I do envy all those of you who are experiencing Fall right now. The colours of the leaves, the crispness in the air and the general cosiness that the season evokes, be it the clothes, the food or just the general, toasty vibe.
You could argue that the Winter is anyway pleasantly mild in my part of the World but with the way the weather is these days, Winter or whatever we pass off as Winter is still a while away. So, I did the only sensible thing one does when you can't get what you want. You bake a cake, of course! And this one has the flavours of Fall!!
It's an apple cake with a supporting cast of oranges, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts that once baked is then glazed with a brandy syrup. Much like other cakes on this blog, this one too, is not much of a looker but don't be hasty in judging it.
It's a dense, moist cake that is crammed with flavour. The star pairing is that of apple and cinnamon with the undertone of citrus giving it some freshness. The toasted walnuts and raisins provide the tiny pockets of texture and taste that are always welcome. If anything, the flavours are slightly reminiscent of a Christmas cake.
Over the course of the baking, the apples stew in their own juices with the sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on top and will remind of you of everyone's favourite Apple Pie. The brandy syrup keeps the apples and the cake below moist.
A warm cake does not need any embellishments I believe, but if you'd like, you can pair it with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice-cream or even some vanilla custard, depending on how the weather is in your part of the World.
Now, if only the weather would oblige....Have a lovely week ahead!!
Source : 'Joy of Baking', minimally adapted.
Makes a 8-inch round cake**
Makes a 8-inch round cake**
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2-3 large apples, peeled and cored
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups flour (maida)
- 3/4 cup demerara sugar (you can use regular white sugar instead)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar + 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for sprinkling
- 75 mls brandy/orange juice + 3 tablespoons brown sugar, for the syrup
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C. Butter and flour one - 8 inch (20 cm) baking pan.
- Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack and then coarsely chop.
- Peel, core, and slice the apples. You could also chop them instead into bite sized pieces, if you prefer. Toss with 1 - 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- In the bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Add the melted butter, eggs, vanilla extract, and milk and beat with a hand mixer until fully incorporated. Fold in the chopped nuts and raisins.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top. Arrange the slices of apple on top of the batter**.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 35 - 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- While the cake is still warm, prepare the brandy syrup.
- Gently heat the brandy and sugar in a saucepan until almost hot and the sugar is dissolved. Spoon the sauce over the cake and leave until cold.
- Serve warm with some a dollop of vanilla ice-cream or fresh cream, if you prefer. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Reheat before serving.
- To make a smaller cake, use a 6-inch cake mould and halve all the ingredients.
- Instead of arranging the slices of apple on top of the cake, you could simple cut and cube the apple pieces and add them to the batter.