February 7th, 2009


Spiced Apple and Olive Oil Cake

This Spiced Apple and Olive Oil cake is a tribute to an Egyptian chef who used to work with me. Using olive oil instead of butter makes this cake interesting. Expect a dense cake packed with character, flavour and fruitiness but fewer calories. As the cake is fairly dense I like to serve if warm. My preference is to make this cake in a shallow cake tin, expect the mixture to have a batter consistency.

English apples have a special place in our cooking repertoire, as all the different varieties have their own flavour and react differently when cooked. I like to use English Cox’s for this spiced apple and olive oil cake as the Cox’s hold their form and add a little bite to the cake. I can also recommend Russets; they are softer and have more of a tendency to break up  but have an intense sweet apple flavour. We need to support our local apple farmers and help them to grow the unusual apple varieties regardless of their shape and size .We need to invest in our heritage and prevent the old varieties from becoming extinct. Make this a personal challenge and bake this cake with the English apple of your choice.

  • 280g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 100ml virgin olive oil
  • 150g unrefined caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 4 free rang eggs
  • 4 Cox apples, peeled and cut in 1cm dice
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest only
  • 30ml milk
  • 2 free range egg whites

Preheat the oven to 160°C, grease 2 x 25cm cake tins and lightly dust with flour.

Weigh the sugar, vanilla seeds and oil into a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk the sugar and oil till light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, whisk until creamy and pale in colour.

Sift all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Fold half of the dry ingredients gently into the egg mixture with a metal spoon. Add the milk and fold the rest of the flour in. Do not over work the batter.

Fold in the diced apples and lemon zest.

Whip the egg whites to soft peaks and fold the egg whites into the cake batter.

Divide the cake mixture between the two cake moulds. This will give you two fairly shallow cakes, if you like a higher cake only use one cake tin.

Place the cake tins in the preheated oven on the middle shelf and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and let the cakes cool in the moulds for 10 minutes, turn them out on to a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.

Dust heavily with icing sugar and glaze the cake either under the grill or using a blowtorch.

Serve slightly warm.

Makes 2 shallow 25cm cakes

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