Sunday 11 December 2011

Rye Apple Cake - Short and Tweet

Sunday evening, must be #shortandtweet time again! Once again I was really pleased that the pick for this week was the rye apple cake. I have made this cake before in the past, but didn't have all of the correct ingredients for it, so I was pleased to have an excuse to revisit the cake. You can see what I thought of it last time here (I don't think the links to Dan's forums work any more. I'm waiting to see if those discussions are restored or not). The recipe can be found on page 136 of Short and Sweet, or here on the guardian website. The recipe does contain a (relatively) small proportion of ground almonds, and the cake is topped with flaked almonds before being baked, but it was easy to substitute for these. I used plain flour for the ground almonds in the cake, and followed Dan's suggestion of topping with demerara sugar, which gives a pleasingly crunchy contrasting texture to the baked cake. I baked my cake for an additional 10 minutes.

This seems to have been a really popular cake, from what I have read on other people's blogs, and rightly so. I haven't tasted this one yet, but the combination of apple and cinnamon is always a winner, and by some magic, the apple stays suspended in the cake, which is extremely satisfying. The first time I made it, I was convinced the apple would sink, but no. And this time was no different, apple suspended throughout the cake. I wish I knew how to tell before baking which recipes are going to be the ones where the fruit sinks and which ones are going to have it successfully distributed throughout. Hmm, I'll just have to make more cakes and practice!

I'll add tasting notes when I've had a proper piece, but from memory (and a quick nibble!), this is a really soft, luscious cake, with a lovely crunchy topping to contrast with it. The rye flour definitely adds a nubbly note to the cake, I think the rye flour I used is relatively coarse. I used an eating apple (a royal gala) which worked fine. Ideally, I'd use something with more flavour, but I bought the royal galas by mistake and am looking for ways to use them up, and spiced in a cake is preferable to eating on their own.

You can see the rest of the December challenges here, on the Short and Tweet blog, and you'll be able to see the round up here when it's posted. Don't hold your breath for next week's challenge - it's pastry, and pastry isn't one of my strengths!


EMatters said...

Good job. I've sometimes experimented with roasted chickpeas to replace nuts in recipes although I'm not sure that it would work here.

The conventional wisdom is that if fruit is tossed in flour/spice powder (or something similar) then it's less likely to sink as long as the batter is strong enough to hold it up & it starts setting quickly enough when heated. Delia has some other thoughts on the matter of sinking fruit.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I am glad you have made this because I would never, ever think that a rye & apple cake would be delicious! And here we are.

Suelle said...

You cake looks very good - I remember liking this too, when I tried it.

Anonymous said...

I sprinkled a teaspoon of "Half Spoon" over the slivered almonds on top because of diabetic issues in our family. That worked well visually, but obviously there wasn't the crunch that you describe. Some things just can't be replicated, eh? :D Yours looks delicious. Well done.

Choclette said...

C - I remember this cake from when you made it the first time and thought I'd like to try it. BUT it had no chocolate in!!!! Shortandtweet luckily galvanised me into action because I have to say, I'm really really pleased with it. Especially pleased about the magical non-sinking apple.

Substituting sugar for nuts was a good idea. The nuts were delicious yesterday when I baked it, but today they've all gone soggy :(

Whose flour did you use? I used Bacheldre Mill, which is surprisingly uncoarse - but then I am used to using wholemeal flours!

Anonymous said...

C, I made this cake when it came out on the Guardian years ago, and it's a beauty - the flavours are just so perfect together! The dem sugar sounds like a brilliant sub for the almond flakes! :)

Caroline said...

EM - thanks for the links, very informative. This batter works with normal plain flour as well as rye - that's how I made it the first time round.

Foodycat - indeed. It does seem to be a good combo. I don't think the rye flavour comes through that much, there are plenty of other flavours there - cinnamon, muscovado sugar etc.

Suelle - one of the links in my original post on this recipe was to Dan's forums where this cake was very popular. I'm sure that you were one of the people who made it and I wanted to try it too!

Misk - thanks. I'm trying to replicate the crunch of your almonds and you're trying to replicate the crunch of full sugar - sometimes we just can't win can we!

Choclette - I'm really glad you tried it, even without chocolate in it. It's a great cake isn't it! Sorry to hear your almonds have gone soft. I'm not sure about how long the sugar stays crunchy - I took the cake into work today and doubt there's any left now to check! I used Dove's farm rye flour. It's probably not that coarse, but coarser than I'm used to.

Celia - it really is a good cake isn't it - and pretty quick to put together. As Joanna said on her blog, anything that involves melting the butter is a winner because you don't have to wait for it to soften. I can't remember whether you were one of the people on the thread on Dan's forums who had made this and was enthusing about it - you probably were, and that's what made me make it the first time. It's such a shame those discussions have been lost - they were really good.


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