This cake is more of a dessert than a cake, strictly speaking, and is so completely and utterly divine and moreish, that you could easily overdose. So be warned!
On our trip around the Blackmore Vale, we picked up a bag of mixed apples. In it were the most gorgeous Russets, but also another apple - which I've since been told is a Blenheim Orange - that is rather like a Cox, but with a lighter flesh that is almost foamy. They both taste like garden apples should, that immediate floral note swiftly followed by the sharpness that is then taken down by the sweetness. The difference between these and supermarket apples is quite ridiculously marked.
So they've sat there, while we munch our way through the gorgeous Russets - our favourite apples - while I've been deciding what to do with them.
Somewhere in the fevered far reaches of my brain, a plan had started to form as regards an apple cake. Built along the lines of a muffin mix (i.e. using vegetable oil instead of butter) and supported by ground almonds for texture and weight, plus cinnamon because well, cinnamon always goes well with apple and just in case the cooking chases all the flavour from these apples.
I was in two minds as to whether to grate the apples, or cube them. I even contemplated grating and cubing, but was glad I settled for cubes. The foamy texture of the apple flesh would have simply disintegrated had it have been grated. As small cubes, it transformed into semi-dried apple which lent a lovely chewiness to the mix.
|Just out of the oven|
This is the kind of cake that just demands - because of its sweetness - to be served with, ideally, a blob of creme fraiche. Purely by coincidence, I happened to have a tub of creme fraiche d'Isigny in the fridge, which was absolutely perfect. I really don't think that cream would have gone as well. To my mind, you need the slight sharpness of the creme fraiche as light relief from the sweetness.
As a dessert, or for a High Tea, or as part of an Afternoon Tea arrangement, I don't think you could beat this cake. It is as easy to make as muffins are - with no requirement for blenders, mixers or food processors. Just a whopping great big bowl and a spoon. Can't say fairer than that!
The mixture uses the American cup as a measure. If you don't have a cup measure, pick a small mug, or a tea cup, and use that. So long as you use the same cup all the way through, you'll be fine.
Oh and by the way - could I be a bit cheeky and ask you, if you have a blogroll on your blog, to include Rhubarb & Ginger (if you like it, anyway!). If you leave me a message to say you have, I'll reciprocate in kind and include you in my blogroll. Thanks!
CINNAMON APPLE CAKE (serves 9-12 depending on slice size)
3 cups of diced apples, cored and skinned
1½ cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp salt
1 rounded tsp baking powder
2-3 tbsp milk, if necessary.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180deg (fan)/350degF/Gas Mark 4.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients.
4. Pour the wet into the dry, and stir to combine. If you find the mix is terribly dry, add 2-3 tbsp milk until the mix is moving freely again.
5. Grease a non-stick 8" spring form tin and pour in the cake batter.
6. Flatten the top, then place in the oven for 1 hour. Take a look at it after 50 minutes and lay a piece of silver foil over the top, if it is very brown.
7. A skewer will come out clean when the cake is done. Immediately remove the ring of the spring form, then leave the cake for 10-15 minutes before detaching it from the base.
8. Leave to cool - and it takes quite a while to cool, so this is best made in the morning if you're planning on eating it in the afternoon/evening.