On my last day at Gili island during my travel, I had lunch at a cafe. And just before leaving to catch my boat back to Bali, I saw an apple cake on display. I didn't have time to go back in the queue and I was annoyed that I didn't get to try it. I am a sucker for apple cake. So, when I got back I decided to bake myself an apple cake.
But to be honest, it's not just apple cakes that I love... anything with apples really, pie, crumbles, tarte tatin, strudel, ice-cream, etc... So, in the making I decided to combine some of my favourite apple treats. It is very much a cake, but it has enough apples in it to call it a pie too. If you want, you can bake this cake in a pie dish rather than a baking tin.
This is a tender, moist cake with a sweet scent of vanilla and a hint of cinnamon with loads of sweet apples and have I mentioned the whisky steeped raisins?! Yes, there are those too.
Crowning the cake is a simple crumble topping with an addition of flaked almonds for texture and also Demerara sugar for crunch and aesthetic purposes. So, there you have it... It's an apple pie-crumble-cake!
The apples I use are Granny Smith apples. Not only because they're my favourite... I adore their crisp texture and sharpness; but also they hold their shape really well. They'll be soft after baking but won't fall apart or become mushy.
This is the kind of cake you can serve anytime of day, for brunch, in the afternoon with a cup of coffee/tea, even as a dessert with a scoop or two of ice-cream or custard.... but I'm really looking forward to have another serving of this cake for tomorrow's breakfast... cold, straight from the fridge. Yum. I'm a grown man and if I want cake for breakfast, so be it.
For the cake and apple filling
2 Granny Smith apples
Half a lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp Demerara or brown sugar
50 gr raisins
1 tbsp rum or whisky
125 gr soft butter
125 gr caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
125 gr plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
For the crumble topping
50 gr plain flour
1/2 tssp baking powder
35 gr cold butter, diced
30 gr flaked almonds
3 tbsp Demerara sugar
Double cream or lightly whipped cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180 C and butter the base of a 22 cm round cake tin or a pie dish.
Put the raisins in a small bowl and pour the rum or whisky, and let them steep for few minutes. Peel and cut the apples into small chunks and place them in a bowl. Coat them with the lemon juice, ground cinnamon and brown sugar. Set aside.
Now, make the cake batter. In a bowl, sift the flour and baking powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside. In another bowl, cream the soft butter, caster sugar and vanilla paste until light and pale. You can use a hand-mixer or simply with a wooden spoon and a little elbow grease. Beat in one egg, followed by half of the dry ingredients. Mixing well. Then add in another egg and the rest of the flour. Pour the batter into the cake tin. Add the apples and raisins and bake for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, make the crumble topping. Put the flour and baking powder in a bowl and rub in the cold, diced butter between thumb and fingers until it resembles rough oatmeal. Stir in the flaked almonds and sugar and mix using a fork.
After 20 minutes, take the cake out from the oven and sprinkle over the crumble topping covering all the surface. Return it to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.
Leave to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving and serve with chilled double cream, or lightly whipped cream or ice cream... you get the idea and know what to do next.