There’s a buzz around here. And while it’s normally a good thing, this time it’s got us feeling worried, vexed and sympathetic.
Wherever you’re from, you’ve probably heard about the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Already scary because it is a mighty large volcano, it’s now made worse when tens of thousands are stranded, unable to leave countries because of the heavy smoggy skies plagued by volcanic ashes. The only upside to this is that my sister will be home for a few more days until the airlines can reschedule her a flight back to school. But, it’s probably a halfway up sort of upside, since exams were nearing for her and she wanted to go back to revise.
But onto something lighter, we had a different sort of Saturday today. Not spending it at the malls doing our routine ‘power-walk’, desperately avoiding crowds (if even possible), we had a summery lunch at my uncle’s featuring my grandma’s cooking followed by dessert, dessert and more dessert. See! This appreciation of sugar is genetic.
I just had to bake something from my Ottolenghi cookbook which I haven’t had the chance to break into yet. So, what do you do with a craving for apples? Bake apple cake with maple cream cheese frosting, gluten free of course! Fluffy, tender, full of fruit happiness yet rich enough from the cream cheese to put a big fat smile on your face. It’s Ottolenghi afterall! Oh, and if you’re in love with the plate from the first photo, it’s my aunt’s. And trust me when I tell you she has the nicest collection of pretty chinawear! Tea party worthy!
Apple and Raisin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from The Ottolenghi Cookbook)
4 tbsp water
2 cups – 1 tbsp GF flour blend
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup canola oil (original: olive oil, but I don’t like the taste)
100g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3.5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced into 1cm cubes
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 egg whites
2 tbsp caster sugar + 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1) Preheat oven to 180 degreesC. Spray a 8 inch square/round baking tin with baking spray. Line with baking paper, allowing an ‘overhang’ over the sides. This facilitates the removal process.
2) Place the raisins and the water in a medium saucepan, simmering until for 15 mins or until most of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
3) Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
4) In a large mixing bowl, whisk the oil and sugar until well mixed. Add in the eggs, whisk until thick and smooth. Add in the vanilla, apples, raisins and lemon zest. Mixture will seem incredibly thick.
5) Fold in the flour mix until homogeneous.
6) In the bowl of a KitchenAid, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add in the caster sugar + cream of tartar mixture, and whisk until stiff but not dry peaks form.
7) Gently fold into the apple batter. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20-30 mins, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
8) Once completely cooled, remove from baking tin and slice into half horizontally. Spread half of the frosting on the bottom layer, cover the with top layer and spread with remaining frosting. If not eating immediately, refrigerate. Let the cake come to room temperature before chowing down!
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
100g unsalted butter, softened
70g brown sugar
85ml maple syrup (the real deal, not imitation ones!)
250g cream cheese, room temperature.
1) In the bowl of a KitchenAid, beat the butter, sugar and syrup until well mixed. Add in the cream cheese and beat until fluffy and no lumps are visible. It will take awhile, mine did, but sooo worth it!