Sunday 17 April 2011

Autumn Apple Cake

Last weekend (unlike this one) was a lazy weekend.  I had it in my head to make apple cake.  There were a few contenders.  The oats and spices of Lucy's Spicy Autumn Apple Cake won me over in the end.  Sylvia now jumps on a chair to help whenever I am cooking.  She loved making the apple cake with lots of interesting ingredients, lots of stirring and lots of pouring.

Cooking with children is a joy though it brings its own problems.  Little hands are quick to shove apple and uncooked oats in the mouth.  I might get distracted and tip a bit of coconut into the cake mixture before remembering it is destined for the streusel topping, or confuse half cup with third cup measures as we made the streusel topping.  A fork was plunged into the unbaked cake as we were spreading the streusel mixture on the cake, and handfuls of mixture were thrown onto the cake rather than evenly scattered.  All worthwhile when the little voice says "I like apple cake". 

This is a cake with dried fruit that becomes plump when infused with hot tea.  There is no eggs or butter or oil in the cake.  The only butter or oil is in the streusel.  Lucy used butter but suggested oil as an alternative.  I used the latter.  It was a lazy weekend.  Not a day for the hassle of melting butter.  The streusel was crumbly and fell off the cake easily.  The cake was dense with the dried fruit being more prominent than the apple.  Not the cake I had expected.  Great comfort food, nevertheless.  Maybe next time I will try it as muffins or even make this apple cake that also tempted me.

Sylvia's favourite bit was the crumble.  In fact, she loved to reduce a whole piece of cake to crumble.  E was looking after her on Monday.  While he turned his back to do the dishes, little hands dug into the crumble.  Behind the cake below you can see Sylvia's new Bagpuss annual that arrived in the mail the same day.  Unfortunately the pages fell out upon inspection.  Not as much fun as making cake!

I am sending this cake to Anh of A Food Lover's Journey for this week's Weekend Herb Blogging #279, the event coordinated by Haalo and founded by Kalyn.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Fruits of Autumn: figs, rhubarb and walnuts
This time two years ago: Curried Cauli, Spinach and Peanut Soup
This time three years ago: Family Favourite: Chocolate Pudding

Apple fruit cake
slightly adapted from The Kitchen Maid
  • 1 1/2 cups hot tea
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit (I used about 1/2 cup raisins, 1 cup chopped prunes)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup (or use maple, or date syrup)
  • 1 cup peeled, diced apple (about 2 medium apples)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (preferably a good grinding of a whole nutmeg)
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
Crumble topping:
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup each rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/3 cup walnuts, crushed with a fork
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
Put the raisins, rolled oats, golden syrup and brown sugar in a large bowl and cover with hot tea.  Stir and cool to room temperature.  Or not quite cooled if you are impatient like me.  Add in apple and lemon zest.

Preheat oven to 170 C and grease and line a 24cm springform cake tin.  (I only have a 22cm tin so I used that and a little ramekin).

Make the streusel topping by mixing all ingredients together.

Add remaining ingredients to apple mixture. Stir gently until all is combined.  Tip into prepared tin.  Evenly scatter streusel mixture over the top.

Bake for about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out cleanly (I think it took me longer).  Cool in the tin at least 10 minutes before releasing the springform sides.  Ours lasted about 4 days and was better when completely cooled to room temperature.

On the stereo:
The BBC Sessions: Belle and Sebastian


  1. Looks delicious. I knew from the title it was going to be good. I love how healthy it seems. The perfect rustic cake for weekend munching. I love how involved slyvia is with all your cooking. Have a great weekend

  2. What a truly gorgeous cake! I would love to make this. Dried fruit and apple is a good combination.

  3. Hehe I'm like Sylvia, the crumble is my favourite bit too! :D

  4. Thankfully streusel topping is pretty forgiving in terms of ingredient amounts. :P

    The cake looks delicious! Apple-flavored baked goods are my favorite!

  5. I think it is wonderful that Sylvia now shares your love of cooking :) Too adorable :)

  6. It must have been fun having a little helper around in the kitchen. Just like Sylvia, I'm quick to shove uncooked apples and cake mixture/batter into my mouth when I am baking too! This looks like a healthy cake. Love it!

  7. Johanna, this looks amazing!! I'm so excited to see lemon zest instead of orange in the ingredients, too :) When I was a kid and my mum made apple crumble, I'd always want more crumble too. Now I usually prefer more stewed fruit :)

  8. Me too, like streusel apple cakes :-) This one looks delicious and healthy! Love all the spices you put in it :-)

  9. Lovely post Johanna. I'm sure it's more difficult to make a perfect cake with Sylvia around but to instil the love of cooking and baking is a price well worth paying. It looked really good and sounds particularly yummy with the streusel topping.

  10. I'm familiar with those little hands that like to reduce a cake to crumbs...sigh.
    Cooking with kids brings up joy, frustration, bonding, distractions, mess and usually a great deal of happiness from the little people. Has she got her own apron :-)

  11. Thanks Katie - yes rustic is just the word for it

    Thanks Cakelaw - dried fruit and apples do go well together

    Thanks Lorraine - the crumble was pretty good just by itself

    Thanks Joanne - apple baked goods have never been my favourite but this may change this year :-) Just made another apple cake today

    Thanks Lisa - I used to bake with my mum so enjoy being on the other side

    Thanks Kayla - yes nice and healthy in moderation :-) I find that when I cook with apples I sometimes feel I could sit and just eat the raw apples because they always seem so good - but I was appalled at Sylvia eating raw oats

    Thanks Hannah - I almost subbed orange for lemon but decided it was sweet enough to need lemon - but the taste is not too strong - and getting crumble and fruit balance right is a hard one but they do complement each other.

    Thanks Vicki

    Thanks Vanessa - I almost left off the streusel topping but was glad I included it - it works well with the cake base

    Thanks Choclette - I've never made perfect cakes but always like getting my hands dirty when it comes to baking!

    Thanks City Hippy Farm Girl - oh yes cooking with kids is delightful despite all the drawbacks. Thanks for the reminder about sylvia's aprons (she has two) - must dig them out - am sure she will love a little extra baking ritual

  12. This sounds lovely! Tea and apples--what a great combination. I love the pic of Sylvia's little hand mixing the batter :) Another Sylvia-approved recipe that I want to try!

  13. That looks like a wonderful apple cake, love the tea addition too. Book marked this one!

  14. That streusel topping looks fantastic, the perfect addition to your cake. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link your cake up.

  15. wow this looks divine!! I love the crumble part too :)
    Heidi xo

  16. I love that the cake uses tea and no oil or eggs!


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