Thursday, 22 November 2012

Apple, Cider and Spice Cake

There is a high end supermarket in England called Waitrose and my dad used to collect their free recipe cards whenever he shopped there and send them to me. Despite the fact I often couldn't find the ingredients they stated as some of them were particularly British, I loved getting them and trying them out with what I could find. My all time favourite was this apple cake, no-where near as good as my mum's, but a fail safe, quick bake when we need something sweet.

I have played with the recipe a bit and substituted oil for the butter and reduced the amount of sugar. I never use the whole amount of sugar called for in cakes and the oil is just because I didn't have any butter. I'll include the real ingredients in brackets and then you can decide. If you don't have self raising flour here's a quick chart to help you make your own no matter what you're baking.

For every cup (8oz) of plain flour, use;
1 level tbsp baking powder for scones (or similar type of baking)
2 level tsp baking powder for a plain cake mixture
1 level tsp for a rich fruit cake mixture


Apple, Cider and Spice Cake adapted from Waitrose

1/4 cup cider
1/4 cup vegetable oil ( or 1/4 cup butter)
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar ( or 3/4 cup dark muscovado sugar)
2 eggs (beaten)
1 cup self-raising flour, sifted
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 medium sized Braeburn (or similar) apples
3 tbsp apricot jam

Preheat your oven to 325F (170C).
Grease and line an 8" round cake tin with baking parchment. Peel, core and chop two of the apples into 1/4" cubes. Cook over a low heat with the cider until slightly soft and the cider has been absorbed.

Blend the oil and sugar, then add the eggs and mix well. Fold in the flour, mixed spice, cinnamon and softened apples.

Put the mixture in the prepared tin. Peel core and thinly slice the remaining apple and arrange in a spiral over the top of the cake.

Bake for approximately 1 hour. If the apples brown too quickly, cover the tin loosely with foil and continue to cook until a skewer, inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool in the tin for fifteen minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. When the cake has cooled brush the whole cake with hot apricot jam.

Using a good cider really makes this cake more than just another apple cake and by cider, my North American friends, I mean the alcoholic kind, not the fresh pressed from the farm kind. However, I don't always have cider to hand when I feel like making this and often sub in apple juice and at a pinch have also just used a splash of water to cook the apples. It's still a good cake without the cider, but better with. I also don't always glaze the cake with the jam as apricot jam is not a staple in our home, so that's optional too. Again, better with, but I would rather eat cake than not because I don't have the ingredients to hand.

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