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Posted by on Feb 25, 2011 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Because sometimes one just has to bake a cake.

Because sometimes one just has to bake a cake.


I have an unusual relationship with cake. I like soft desert style cakes like cheese cake or lemon meringue but am not a huge fan of dry cakes.
On Monday I felt the need to bake a cake. It was my stepdad’s birthday and I decided to try a cake which was based on a one his mother used to bake for him, an apple cake – Tante Bertie’s Apfel Kuchen Sehr Fein. It was delicious… all the usual non cake eaters in the family liked it. I used my Italian vanilla sponge cake recipe (a total winner) and topped it with apple slices I had poached in rosé, chai spices and sugar. I glazed it with a reduction of the syrup I had poached the apples in and served it with vanilla ice cream… yum!
So yesterday I was responsible for the dessert at a friend’s dinner party. My mom had forgotten a bag of plums in the fridge from when she was here earlier this week, so I thought I may as well use them. They were those little prune plums which are sweet and firm. I decided to try something similar to the apple cake but kept the prunes fresh and didn’t poach them. I added ground almonds to the sponge and glazed it with apricot jam… it was nice, not as nice as Mondays cake, but still nice.
So what lesson do I take from this… fruit (and most people) are much improved when poached in wine and aromatic spices.

Apple Cake
For the poached apples
1kg of apples, peeled, quartered and cored (I used green apples)
1 cup of rosé wine (you can use white wine too)
½ a cup of sugar (I used Demerara sugar)
½ tsp of chai spice (you can also you cinnamon, mixed spice or all spice)

For the cake dough
125g of butter, just melted but not oily
¾ of a cup of castor sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
A squeeze of lemon juice
¾ of a cup of cake flour
1 Tbsp of corn flour
1 tsp of baking powder
½ a cup of slivered almonds lightly toasted (optional)

In a pot on the stove combine the wine, sugar and spices. Let this simmer until the alcohol has cooked off. You can tell this from when the sharp alcohol smell has subsided. Add the peeled apple and poach this until the apples have cooked through. Remove the apples until ready for use. Continue simmering the wine until it becomes slightly syrupy. Take off the heat and reserve until ready for use.
Pre heat the oven to 180˚C and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Whisk the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon. Gradually sift in the flour, corn flour and baking powder.
Butter a 25cm spring form cake tin. Pour the mixture into the tin, place the apple slices carefully along the outer edge of the tin and work in circles inwards. Bake until golden and springy for about 20 – 25 minutes.
Brush the hot cake with the wine glaze and sprinkle with toasted almonds if using. Allow to cool before unmolding the cake.
Serve with soft whipped cream or ice cream.

Plum and Almond Cake
500g of firm prune plums, halved and de-pipped
125g of butter, just melted but not oily
¾ of a cup of castor sugar
2 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
A squeeze of lemon juice
¾ of a cup of cake flour
½ a cup of ground almonds
1 Tbsp of corn flour
1 tsp of baking powder
2 Tbsp of smooth apricot jam, melted

Pre heat the oven to 180˚C and place the rack in the middle of the oven.
Whisk the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon. Gradually sift in the flour, corn flour and baking powder. Add the ground almonds.
Butter a 25cm spring form cake tin. Pour the mixture into the tin, place the plums carefully along the outer edge of the tin and work in circles inwards. Bake until golden and springy for about 20 – 25 minutes.
Brush the hot cake with the melted apricot jam and allow to cool before unmolding the cake.
Serve with soft whipped cream or ice cream.

1 Comment

  1. The apple cake is the perfect balance between moist and dry, sweet and other flavours, and this even without the iceream. well done!

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