Merry Christmas everyone!
Christmas this year is slightly different for me because of several reasons.
Firstly, it’s first Christmas that I’m actually not totally free from academic work. I’m currently in the midst of college applications, so I’m writing many many many essays that are due just in less than a week. Tell me about, story of a young girl in the modern era.
Secondly, we didn’t get to set up a Christmas tree this year because we have been really busy lately 😦 So what’s left of Christmas decorations is jus the candles and the kinda-festive-looking table mats…
Last but not least, I got to be (a little) more involved in preparing the food, and not just the usual Apple Pie for dessert. I made a Candied Sweet Potato Marshmallow Pie, helped carved the Turkey, set up the table, and of course, made dessert. And so yes, I was pretty busy the entire day.
But all those preparations and messing up the kitchen wasn’t all so bad after all. It was quite fun actually! I ended up having icing sugar all over my black shirt, and eating up the crumbs of my Apple Cake with maple syrup even before dinner officially started. (Dessert before meals? And having the first bite before everybody else. Hah! What’s not to love about it :)) What’s Christmas without joy and laughter anyway?
Dessert on Christmas is usually an Apple Pie and I’ve done several variations on it, including an Apple Crumble Tart once. But because I realized I would be busier today, I decided to make a simpler and easier dessert that is still nevertheless adapted from my standard Apple Pie. This Apple Cake recipe is inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s. It has been on my Stuff-To-Eat List for quite a while but I’ve never had a bundt/tube pan until quite recently. I’ve thought of just making it using a standard 9-inch cake pan, but have always been too lazy to actually carry it out, really. But now that I have a silicon Bundt Pan right at my disposal, I no longer have a reason to not make this mouthwatering dessert.
I used a variety of apples, including Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Gala and Pink Lady. These apples are all baking apples and I couldn’t decide which to get. So I decided to just use them all :p Also, I added some lemon juice into the apple mixture to prevent them from browning. Smitten Kitchen used orange juice in the batter but I used freshly squeezed lemon juice as well because I absolutely love that extra zing that gives the cake a slight kick and freshness. But you’re free to use any kind of citrus and tweak the amount according to your taste! In addition, because my family is pretty health conscious, I used olive oil instead of the regular vegetable (or other non flavoured oil) and brown sugar instead of white sugar. And because brown sugar is essentially white sugar + molasses and is hence sweeter than white sugar, I also used slightly more than half the amount of sugar stated in the original recipe.
I baked my cake for an hour and 10 minutes and it turned out just amazing. The bottom and top of the cake were crunchy (don’t be deceived by the black burnt ends! They actually taste good – caramelized flavor and crispy), while the inside of the cake was spongy and the apples were juicy.
I also made a caramel sauce to go along with it, using the remaining liquid from the apple mixture. It was delishhhh! Eat it all together with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and you’ve got the perfect dessert – healthy and decadent all at the same time.
6 apples, peeled and diced into roughly 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon cinnamon
A pinch of nutmeg
3 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 ¾ cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup olive oil/vegetable oil or any other type of flavourless oil
250g brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla
Preheat the oven to 175 C. Grease a bundt/tube pan.
Toss the apples with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice, and set aside. Allow the apples to macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, make the batter:
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrap down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
Drain the apples for about 20 min.
Mix ¾ of the apples into the batter, and pour into the prepared pan. Arrange the remaining apples on the top.
Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before running knife between cake and pan, and unmoulding onto a platter.
To make caramel sauce:
Transfer liquid from apples to a cup, and add 2 tablespoons butter. Microwave and boil on high for about 5 – 8 minutes. Liquid should be reduced by half and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.
And I dusted it with icing sugar cause what’s Christmas without some snow! 🙂