I always like to do a big cake alongside all the traybakes and cookies at my Friday Pop-up Cafe. This Apple cake was in a cookbook I have had for ages but I just hadn't really looked at it before. The picture wasn't very good, so I didn't know what to expect. Well, what you can expect is a really delicious cake, that is hard to describe, but the closest I got was to say it was a cross between a hot cross bun and a cheesecake. Yep, you got to try it now, haven't you?
Recipe from Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
280g plain flour
half tsp cinnamon
quarter tsp salt
half tsp baking powder
One and a quarter tsp bicarbonate of soda
120ml olive oil
160g caster sugar
half tsp vanilla pod
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 bramley apples (I didn't have them, so used a braeburns) peeled and diced
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 egg whites
Start by greasing and lining a 20cm springform, or loose bottomed cake tin. Oven is 170˚C (150˚C fan).
Now put the sultanas in a saucepan with the water and heat up and boil until the water is absorbed into the fruit. Leave to cool.
Sift together the dry ingredients.
With an electric mixer, combine the olive oil and sugar. Add the vanilla (I use a vanilla bean paste, or you can do the slitting the bean thing!) now gradually add the whole eggs. The mix will be quite thick and emulsified. Mix in the apple, sultanas and lemon zest. Now fold in the dry ingredients (it will be quite dry at this stage).
In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peak stage and then fold into the mix in about 3 stages, trying not to bash out the air you have created.
Pour into the prepared tin and level with a knife. Place in the pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 mins (the recipe says 1 hour 30, but I found mine was cooked early, so best to check).
Cool for a while in the tin and then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. You can now cut the cake in half and apple the frosting (see below) in the middle and on top. The top of my cake was pretty domed, so I just sliced a little bit off (and used as a very important taster) before frosting.
100g butter at room temp
75g light muscovado sugar
60ml maple syrup
200g cream cheese
For the frosting I reduced the sugar and maple quantities as I was worried it was going to blow my mind with sweetness (and also because I'm not some maple syrup millionaire). So if you follow the quantities above and then have a little taste, don't feel bad if you want to slug a little more sweetness in.
Beat sugar, butter and syrup with an electric whisk, then add the cream cheese and continue to whisk until lovely and smooth.
It's now ready for lashing over the cake.