Wednesday, 20 April 2011

apple cake


The sight of an apple cake slice on a plate with whipped cream can do wonders, wouldn't you agree? Last year I made this recipe especially for my husband who absolutely loves apple cakes – not pies, he wants cakes. This is one of the recipes that I didn't have to experiment with, the first try was an instant hit and I promised hubby not to change a thing. If he were allowed to choose I would never have to bake anything else. However, just to see the reaction from other people not as apple cake biased as hubby, I have made this one for guests that are more used to cakes with plenty of white sugar and butter and I've got nothing but praise. The list of ingredients is simple, the cake is easy to make, and the smell from the oven is wonderful. Just one rememberer: Do not forget to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the apple slices! I can't tell you how often I've been close to forgetting it or forgotten it completely.

APPLE CAKE

INGREDIENTS

  • 100 g raw cane sugar (½ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 130 g spelt four (1 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder, gluten free (1 tsp if using regular)
  • 2 red apples, preferably organic
  • cinnamon sugar (raw cane sugar + cinnamon), as little or as much as you like

METHOD

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the raw cane sugar, agave, eggs and coconut oil using a whisk or a fork (if the oil is solid, place the jar in a bowl of hot water before use)
  2. Mix the spelt flour and gluten free baking powder in a separate bowl and add to the other blend with a spatula
  3. Slice the apples with an apple slicer, peel off the skin and cut each slice into three, lengthwise
  4. Line a spring form cake tin (20-24 cm/8-9.4 inches) with baking parchment or coat a pie dish with a small amount coconut oil
  5. Use a spatula to spread a little less than half of the batter into the bottom of the cake tin/pie dish. If the batter is stiff you can dip the spatula into a bowl of hot water
  6. Arrange the apple slices in a circle over the bottom, allowing the slices to overlap (the smaller the cake tin/pie dish the more tightly they will overlap) and make sure you have some slices left to put in the centre
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the apple slices (in my home we do not think much about the ratio when making cinnamon sugar but I read somewhere that 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar to 1 teaspoon cinnamon makes a good blend when used for baking). You can also sprinkle cinnamon only
  8. Spread the rest of the batter over the apple slices, being careful not to displace the slices. Remember to dip the spatula in hot water if the batter is stiff. The stiffness of the batter depends on the size of the eggs you use and/or the humidity in the kitchen. Sometimes I do not have to use a spatula to spread the batter; pouring it gently from the bowl over the slices seems to be enough. But I always use a spatula to scrape the rest from the bowl
  9. Place in the oven and allow to bake for 40-55 minutes at 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 until golden (I use a fan assisted oven for this one - bake at 160-170°C if not using fan assisted). The smaller the cake tin/pie dish, the longer the baking time - stick a fork into the middle to see if the cake is ready
  10. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream

Sunday, 3 April 2011

pecan pie


The musician Sting performed Elton John's song Come Down In Time on some CD and said he wished he had written it himself. I feel the same way about this pecan pie recipe made by my friend (Cafe)Sigrun – probably under a spell! This is one of my all time favourite cakes/pies and the beauty of it is that it doesn't need baking; the only thing you need is a food processor. The chocolate and cashew filling is so good that I have no words for it. Okay, I'll admit it, I usually lick the bowl when I'm done making the filling! I have seen people eating this pie and licking their plate without feeling embarrassed. I've seen people, who almost hate everything healthy, going nuts over this pie and not believing they're eating something that's actually good for them. I think I've said enough, let's just make the pie NOW!

PECAN PIE

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 100 g pecan nuts
  • 50 g almonds
  • 90 g pitted dates

FILLING

  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large banana
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 25-50 ml soya milk
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (optional)

METHOD

CRUST

  1. Soak the dates in water for 20 minutes
  2. Place the almonds in a food processor and mix for a few seconds until coarse. Add the pecans and mix for a few seconds
  3. Drain the dates and add them to the food processor. Continue blending until the mixture is coarse but sticks together when pinched with your fingers
  4. Cover the base of a 21 cm (8.3 inches) spring form cake tin with cling film or baking parchment. If you are not going to serve the cake on a cake stand/cake plate you can simply use a pie dish without cling film or baking parchment
  5. Press the crust into the bottom of the cake tin and let it reach about two third up the side. Place in the fridge

FILLING
  1. Place the cashew nuts in the food processor and blend for about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue blending for 1 minute. Add the coconut oil while the food processor is running and continue blending for about 1 minute or until the texture resembles peanut butter (the length of time depends on how good your food processor is)
  2. Break the banana into 3-4 pieces and add it to the food processor with the agave syrup, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt. Blend for a few seconds and then add 25 ml of soya milk. Scrape the insides of the bowl and continue blending until you have a smooth texture. Add more soya milk if the filling is too thick
  3. Remove the crust from the fridge and pour the filling into the crust. Spread evenly with a spatula and place in the fridge for 2-3 hours
  4. Sprinkle the cacao nibs on top if you use them
  5. Remove the pie carefully from the cake tin and place it it on a cake stand/cake plate
  6. Serve slightly chilled with whipped cream

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