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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Summer Break - A Spiced Apple Cake

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."               -  George Bernard Shaw

Are you ready for summer? It sounds funny, asking this question - now - when you live in a city like Dubai! Where summer is just kicking in, the world over, over here it seems we have been living in summer for ages. Dubai is super hot now, or has it always been?

Who doesn't like summer? Remember back when we were kids in school? Summer was the time when we were off school, no homework, we stay up late, we go out every day of the week, we watch TV whenever we liked, we are outdoors most of the time...  Ever since I graduated from school, I never thought I would be as excited about all these very things. I thought student life was a thing of the past, and that summer to me would become like any other season. But here is the thing about having very young children in school. You end up doing homework again, they still can't do it on their own, and are of course not too bothered with it. They are indifferent until you insist they must! You end up sleeping early during school days! Someone has to take them to school early in the morning. During school days, there is activities, play dates, birthdays, drop offs, pick ups, projects and all sorts of things that will have you driving around all day, that when they are off to sleep, you just want to tuck in! It goes on and on. So Yeay! It is summer break! (Saying it like a school child, jumping up and down lol)

How to make Apple Wafers

Like Dubai Summer that seems to last all year long, this cake recipe here is one that has flare regardless the season you serve it in. I like to call it: The All Year Round Spiced Apple Cake. All year round, you will find good apples to munch on. The snowy effect of dusting the cake with icing sugar, makes it ideal for winter and the festive season. The use of spices and their aromas evoke an autumn feel. The Apple Wafers like autumn's leaves falling. Then the green apples add a tone of spring, from their colour to their fresh flavours. And the caramel brown colour, like beach bodies tanned by continuous exposure to the sun is very summer to me. This is a cake I make very often, and one that everyone loves. It is delicious.

The way you serve a cake can make a huge difference to the over all eating experience. The same cake can produce, massively different results according to how its served, and which accompaniments you go for. This cake is, in that sense, very universal. It is a perfect coffee cake, as it's sweetness contrasts the bitterness in coffee. It goes very well with flavoured teas as well making it a perfect afternoon treat. You can also serve the cake with thickened cream or a brown sugar cream as cream, cinnamon and apples are the reason why threesome is a word. The extra moistness from the cream - not that this cake needs it, it is super moist - makes it become more like a pudding in experience. But my favourite ever way to serve this cake is along side a Fruit Salad! Yes you hear right, along side a Fruit Salad. You cannot believe how this cakes marries a fruit salad. The flavours just compliment each other and bring out all the goodness in each bite.
So I would usually make a bowl of fruit salad, and this cake. Then when I slice the cake, I place it in the plate and top it with a large scoop of fruit Salad and dress it with its juices. Ah! Heavenly! You have to give it a try, you will love it. Besides it is very different to the traditional approach to cakes, and fruit salads for that matter. Use any available seasonal fruits for making the salad and go for this option for your next dessert menu. The whole thing is light, flavoursome, fresh, will never leave you feeling overly full, and you will most certainly reach out for seconds.

One of he things I love about this cake is its look. This is not one of those straight perfect looking cakes. It looks more like a home-made country style cake. In terms of texture it is super moist, due to the use of Muscavado Sugar, which is moister than other sugars. You get an occasional crunch from pieces of apples that did not overly cook to a mush, but some bursts of juiciness from those that did cook to softness. The spices are optional, you can go for one, or more, you can even add some ginger and cloves when you make it during the festive season. These spices, give depth to the flavours, and make it all the more aromatic, so all your neighbours will know you are baking lol. Teamed up with the fruit salad is just layers upon layers of flavour and texture.

Make this cake for your friends and family during these summer reunions, and add goodness to the whole get together. What better than good food to freshen up a reunion ;) 

All Year Round Spiced Apple Cake

You Need
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups firmly packed Muscavado Sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup oil (any tasteless cooking oil)
3 cups green apples, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp vanilla
fine zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground star anis (optional for a spiced flavour)
a pinch of allspice (optional for a spiced flavour)
a pinch of salt
1 cup roughly chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
Apple Wafers for garnish and to serve on the side

Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour your baking pan, I prefer to use tube pan for this cake for the very home-made feel, but you can use any pan you like. 

In the bowl of your stand mixer beat together the eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together all the rest of the ingredients except the apples and pecans. 
After the 2 minutes are over, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in the stand mixer's bowl and beat on low speed until all the ingredients are combined. 

The mixture will look like there is too much apples in it. That is ok,
these apples will soften and shrink while baking, adding flavour and moisture to the cake.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer, and fold in the apples and pecans. The mixture will hold together and may appear as though having too much apples. That is what we are after, as these apples will soften and shrink during baking, lending their juices to the cooking batter around them, making it all the more moist and flavoursome. Transfer the batter into the prepared baking pan, and distribute as evenly as possible.

The Muscavado Sugar gives this cake a caramel colour and hints of caramel and molasses flavours. Combined with the apple and spices..... Oh My!

Bake the cake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, or until a tooth pick comes out clean when inserted near the centre. Remove from the oven, and place on a wire rack to cool completely. You must allow this cake to cool, or it will fall apart if you attempt to flip it while still hot. Once cooled, slide a knife around the edges to loosen the cake, flip over to a serving plate, sprinkle with icing sugar and place 12 the apple wafers along the top, one wafer for each slice, and serve with extra wafers on the side for those who wish to have more. You can also serve with some thickened cream or my way: with fruit salad on the side.

Store this cake in the fridge, covered for up to 4 days. That is if it lasts this long lol

You are now ready for summer, have a fabulous time whatever you do. Yeay! It's Summer Break!
I hope you like this post, let me know how you like this cake once you make it :) & Do leave me a comment before you go, you know how much I like to hear from you ;)

Always Love & Be Peaceful ...