A temporary ceasefire has been declared in the war of words about our visit to WW1 battlefields. I have three more posts left to prepare and I want to take the time and care required to make them interesting and informative. Care, I have, but time is scarce. Our garden is requiring more maintenance than I would like and, tomorrow morning, we are heading to our national capital, Canberra, for a few days.
The main purpose of this, our third visit to Canberra in the last five years, is to see an exhibition called ‘A history of the world in 100 objects from the British Museum’, which is being held at the Australian National Museum. While we are in Canberra, we plan to visit some other important national buildings, including the High Court, the National Library, the Australian War Memorial and, if we can squeeze it in, a second visit to the National Portrait Gallery. Fifteen-hour round trip, three nights, accommodation in a heritage-listed hotel and a couple of well-regarded eating establishments. Mad if we don’t, really!
But before I start packing a suitcase, here is an apple cake story for you to bite into.
Until recently, there were three apple cake recipes in our repertoire. (All of them can be found in earlier posts via links on the Index of Recipes page.) Now there is a fourth, my ‘Dutch’ apple cake.
When we spent a few days in Amsterdam in August, a modest culinary highlight was a slice of apple cake I enjoyed in one of that city’s numerous excellent cafes. As well as being delicious, it revived a long-ago palate memory and left me yearning to find a recipe with which I could attempt to reproduce the essence of these two pleasurable events.
After we came home, I did find a recipe and we gave it a whirl, but it fell short of expectations. The diagnosis? Too much cake, overwhelming the apple; and not enough spice, to complement the apple. So, modifications have been designed and implemented and my palate is VERY happy. Our recipe, which will, henceforth, be our preferred one for making an apple cake, follows.
IF you can discipline yourself to leave the cake largely intact for a day or two, it will reach peak condition on the third day, when some of the moisture from the fruit has infused the surrounding cake.
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
rounded ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
rounded¼ tsp cinnamon powder
2 apples (I use Golden Delicious), peeled, halved and cored
90g unsalted butter, softened
180g caster sugar
110ml milk, extra
20ml raw sugar or demerara sugar
- Line the base of a 20cm non-stick cake tin with baking paper.
- Preheat oven to 175C
- Combine flour, baking powder and spices in a small bowl.
- Cut apple halves into thin slices, about 3mm.
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, caster sugar and as much of the 50ml of milk as it takes to enable the creaming process. Reserve any leftover milk.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Add half of the milk (the reserved portion and the 110ml extra) and half of the flour mixture and fold in. Repeat with the balance of the milk and flour.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin. Press the slices, closely side by side, into the batter to form a ring around the central portion – 7-8cm across – of the batter (see photo below). (Tip: the slices from each half-apple should fit into one-quarter of the surface of the batter.)
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until it tests clean.
WW1 postilities will resume next week.