I found that this is size is perfect for me and my husband and the cat. 

Here's what I have so far... let me know what you think.

Gluten-Free Eplakaka (Icelandic-style Apple Pie)
Serves 4

  • 1 cup of gluten-free flour (I used 1/2 cup of rice flour and 1/2 cup of oat flour)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 apples (medium size), sliced (about a cup and a half)
  • 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • Yogurt (Greek or Icelandic) (optional for serving)

  1. Butter or grease a loaf pan.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg, salt
  4. Cream butter and sugar.
  5. Add eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture. Continue mixing until combined.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture.
  7. Scrape the mix in to the pan.
  8. Add apples and raisins on top of the batter
  9. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool and serve with whipped cream or Greek (or better yet, Icelandic) yogurt


This recipe came very close to what I had in Reykjavik. The first time I made this, I used apples that I froze before the trip. I thought it was fortunate and quite appropriate to use those the frozen apples since they also survived the trip to Iceland (It was also one of my first freezing tests, and it was successful).

The first time I made this I put the apples on top instead of mixing it in the batter. I think I found a recipe that said the apples would sink in the batter in the baking process, so I thought I would use that technique. Unfortunately (or fortunately), only some of them sunk and the others baked on top. As a result, it actually gave it the apples that galette/tart consistency. I like it.

Icelandic style apple pie
Added some dough on top of the crust: pie like?
I've also experimented in presentation and used some of the dough and putting it on top (much like a pie crust or coffee cake). This ended up with the same look as the cake I had in Reykjavik. I like this method too... it just depends on my mood.

In doing my research, I was also surprised that Icelanders use a lower temperature to bake. Not sure why, but I find that increasing the temp here in California a bit makes it cook better. Any ideas why?

Lastly, I did not make the vanilla sauce since the cake that I had in Reykjavik came with whipped cream (and I was and still am watching my sugar and fat intake as it is). However, if you want to make it, the recipe is below. The full recipe is below, so you can put as much vanilla sauce as you want.

Hot Vanilla Sauce (full recipe)
Serves 8

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup of cream (125 ml)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (100 g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  1. Make vanilla sauce by putting the butter, cream and sugar together in a saucepan and stir constantly until the sugar has melted. 
  2. Let them simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla. 

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