Hello again. How are you? All well I hope. It feels very autumnal now, and with the world seemingly facing a lot of uncertainty again, it feels the right time to publish a heart-warming slice of comfort with this week’s post.
I’ve been picking a few cooking apples here and there from the tree in the garden for about a month now. This week, I decided it was time to gather as many as I could reach. The baskets above contain about half the amount the tree has produced this year – I need to call in the cavalry to get the rest!
To be honest, the apple variety Lord Derby isn’t the greatest tasting apple out there, but the apples cook very well and reatian their texture if you want them too, so are ideal for baking. They also require little sugar, and can be eaten raw – they are similar to a Granny Smith eating apple.
This week’s recipe is a combination of a cake batter used for sticky toffee pudding along with the delicious sauce – you can find a festive version of the classic comfort pudding by clicking here – baked in a tin lined with fruit as you would for an upside-down cake.
I hope you enjoy the cake, it really is good, and it is just as delicious served hot as a pudding or cold as a slice to go with a cup of coffee 🙂
- 225g pitted dates, chopped
- 25g golden or corn syrup
- 450g cooking apples
- 1 lemon
- 150ml sunflower oil
- 150g soft light brown sugar
- 300g gluten-free self raising flour blend (such as Doves Farm)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 180ml dairy-free milk (I use oat milk)
For the sauce
- 100g golden or corn syrup
- 40g dairy-free margarine
- 100g soft light brown sugar
- 100ml single dairy-free cream (such as oat or soya)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Put the dates in a saucepan with 225ml cold water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes until soft and thick. Remove from the heat and beat until smooth – use a stick blender to obtain a very smooth paste. Leave to cool completely. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
2. Grease and line a 23cm round spring-clip cake tin and drizzle the syrup over the base. Put to one side.
3. Next prepare the apples. Core the apples and peel them thinly. Extract the juice from the lemon, cut the juiced lemon in quarters and place both in a bowl with cold water. Slice the apples thinly into rings and submerge in the water to help prevent discoloration.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 160°C, gas 4. Mix the oil and sugar into the date paste. Stir in the flour, vanilla and milk to make a thick batter.
5. Drain and pat dry the apple slices on kitchen paper, and arrange sufficient slices to cover the base of the tin. Spoon over half the cake batter. Smooth and then use the remaining apple slices to make a layer on top.
6. Cover with the remaining cake batter, smooth the top and stand the tin on a baking tray. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours until risen and firm to the touch – test with a wooden skewer inserted into the centre to make sure the cake is thoroughly cooked. Leave too cool for 15 minutes before releasing from the tin and turning out on to a serving plate, upside-down.
7. While the cake is cooking, make the sauce. Put the syrup, margarine and sugar in a small saucepan and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar dissolves and the margarine melts.
8. Raise the heat and bring to the boil. Stop stirring and simmer the mixture for 3-4 minutes until richly golden – take care not too over-boil as the mixture will soon over-caramelise and burn. Turn off the heat and gradually stir in the cream and vanilla. Stir until well blended and leave to cool. Serve hot or cold.
And that’s it, the cake is now ready to eat hot as a dessert with the warm sauce poured over, or let it go cold and drizzle over the sauce to serve.
All my best wishes to you for the days ahead. Take care and keep safe. I look forward to posting again in a few days time.