Saturday 30 July 2011

Apple Spice Cake

There are times when I feel I am turning into my mother.  Take apples for example.  I have always loved them fresh but have been a bit wary of cooking them.  Growing up, my mother was constantly baking with them.  Dutch apple cake.  Apple slice.  Apple sponge.  Baked apples.  Apple crumble.  I wanted stone fruit.  I didn't understand the seasons (or budgets).  As an adult I have learned the joy of apples in autumn.

Back in April, I had an urge to bake apple cakes.  I started with a dense Apple Fruit Cake, moved onto a lighter Apple Spice Cake (recipe below) and then found that Lumberjack Cake is very similar to a favourite Apple and Date Cake.  All very good.  All had such different textures.

I made the Apple Spice Cake after coming home from a busy day that had been hijacked by a computer virus.  There was no time to drop into the supermarket.  I was visiting a friend for lunch the next day and wanted to take something for lunch.  Everything I needed was in my kitchen.  The only ingredient I left out was walnuts, which Sylvia and I had used up in a batch of fruit balls.  I made it in a small slice tin but next time might make it in my new 20cm square cake tin.

It didn't look as impressive as the Apple Fruit Cake but I loved the simplicity.  It was spicy, soft and filled with apple.  Sylvia was quite keen on it and thought the best was to help herself was to dig her fingers into the cake.  Not the best way to present a cake.  A thick dusting of icing sugar hides a multitude of sins but the cake still looked a little bumpy when we took it to Ballarat where Nicki was visiting her family.

This lunch was just before Easter.  I had avoided taking chocolate because I thought that the kids would probably have enough of the stuff.  Nicki's son asked if there was any chocolate in the cake or the fruit balls.  When I said no, he lost interest.  Sylvia and Nicki's older daughter enjoyed the cake.

However when we arrived I found that Nicki had also made an apple cake.  Hers was a butter cake with precooked apples in the middle and on top.  By the time they were baked again they melted in the mouth.  I must get this recipe as it was simply amazing.  We had a lovely time there.  Sylvia was a little shy of the older kids.  As often happens, by the time we were ready to go, she didn't want to leave her new friends.  And I was pleased to bring home some slices of both apple cakes because there was plenty to go round.

Lastly I must quickly mention the Lumberjack Cake I made.  It was made from this recipe, which is the same as my Apple and Date Cake but has coconut in the topping.  However I noticed that Lorraine used condensed milk in her topping and I happened to have some in the fridge so I just combined some condensed milk and shredded coconut for the topping.  It was fantastic.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Turkish Fig Pudding
This time two years ago: Bizarre gnocchi and strange crumble
This time three years ago: Tabouli from the Tree
This time four years ago: Lasagne and the Boy Wizard

Apple Spice Cake
Slightly adapted from Lovely Wee Days
  • 2 cooking apples
  • 1 c sugar (I used a bit less)
  • 113g (4 oz) butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white and 1/2 cup wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp allspice 
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used a pinch of salt)
  • 1/2 cup sticky raisins (I used sultanas)
  • 1/2 c walnuts (I didn't use)

In a small bowl cover the raisins or sultanas with boiling water.  Peel, core and dice apples and sprinkle with sugar in another bowl - the apple will release some of its juices after standing for 5-10 minutes. Set aside while preparing other ingredients.

Mix butter and egg in a large mixing bowl.  Add apples and then dry ingredients.  Gently mix in drained raisins (or sultanas) and walnuts (if using).  Pour into a greased and lined tin (I used a small slice tin but next time would use a 20cm round cake tin or a 20cm square cake tin).

Bake at 180 C for 50-60 minutes (I think this is for a 20cm round cake tin), or 35-40 minutes for a 20cm square cake tin, or 20-30 minutes for a small slice tin.  Leave to cool before removing from the tin.  Dust with icing sugar to serve.

On the stereo:
Listen, Listen: an Introduction to: Sandy Denny


  1. Looks gorgeous. I'm definitely appreciating fruit in baking more and more at the moment. I'm really enjoying apples at the moment, which is daft really because it's the middle of summer here and stone fruit is good!

  2. Yes, baked apples and apple [and rhubarb/boysenberry) crumble are integral parts of my childhood memories too! I love the look of this, and wouldn't mind snatching a handful a la Sylvia myself, if no one was watchign...

  3. You can't beat apple with anything :) Both cakes look fabulous. I'd love to try lumberjack cake

  4. Its never much fun when you make that realisation that you are starting to become like you Mum Lol. I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago so I can empathise with you. That said, I've always loved apple cakes and this one looks like just my cup of tea ;0)

  5. I'm making and eating a lot of apple and pear cakes with the Winter season. I can't wait until Spring and Summer starts and the new fruit comes out! :D

  6. Yum! That looks wonderful. Anything baked with apple is just such a wonderful combination :)

  7. Yep, love apples in baking. Especially with a large dollop of good, thick cream - wicked!

  8. I love the idea of mixing chopped apples directly into the batter. :D

    Oh, and I tagged you in my last blog post - maybe you'd like to participate in this "seven special posts" thing? :)

  9. Love both the apple spice cake and the lumberjack cake. I had never heard of lumberjack cake til I worked at a Uni and the local caf had it on the menu - but it was a great discovery.

  10. Apple is my fruit version of chocolate. I get afternoon cravings for it and if any baked good or dessert has apple in it - I gotta have it! I think it would've been a great treat to break up the Easter eggs.

  11. Apples are great in cakes! I, too, came to appreciate cooked apples later in life. And aren't we all turning into our mothers? ;) The cake sounds wonderful--I love the combination of wintery spices.

  12. Thanks C - I love the idea of baking with stone fruit but it always seems a shame to waste it that way whereas it seems right and proper to bake with apples

    Thanks Hannah - apples and childhood go together - but handfuls of cake end up with the majority on the clothes and the floor (if your eating is anything like Sylvia's) so I will stick with a neat slice. (ps thanks for reminding me of lumberjack cakes)

    Thanks Katie - I know you are an apple afictionado - you would love the lumberjack

    Thanks Chele - I wasn't such a big fan of apple cakes when I was younger but I don't feel it is such a bad thing to find I really do like them almost as much as my mum

    Thanks Lorraine - it is getting to the time of year when the apples and pears are getting a bit old and some fresh spring fruit would be very welcome

    Thanks Sharan - apples are the old reliable fruit in baking

    Thanks amanda - a dollop of cream always seems such a great way to eat dessert but the taste just has never appealed

    Thanks Kath - have put the tag on my to do list

    Thanks Cakelaw - I think I discovered lumberjack cake when I was at uni too

    Thanks Keely - I crave fresh apples more than baked apple - and my mum did teach me that apples and chocolate go well together

    Thanks Ricki - apples go so well with wintery spices - I think our mothers were onto something!

  13. I love apple spice cakes! I've been trying to eat lots of the fresh summer fruit like stone fruits and berries but I've actually started missing apples.


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