Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Apple, Vanilla and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

DSCF8646 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. DSCF8651 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). DSCF8652This 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.


La Table De Nana said...

The smaller bottom gives it charm..:) Great looking cake..Kudos!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful cake and combination of ingredients! Could I have a slice, please? ;-P



manu said...

Wow this cake looks so beautiful! LOL

Pistachio and Rose said...

What a gorgeous looking cake and I love your use of olive oil, it always makes the cake lovely and mosit...I really want some!

Elra's cooking and baking said...

Wow! Lucy, I just love everything about this cake. Especially the apple which is happen to be one of my favorite fruit to eat.

Faith said...

Beautiful cake, Lucy! Olive oil adds such a lovely subtle flavor and incredible texture. Sounds perfect with the maple frosting!

Kristin said...

You had me at maple cream cheese! This looks and sounds lovely. I dream of going to Ottolenghi the next time I'm in London, but in the meantime I think this cake would do very nicely indeed.

Vanille said...

I like to bake with olive oil. it gives a special taste to cake... Yours look delicious !

The Procrastobaker said...

Lucy this looks FABULOUS. Sinful but fabulous :) For a first attempt at halving a cake i think you did really well, i would end up with a pile of crumbs no doubt!
Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog, Im so happy to have found yours, you are a talented baker indeed :)

nazarina said...

When you wrote about the depth of flavor, I thought to myself "so darn delicious" Just think what you will bake when you are 32!

Apples and Butter said...

I love me some olive oil cake! The flavors you have paired it with hear sound delicious!

Why Just Eat said...

This cake looks absolutely divine and I would love to make it - only I have no idea what caster sugar is. Would you happen to know the American equivalent?

Lucy said...

Hi Why Just Eat - I think the American equivalent of caster sugar would be just standard white sugar that you use in everyday baking, but I know that only the UK calls it caster sugar. Sorry for the confusion!