Apple and Cinnamon Cake

I had planned to make this cake for Christmas day, but my Gingerbread Mansion took up a lot more time than expected so I had to make it later on.  I was making my first ever Iranian meal and decided that we would also have to have some sort of dessert as well.

I chopped up the walnuts and peeled, cored and grated the apple ready to go into the mixture.  The recipe is pretty easy: essentially you throw everything except the cinnamon and apples into a bowl and whisk it together until it is thoroughly blended.  Then you pour half the mixture into the cake tin, spread the apple and cinnamon on top of that, and then spoon the remaining cake mixture on top. That’s, literally, how easy it’s meant to be. I put the cake into the oven and carried on with the main courses while it baked.

We have a new oven in our kitchen, a beautiful double oven that I adored, until now.  During the first attempt at this cake (yes – there were two attempts!), I did what I always do: set the timer and go off to do something else until the alarm goes off.  Usually an extra few minutes is needed but generally, this method has always worked for me.

 This time, I smelt something that wasn’t that beautiful baking scent and went back to the kitchen 15minutes earlier to investigate.  The cake was burnt – not just a little burnt – a lot burnt! I had no idea what went wrong: the temperature was right, the time was right – I couldn’t explain it.

With a broken heart I took the cake out and dejectedly popped open the tin to look at the damage.  My mum, who was teaching me how to cook the Iranian main course ate some and deemed it edible, but I refused to serve it – I’m the cake queen; I was determined to try again.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Thankfully I was at a point in cooking the main course where I could stop; I had planned to have a cup of tea in front of the telly but I resorted to a glass of wine and a grim-faced second attempt at the cake. This time I turned the temperature down slightly and set the timer for 30 minutes.

I quickly checked the cake once the alarm went off and thankfully, it wasn’t burnt … but it wasn’t cooked either. I quickly slammed the door shut and set the timer for 15minutes at a time until it had cooked. I left it to cool while I made the rest of the food.

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The rest of the meal went really well and everyone was amazed that I managed to not only cook so much, but make it taste almost as good as my mums (lets be real – no one can cook as well as her!). When it came to serving the dessert, I was so happy that it hadn’t burnt that I completely forgot to sprinkle a little light muscovado sugar and icing sugar on top before cutting everyone a slice.

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The cake was beautiful – not too sweet, not too cinnamon-y, the layer of apple in the middle also made it beautifully moist.  I’m not the biggest fan of sultanas so would probably cut them out if I made the cake again.

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Apple Streudal Cake

Apple crumble is one of my favourite puddings and I was saving this cake for a time that I could enjoy it; preferably a time when we didn’t have too many people to have to share it with!

This week, I promised my brother a cake in return for a lift and he called the favour in with this cake.

The cake had three different layers: the sponge, the apples and the crumble.  I didn’t listen to the recipe and started off by chopping up the fruit.  I was supposed to peel, core and slice 3 Granny Smith apples; but by then end I think there were about 2 apples worth of slices left (I had taken the ‘one for me, one for you’ method of chopping fruit).

The crumble is simply made by chopping up the butter while cold, and rubbing it in with the cinnamon and flour till it looks like breadcrumbs.  Then you stir in the sugar and tra-laa.

The sponge followed what I consider to be the standard recipe.  Mix the wet ingredients together and sift in the dry ones.  I poured the batter into the pre-greased tin and started place the slices on top in concentric circles.  The cake went straight into the oven to cook.

Forty-five minutes later, the oven bell went and everyone started on at me to get it ready to eat.  The cake smelled amazing and I quickly heated some custard to accompany it.  OK, so it was ready made custard, we’re taking baby steps here!

 

The cake tasted amazing.  I am incredibly happy with this recipe, it’s my two favourite things meshed into one: cake + apple crumble = beautiful.  The cinnamon in the crumble gave it a nice kick and it went beautifully with the custard.  The apples were cooked perfectly, still a tiny bit crunch but really sweet and juicy.

I’d definitely suggest this to everyone and anyone. It’s a great treat and is something a bit different from your average cake or apple crumble.  Officially another favourite!

A 5 Minute Apple Tart Concoction

I was going to my lovely friends house yesterday (who has a brilliant food blog – check it out here) with the promise that she would make me something amazing and new. Essentially she was treating me like a test subject.   So, naturally, I thought it would only be fair that I bring her something baked.

So I looked in my cupboard/fridge and found some left over puff pastry.  Hmm… After a quick Internet search I found a great recipe that I altered to suit my needs (click here to get the original recipe).

Essentially all you do is place the pastry on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (I only had foil).  Also I decided to roll out the pastry a little more to make enough for three good-sized portions of tart.

 

Then you core, half and thinly slice any apples of your choice – I used some royal gala apples – and put them in a bowl with a cup of sugar.  Err… a cup of sugar? This is a quick treat, not a heart attack!

So this is where I changed it up. I used a small measuring cup (200ml size) and filled it up to the 100ml line with dark brown sugar.  I also put in a pinch of salt and a pinch or two of cinnamon.

 

These go in the bowl with the apples and are stirred together till all the slices are covered.  I then placed these down the middle of the tart and into the oven for 10-15 minutes.

They tarts came out smelling delicious.  But I had a tiny problem when trying to get them off the baking tray.  Because I rolled the pastry out, it had become ridiculously thin and very hard to get off.  Basically they broke in half. Damn. And I’ve promised them a tart now.

 

What did I do? I gave these three to my dad to taste test and went to the supermarket and bought more pastry of course!  This time I didn’t do anything silly and managed to get all the proportions and measurements right.

I somehow managed to wrap it up and get it to my friend’s house without eating it on the way.  After a beautiful dinner of chicken and chorizo paella, I warmed up the tart served it hot.  It was delicious and definitely not something you could believe took 5 minutes to prepare.  If ever you have some puff pastry going spare, this is definitely a recipe I would suggest, and it’s something that can be adapted for any fruit you feel like using.

So here it is. My adapted recipe for a quick apple tart:

Ingredients:

1 pre rolled sheet of pastry

1 egg

4  medium sized apples

1 cup of dark brown sugar (I used a 200ml sized measuring cup)

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

Icing sugar for dusting

 Method:

1.) Preheat oven to 170C.

2.) Dust both sides of your sheet of pastry with icing sugar and place it on greaseproof paper on your baking tray.

3.) Separate the egg white and brush the pastry with it.  Then fold each side to create a small border.

4.) Core, half and slice your apples.

5.) Mix your sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and put in the sliced apples.  Stir this together till all the apples slices are covered.

6.) Place the apples in whatever pattern takes your fancy, I did it in a straight line.

7.) Place in the oven for 10-15minutes or until the pastry rises and is golden brown.

8.) Once out of the oven, dust with icing sugar and serve hot.