I used the gloomy weather last week as an excuse to bake a cake. I didn't want anything fancy, nor did I want anything complicated. Just something simple and effortless. Ottolenghi's apple cake seemed like a perfect choice for that. Although I never made it before, I was sure it would be as delicious as other Ottolenghi's recipes I tried before. No doubt, the cake came out beautifully, lovely aroma of the apple, orange zest and fresh vanilla mingles together. Such a perfect cake to enjoy with a cup of tea.
* I used cognac plumped cherries instead of sultanas as the original recipe ask for. If you don't really have the time to make the cognac plumped cherries, you can certainly use any dried fruit you are fancy of. Just make sure that you simmer the dried fruit with 4 tablespoon of water on a low heat until the fruit has absorbed all of the water, then cool completely.
** Ottolenghi recipe actually has cream cheese and maple icing. Since I was looking for something quick to make, I completely omit the icing.
Apple and Olive Oil Cake
Adapted from: Ottolenghi, The Cookbook
makes 6 - 8 mini bundt cakes
80 g cognac plumped cherry, recipe follow
280 g flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/4 tsp baking powder
120 ml olive oil
160 g sugar
1 vanilla, scraped
2 eggs, lightly beaten with fork
385 g (about 2 large apples) diced golden delicious apple
orange zest from 1 large orange
2 egg whites, beat to stiff form peak (meringue)
butter to grease the mold
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter generously a mini bundt tin, sprinkle in some flour inside each mold, tap off the excess. Set aside
Sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder on to a bowl. Set aside.
Drain well cognac plumped cherry. Set aside
Using an electric mixer, beat olive oil, sugar, and vanilla until blended, add the lightly beaten egg in three addition, beating well on each addition before adding the next (the batter will not be perfectly ribbon-like batter). Turn off the machine. Using rubber spatula mix in diced apples, cognac plumped cherry and orange zest. Fold in the flour mixture, then gently fold in the meringue.
Spoon the batter onto prepared mini bundt tin. If your mold (like mine) only have 6 mini bundts, you will have some leftover batter. So, simply use 2 or 3 paper cupcake molds for the remaining batter. Bake in the middle rack for 40 - 45 minutes depending on how reliable your oven temperature is (mine is not reliable at all). Remove from the oven, transfer onto wire rack to cool. Sprinkle some confectioner's sugar before serving if desire.
Cognac Plumped Cherry
Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice cream at Home
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cognac
1/2 cup sugar
Place the dried cherries in a small heatproof glass container.
In a small sauce pan, add water, cognac, and sugar. Place the sauce pan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, pour this syrup over the dried cherries. Let it cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to use. This cherries will keep well for a month in the refrigerator.