Doesn’t the title say it all? Apples. Cream cheese. Maple syrup. Vanilla. Gorgeous. The flavours may sound quite autumnal, and I do have more summery dishes coming up, but I still highly recommend you give this a try (especially with London’s weather acting like it is October). My Mum and I bought a slice of this cake from the fabulous London bakery, Ottolenghi and once we tasted it knew that we had to have more of it – and soon! Luckily we have the Ottolenghi book at home and, double luckily, the recipe was featured in it. The cake is stodged full of big apple chunks, juicy sultanas and the sponge is deep with cinnamon and luxurious vanilla: already very good. But fill and top it with the rich, honey coloured, maple cream cheese icing – delicious! When I tried the raw cake mixture I was nervous as it had a really strong after taste of pure olive oil, not quite what you’re looking for in a decadent cake. But, once cooked, that harsh and obvious flavour is baked away and you wouldn’t even know it was there (in a good way! It adds depth of flavour rather than being a totally in your face savoury taste). This was my first time cutting a cake in half to make a layer cake, hence the smaller bottom half, but hey, it was stable. It was also my first time using a vanilla pod rather than extract or paste. Pods have a stronger flavour than extract and I think are more impressive in creamy vanilla desserts because you can see all the vanilla flecks. The book said to cook this cake for an hour and a half but I only did it for one hour and it was perfect, maybe even a little bit too done. So I would say start around that level and see how you go because obviously all ovens are different. Overall – enjoy this fabulous treat of a cake!
Apple and Olive Oil Cake With Maple Cream Cheese Icing, from Ottolenghi
Ingredients for cake:
- 280g plain flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 120ml olive oil
- 160g caster sugar
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 3 Bramley apples, peeled cored and chopped into 1cm dice
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 egg whites
- 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 100g light muscavado sugar
- 85ml maple syrup
- 220g cream cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 170C. Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Meanwhile, whisk the olive oil, vanilla and sugar together until voluminous and smooth. Next whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the apples and lemon zest and then the flour. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold carefully into the cake batter. Grease and line two sandwich tins and bake for 45 mins until a cake batter comes out clean. Once cooked, allow the cakes to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, beat together the butter and maple syrup and sugar until light and airy. Next add in the cream cheese and beat until it’s totally smooth. Use half of the icing to the sandwich the cakes together, and smooth the remaining frosting over the top.