Spiced Apple Cake
Inherently I'm a very lazy person. So when I see a recipe for an apple cake in which I don't have to peel the apples, I'm sold. When that cake turns out to be completely delicious, I'm vidicated.
Peeling - pah!
Being left-handed has alwyas made peeling vegetables a real trial for me, but finding this 'chuck 'em all in' recipe in a Jill Dupleix book shouldn't surprise anyone. Jill is the queen of easy, hands-off cookery. Her best-known books are called Simple Food, Very Simple Food and her new one...ummm Really Very Simple Food, or something like that. Very Jill. I've written about her on many occasions before; an expat Aussie, she is now Cookery Writer at the Times in London. I recently saw her on an episode of Good Food Live doing her very blunt and laconic Aussie thing -in this case roundly telling off host Jennie Barnett for asking "a very ignorant question" when she was asked if we celebrated Easter at the same time as the rest of the world in Australia. I mean, really! I don't often bristle at shades of cultural imperialism from the UK, but I fully supported Jill's bemusement at that one!
So, I found this recipe in New Food, which I picked up 2nd hand at the uni market. I wrote about this book when I posted about fresh apple muesli. In the few months I've had it, I've made this cake about 4 times. Occasionally I've looked at the other cake recipes, but none grab me as much as this. I love the taste combination of apples with warm, wintery spices and this chunky, fruity, spicy cake is perfect for the cooler months. I tend to jack up the spices in any recipe, so feel free to add more than what is indicated! I've found it even handles the substition of wholemeal for plain flour very well, as do many heavier, rustic cakes - so with that and the apple peel, at least you know you're getting your fibre!
Each time I've made this cake it's turned out a little differently - both in taste and texture. I can't really explain it. Well, apart from one instance where (and this is absolute testimony to my laziness) I didn't have any eggs and couldn't be bothered going out to get any, so decided to just press on. Instead of eggs I decided to chop up a handful of dates and use them instead. "Yeah, that'll stick it all together. It'll be fine!" I somehow convinced myself. Evidentally I totally forgot that umm...dates are really sweet! I had soaked them in brandy before hand so yes, they acted in sticking the cake together, but only if you were looking for nougat!! The thing solidified like a brick. A cake it was not. But really tasty it was! It was kind of like a sweetmeat. Chunks of sugary, spicy preserved fruit stuff that was very easy to snack on. Sort of a cross between nougat and panforte. It was sweet enough to send my head into a spin, but wow- I loved it. Nearly ate the entire thing on my own. I like to think my laziness was vindicated again.Ahem.
And I have to tell you, the smell when baking this is divine.
Read on for the recipe:
Tagged with cake
Spiced Apple Cake
New Food - Jill Dupleix
Jill writes: "This is a big, chunky, fruity, spicy cake for a special morning or afternoon tea. I advise you to skip lunch."
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup rum or brandy
1 cup self-raising flour (wholemeal self-raising works well)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Pinch of salt
140 grams (5 ounces) butter
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 cups chopped, unpeeled apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
-Preheat oven to 180C (350F)
-Soak raisings in rum or brandy
-Sift flours, baking powder, spices and salt.
-Beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
-Add eggs one at a a time, beating after each addition
-Gradually fold in flour mixture
-Add apples, nuts and drained raisins. If mixture is very thick, add some of the rum or brandy.
-Pour into a 25cm (10 inch) pan and bake for 1.5 hours until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
-Cool and serve.