The story doesn’t change much after all. You have a bunch of apples which you will surely hate if you don’t do something with them. That’s how this recipe came to be. If I had to choose a fruit as a mid-morning snack I would most definitely not go for an apple. How can that be, you might ask? I can’t give you a valid reason for that I’m afraid. (Although, come to think of it, this might be indicative of having to eat boiled apples when I was a child every time I got sick.) However give me an apple pie and I’ll devour it. Add a couple of ice cream scoops and I’ll polish it off till the last crumb. Come on, admit it, won’t you do the same?
I think I mentioned this before: apples are not necessarily my favourite fruit. Then, you say, you were living in the wrong places. And you might be right on that one! Michigan is practically apple-mad and so is the UK. For me, apples are meant to be eaten as they are, raw with the skin on if possible. I don’t like cider either, but a trip to the cider mill is always fun.
I am partial though to the apple and pastry combo. I generally don’t believe in rules when it comes to food, but I am particular about this. Apple pie is to be eaten hot with vanilla ice-cream. No custard malarkey business and for goodness sake, no cold pies please!
I am not a big fan of apples. I buy sacks of them but it takes an effort to eat them all. The fact that J doesn’t like them much either doesn’t help. However they will always be forever present in this house, just because they are good and healthy. Any extras will undoubtedly end up in pies or cakes.
I am aware that I should make the most of the wonderful juicy apples here. They grow almost everywhere in England. Although all is not as rosy as it seems. A long time ago there were approximately 1,500 varieties of apples in this country. Now there are only around 500, and we are eating a lot less than that. It seems that we are only buying what looks good on supermarket shelves, many of which are imported from other countries. Pity.
There are many recipes out there for apple cake, but I chose to try one from Nigella’s Domestic Goddess book, or a variation of it anyway. (Turns out that Nigella’s recipe is a twist on one by Anna del Conte.) The original recipe calls for walnuts, listed as an optional ingredient. The thing is though, I did have the walnuts, way above the amount stated. I took the package out of my pantry and placed it right in front of me. However, as is typical when in a rush, or when there’s no peace of mind, I totally forgot about them and ended up with a plain apple cake. Typical. It was delicious anyway but I think it did lack something and I missed them. It would have been better to have them in the cake. There’s always a next time though…
I made this apple cake during the Christmas holidays, since I wanted an easy alternative to the traditional fruity one which can be a little bit too much for two people. This one struck the right balance. (Next time I will try to use baking powder instead of the bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartare.) You will need:
- 100g sultanas
- 75ml rum
- 150ml vegetable oil
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs, large
- 350g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 450g apples, peeled and cut into small cubes
- zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon lemon oil (the original recipe doesn’t have this so don’t worry if you don’t have it.)
- (100g chopped walnuts, optional)
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC, and grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin. In a small pan with a heavy base, place the sultanas and rum on the hob. When they start bubbling away, take them off the heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl add the flavourless oil and sugar and start beating, while adding the eggs one by one. Add the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and mix with a large metal spoon. The mixture will be quite stiff here so you do need some elbow grease I’m afraid! Fold in the apples, lemon juice, lemon oil and walnuts if you are including them (you really should I think).
- Tip the cake batter into your prepared tin and bake for around 1 hour. Always check if it’s cooked through with a knife or skewer. Eat it warm and make sure to wrap it in foil to keep it moist.
Good with a cup of coffee. Enjoy!