Yesterday afternoon I was listening to some expert on the radio talk about how they were hoping to make a success of exporting New Zealand apples to Russia. He had various reasons for why this was likely, but the main one seemed to be that New Zealand apples were such a great product etc etc. I thought about this a lot as I bit into yet another disappointing new season New Zealand apple from the supermarket. When we lived in London I bought New Zealand apples religiously, relishing every crunchy bite even though I knew they had a carbon footprint bigger than the Abominable Snowman. Are apples like lamb, and fish, and clever young people - do the best ones get sent overseas, never to return?
Luckily there are still a few growers harvesting proper, old-fashioned, apples. Last weekend I bought a bag of tart, crisp Cox's from the market and they were perfect. The Small Girl dropped a few in her excitement to eat one (I ate a bag of apples a day when I was pregnant, it's finally showing up), making them perfect for this cake.
Spicy Autumn Apple Cake
This is a slightly tweaked recipe from the newspaper. Well, it's from the sister paper of the paper I work for (which is to say, it's owned by the same company rather than being a feminist publication. As if!)
Make more tea than you need the next time you make a pot, then use the extra for this cake. Use oil - a really delicious walnut oil would be amazing - rather than butter if you wish to veganise it.
One last tip: get the crumble topping all ready to go before you add the dry ingredients to the cake, because cake batters don't like sitting around waiting.
1 1/2 cups hot tea
1 1/2 cups giant raisins and diced prunes (I used about 1 cup raisins, 1/2 cup chopped prunes) or the dried fruit of your choice)
1 cup whole oats
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1Tbsp date syrup (or use maple, or golden syrup)
1 cup peeled, diced apple (about 2 medium apples)
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour (or normal flour)
1 cup white spelt (or normal) 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 baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
50g butter, melted (or oil)
1/3 cup each rolled oats, coconut, wholemeal flour, chopped nuts (ie Brazil, almond, pecan, walnut) and brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Put the raisins, rolled oats, date syrup and brown sugar in a large bowl, then pour over the hot tea. Stir, then allow to go cold. Hang the washing out, make a phone call, read a story - it doesn't take long.
Melt the butter for the topping and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 170C and grease and line a springform 24cm tin.
Add the diced apple and lemon zest to the cold tea mixture, then sift over the dry ingredients. Mix gently but thoroughly, then tip into the prepared tin. .
For the topping, mix the melted butter (or oil) with the other ingredients, then sprinkle over the waiting cake batter. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cake is 'springy' when you press it with a finger. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then ease it out of the tin. Don't turn it upside down onto a plate unless you want to pick bits of topping off the floor.
Hope you all have a sweet, sweet Friday and a delicious weekend x