Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Revisiting Vanilla Apple Cake

I love baking new recipes and the excitement that comes as you wait for your new creation to come out of the oven but I also love revisiting recipes that have become firm favourites in my home. I have an abundance of cooking apples as you know from my previous post and whilst browsing for ideas to incorporate my apples I remembered this favourite, Vanilla Apple Cake. It’s the perfect autumnal cake, with its deliciously moist vanilla sponge and chunky apple wedges. We love to savour this rustic looking cake with hot custard or cream but it's also delish on its own to be enjoyed with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Vanilla Apple Cake

250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
250g/9oz golden caster sugar (or normal caster sugar)
4 eggs, beaten
250g/9oz self-raising flour
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds removed and reserved (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
3 small Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges (or any other type of cooking apple, if not apple of your choice)
2 tbsp Demerara sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon

Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter a 20cm/8inch springform tin, then line the base with baking paper.

Beat the caster sugar and butter together until the mixture turns pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour and vanilla seeds, then beat together quickly to make a smooth batter. Tip into the prepared tin, then lay the apple wedges on top, poking them halfway into the mix. Don’t worry if the apples appear crowded – they’ll shrink as they cook. Sprinkle with the Demerara and cinnamon, then bake for 1 hour 5 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the sponge is risen and golden.

Leave to cool for a few mins, then release the tin and cool the cake completely on a wire rack.

Today I'm adding a pic of my lovely cat Coco. Here she is in one of her favourite places to snuggle and sleep, her Willow's Cat-a-Sphere Cat Bed!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

In the UK the first day of autumn falls in September and runs through to December and it has to be said that autumn is my favourite season! Apples come into their own in autumn, with the cooking apple being one of them. I am not short of cooking apples at the moment and my family and friends have been enjoying apple crumbles, pies and cakes galore. My mother in law has an apple tree in her garden which was brimming with apples, hence why I have enough cooking apples to keep me busy in the kitchen baking up a storm! Yesterday I received a couple of new cookbooks from my recent late night browsing session on Amazon and this recipe happened to be the first I landed on, must have been fate! This cake is incredibly yummy and is wonderful served warm with custard, cream or clotted cream.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake=A slice of comfort

Apple and Cinnamon Cake
Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's Baking Bible

225g softened butter
225g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs
100g walnut pieces, chopped
100g sultanas
225g self-raising flour
2 level tsp baking powder
400g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 level tsp ground cinnamon

To Finish:
light muscovado sugar, for sprinkling
extra chopped walnuts, for sprinkling
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180oc/Fan 160oC/Gas 4. Grease and base line a 9 inch (23 cm) deep round cake tin with baking parchment.

Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, chopped walnuts, sultanas, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until thoroughly blended.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin then spread the grated apple and ground cinnamon in an even layer on top. Spread the remaining cake mixture on top, level the surface then sprinkle generously with light muscovado sugar and walnuts.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 1 ¼ - 1 ½ hours or until the cake is well risen and golden brown. Leave to cook in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

I had to share these pics of my gorgeous cat Madison whose been such a comfort to me in the recent weeks since Ollie's passing. His unconditional love for me never ceases to amaze me and his truly special! Here he is doing what he does best, being cute and posing for the camera.

"To some blind souls all cats are much alike. To a cat lover every cat from the beginning of time has been utterly and amazingly unique."

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Sweet and Simple Bakes Monthly Bake ~ St Clement's Drizzle Cake

For our monthly bake at Sweet and Simple Bakes I chose a British favourite, St Clement’s Drizzle Cake. This delectable cake recipe is quick, easy and produces a very light and moist sponge that is bursting with all those wonderful citrusy flavours soaked through, finished with a crunchy sugary top. The perfect refreshing afternoon teatime cake! Please pop over to Sweet and Simple Bakes to view more yummy entries! If you would like to be part of our monthly bakes, we would be delighted to have you join in and bake with us – everyone is welcome! Visit our site for further details about joining.

St Clement’s Drizzle Cake

175g caster sugar
175g softened butter
Grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Grated zest and juice of 1 large orange
4 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
175g self-raising flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 180oC/fan 160oC/gas 4.

Grease and line the base of 1 large (900g) or 2 small (450g) loaf tins.

Place the caster sugar, butter and zest of the lemon and orange in a bowl and beat together until pale and creamy. Add the milk, and then beat in the eggs, one at a time, with a spoon of flour to prevent the mixture from curdling. Mix in the remaining flour. Spoon into the prepared tin/tins and level the surface flat.

Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes for a large cake or 30 minutes for the smaller cakes until they are golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

While the cake is cooking, place the lemon and orange juice in a saucepan, bring to the boil and allow to reduce in quantity to about 3 tablespoons. Leave to cool, and then stir in the granulated sugar so it just starts to dissolve.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick several times with a skewer, then slowly pour the lemon and orange sugar all over the top, letting it soak into the cake. Leave to cool completely in the tin before turning out and cutting into slices to serve.