I recently found out that these apples are really tasty and cheap, compared to the other varieties of imported apples that they sell here. So, when I woke up, I realised that the one thing that I really wanted to do today was to bake Kat’s mum’s apple cake.
That need fuelled my first ever visit to a fruit stall in the Russian market, where I bought 8 pomme for 8400 riel (the equivalent of $3.50). I may have overpaid for my apples: I haven’t learned yet how to bargain for food in the market. But, I didn’t mind paying a bit extra if if meant that I could bake. However, I wasn’t quite prepared to pay $3 for 250g of palm sugar (the only raw sugar they had available), when what I really wanted was demerara sugar. Let’s bake together at a later date, palm sugar. I think that you’ll be delightful in a cookie.
This apple cake goes down in my baking history as the third ever cake I made on my own. I was 21 at the time. Kat’s mum baked this apple cake for us when Kat invited a few friends to her Devonshire home for a holiday during our final year at university. The cake tasted wholesomely delicious and I found myself asking Kat’s mum for the recipe. I was no baker in those days so what convinced me to attempt making this cake was her reassurance that the recipe was really simple.
And it was. Once it entered into my baking repertoire, it was then pretty much the only cake that I baked for the next 2 years.
I told you that I came late into this baking thing later than most foodies.
The only step that requires a bit of time is peeling, coring and chopping the apples and this time, Simon and Becci did that bit for me this time round. Hurrah for happy helpers. But once you’ve done that, you can pretty much throw the ingredients altogether, mix it around with your hands and pop it into the oven. There’s no faffing with trying to make it look pretty: part of the charm of baking this cake is that is meant to look rustic. I’ve made it before when I’ve reserved a few choice apple pieces to make it look prettier, but the detail got lost underneath the topping of sugar and ground cinnamon. You can also use a loaf tin or a round tin, as you can see from my photos.
Since being here and discovering how expensive it is to bake with butter (the cheapest i’ve found is $3.50 for 227g) I reverted back to using margarine. The cake tastes better, I think, if you make it with margarine rather than butter.
You can also use any apples. I really like using cooking apples because of their tartness and size, but it doesn’t seem to matter.
Ingredients for Kat’s mum’s apple cake
- 8oz/225g self-raising flour
- 4oz/110g margarine
- 4oz/110g granulated sugar, preferably golden but it can be white
- 3 or 4 cooking apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1-2cm slices.
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- a splash of milk
Cake topping – adapt the measures according to taste.
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Grease and line either a 2lb loaf tin or a cake tin, that is deepish and anything between 8-10 inches.
2. Prepare the topping first for ease because your hands will be gloopy by step 5. In a small bowl, mix together the demerara sugar and cinnamon.
3. Peel, core and chop the apples and put them into a large mixing bowl.
4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, rub together the flour, butter and sugar until they resemble crumbs. Add this crumbly mixture to the apples.
5. Add in the eggs and a splash of milk. Mix it around with your hands so that it all combines into a gloopy mess.
6. Sprinkle the demerara sugar and cinnamon mix on top of the cake.
7. Pop into the middle of the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Check after 40 minutes. If the top of the cake is browning too much then cover the top with foil. The cake is ready when a tester comes out clean.
8. Let it cool down and rest before taking it out of the tin.
Enjoy while it’s still warm if you can. I think that it’s worth pointing out, that with this cake you get one portion of your fruit and veg allowance, only if you eat a quarter of the cake.