13 October, 2006

October recipe: Spiced apple and walnut cake

The local market was selling wet walnuts the other day, and roadside stalls offering apples to passers-by have grown like mushrooms, as they always do at this season. So this weekend looks like a good time to bake apple and walnut cake, and here is the recipe for anyone else who is similarly inclined. You can substitute other nuts for the walnuts (almonds work well), or dried fruit of your choice, or miss them out altogether. I always make this with cooking apples, because that's what the tree in my garden produces, but it will also work with dessert apples if that's what you've got. (If the apples are sweet enough to eat raw, they're dessert apples). I would reduce the sugar to 5 oz if using dessert apples, or you can leave it as in the original and get a sweeter cake. You can use windfall apples, just cut out any bruises or damaged bits. You can also substitute spices of your choice for the cinnamon and nutmeg. Ground mixed spice works very well. You can use white or wholemeal flour or a mixture - I like half white and half wholemeal.

If you don't have a shallow baking tin, use a loaf tin or a deep round cake tin instead, and allow about 1.5 hours baking time.

Transatlantic note: I believe that plain flour is called 'all-purpose flour' on the American/Canadian side of the Pond, and that ground mixed spice is called apple pie spice. But I may be wrong, so use your own judgement. And I have never understood cups as a measurement, so I'm not even going to try.

Spiced apple and walnut cake

4 oz (approx 120 g) butter
8 oz (approx 250 g) light brown soft sugar (or any sugar type of your choice)
2 eggs
8 oz (approx 250 g) plain flour
1 tsp (5 ml spoon) bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tsp (1.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp (1.5 x 5 ml spoon) ground nutmeg
1 lb (approx 450 g) cooking apples, weight AFTER peeling, coring and cutting out any bruised or damaged bits
4 oz walnuts (or other nuts of your choice, or dried fruit), chopped

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs.
Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices.
Grate or finely chop the apples.
Stir in the apples and nuts, mix well.
Spread the mixture in a greased shallow baking tin, approx. 8" x 12" x 1" deep (approx 20 cm x 30 cm x 2-3 cm deep).
Bake in a moderate oven, approx 170-180 Centigrade, for about 1 hour or until a fine skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Cut into squares while still hot, cool for 10 minutes or so in the tin, then lift the squares out and cool on a wire rack. I usually cut this into 24 squares, but you can make them larger if you prefer. Don't try to get the squares out straight away as the cake is quite crumbly and is inclined to fall apart when very hot.

Can be frozen.

Can also be served hot with yogurt, cream or ice cream as a pudding.


Bernita said...


Elizabeth Chadwick said...

Thanks Carla,
I will give it a try next time I bake. I always have a cake in the tin and a couple in the freezer. I have a mass baking session about once every 3 weeks, so I'll add this one to next time's list. You can't beat home baking can you? Currently I have bramleys to choose from, plus golden delicious and a cox cross the name of which I've forgotten. It's a cooker when young and an eater when fully ripe.
Re cups. I bought some cup measures a long while back but only use them when I'm making ice cream - mainly 'cos my ice-cream book is in cups. Of all the weights and measures, pounds and ounces are still the best. I used old fashioned balance scales). I have a set of gram measures but the 5 gram measure is so weeny that it's fiddly to get hold of and I'm always scared of losing it.

Carla said...

Elizabeth - hope you enjoy it! I can manage in grams but still gravitate to Imperial by choice. Cups are just incomprehensible :-)

Patry Francis said...

I think my mom used to make that-or something similar-- when I was little. Comfort food. Yum.

Carla said...

Hello Patry, and thanks for dropping by. You can't beat home baking for comfort food!