Saturday, 23 January 2016
A cake to make me less narky: Barefoot Contessa's Apple Spice Cake
So, I am justifying the inclusion of this truly wonderful cake into my ‘do things better’ agenda for the following reasons: It has apple in it, so surely must be one of my five a day. It is made with vegetable oil and not butter so that has to make it a ‘better’ cake, whatever that is. It is packed with spices and of course they have oodles of medicinal qualities, and lastly, a bit of what you fancy does you good, and the opportunity to sit down with a slice of this with a cuppa turns a narky Stella into a less narky one. Only one slice mind…
If you want a really really reliable, decadent, frankly scrumptious cake, you open a Barefoot Contessa book and turn to the section marked ‘desserts’. There you will find cake heaven. And it was in her ‘Make it Ahead’ cookery book that I found this. Don’t be put off by the amount of spices; go buy them if you haven’t got them because you will be making this cake more than once. I promise.
I very rarely alter a Barefoot Contessa recipe because they are usually perfect. However, I have made a couple of alterations, mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have any golden raisins, but I did have some pretty jewel like sultanas which did the job just nicely. I also didn’t have the exact size pan as indicated in the recipe, so I split the mixture between two smaller pans.
If you don’t fancy my chosen way of eating this, with a cuppa, then serve some slightly warm with some ice cream. And swoon…
APPLE SPICE CAKE from ‘Make It Ahead’ by Ina Garten
An American recipe, so uses cup measurements (which I quite like…)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup rum
1 cup golden raisins (I used sultanas)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown (Muscavado) sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp grated orange zest
2 1/2 cup plain ﬂour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
3 (large) to 4 (small) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and 1/4 inch diced
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and ﬂour a 9x13x2 inch baking pan, or a pan(s) that will take the amount of mixture.
Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes. Watch the nuts like a hawk. They burn in the blink of an eye. Set aside.
Add the rum and raisins to a microwave-safe bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap; microwave for 1 minute, then set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla, and orange zest on medium speed.
Once combined, add the ﬂour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves; mix until smooth. The batter will be very thick.
Drain the raisins before adding them to the batter.
Add the apples and pecans too, then use a rubber spatula to fold them all into the batter.
Spread this batter in your prepared pan, smoothing it out.
Bake the cake for 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let the cake cool until it’s barely warm or room temperature before cutting into squares.