Monday 1 December 2008

Apple spice gingerbread

A recipe from another of my favourite food writers, Sue Lawrence. This is from her fabulous book, 'On Baking' and is in the cakes which keep chapter. Every time I open this book I find more recipes I want to cook. The ideas behind baking this particular cake were many; firstly I fancied something a little spicy, and didn't have any of the ginger spice cupcakes that I'd make a couple of weeks earlier left. Then J told me about a cake that one of her friends had made, using apple puree in the mixture. I thought this was a really good idea, and sounded like it would make a really moist cake. I love ginger too and so when I found this recipe I knew it would be just what I wanted.

Sue Lawrence says that the apples add not only flavour, but moistness and that the cake tastes best after a couple of days' maturing. It keeps well for over a week, wrapped in foil, but I doubt it would last that long if you've got ravenous hoardes. She suggests topping it with a ginger water icing, using a little ground ginger in the boiling water before adding it to the icing sugar. I think it would also go well with stewed apples and custard for a dessert. Or buttered for breakfast. Or with a nice cup of tea or coffee. The possibilities are endless!

Lovely moist crumb.

Apple spice gingerbread

225g/8oz cooking apples (I used Bramley)
25g/1oz caster sugar (I missed this out, as I don't think commercial Bramley apples are that sharp)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp golden syrup (rounded)
1 tbsp black treacle (rounded)
85g/3oz butter
55g/2oz light brown soft sugar
1 egg
225g/8oz self-raising flour, sifted
1tsp ground ginger (or more if you like!)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or mixed spice if your cinnamon is a bit elderly.....)

- Peel, core and dice the apple(s) and place in a small pan with the sugar (if using) and water. Cook over a low heat until completely fallen. Allow to cool completely, mashing the apples until well pureed and smooth. (I put my pan into some cold water to get it to cool down quicker - ah the impatience of youth?!?)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4 and base line a 1lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper (or parchment).
- Melt the syrup, treacle, butter and brown sugar.
- Beat in the egg, then the apple puree and finally fold in the flour and spices with a spoon.
- Spoon into the tin and smooth the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven, and place the tin on a wire rack to cool completely.
- If icing only do so when completely cold.

The apple flavour was quite subtle, but the cake was lovely and moist, and perfect with a cup of something hot mid-morning. The spices too were quite mild - if you like your gingerbread hotter I wouldn't hesitate to double the spice amount given here. Overall very yummy, and I'm looking forward to eating the remaining pieces currently residing in my freezer.

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