Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Apple Cake

It was a public holiday, time for a picnic. Other people were bringing soup, a savoury tart, a chicken, some wine. I was asked to make dessert. With a house full of apples, the only difficulty was choosing which apple cake to make!

This is our current favourite. The secret ingredient is walnut oil; it makes the cake beautifully fragrant. But if you're feeling thrifty, the cake is still lovely made with vegetable oil instead.

Lately I've been fooling around with palm sugar. With its light floral scent floating above rich toffee flavours, it tastes absolutely wonderful. I thought it would go beautifully with the apples and walnut oil, and it did. But I must admit I had an ulterior motive: I was hoping a particular friend would come to the picnic – and I thought I could tempt her with a slice of cake if only I could say 'it's low GI'! Palm sugar has a GI of 35.

Apple Cake

- 6 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 cm dice
- 1 cup sugar (plain or palm)
- 2/3 cup walnut oil (or vegetable oil, or a combination)
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp baking soda
- pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 175C/350F. Grease a large cake tin; I use a 24cm spring form pan.

Combine the apples and sugar in a large bowl and leave to macerate for half an hour – or, if you're short of time, you can zap them in the microwave for 5 minutes, then leave for another 5 minutes to cool down.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt into a bowl.

Whisk the oil and the eggs in a separate bowl until they are light and creamy. Scrape into the apples and combine, then fold in the dry ingredients. This very stiff batter has snapped at least one of my spatulas, so take my advice and use a sturdy wooden spoon!

Scrape the batter into the cake tin and bake until lightly browned, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. This will take between 45 minutes and an hour depending on your oven – start testing at 45.

This cake is superb with a dollop of thick cream.

Adapted from The Ultimate Cook Book: 900 New Recipes, Thousands of Ideas by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarborough.

(Local: apples, walnut oil, flour, eggs. Not local: baking powder, baking soda, salt, veggie oil. Also not local, but at least it's fair trade: sugar, cinnamon.)

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