I've been feeling a bit guilty lately about my failure to make the most of the last of our lovely Granny Smith apples; the birds have been making the most of them instead, and they are not looking quite so lovely any more. They've been getting sweeter and sweeter the longer they stay on the tree, and when the bird poop is wiped off and the nibbled bits have been trimmed they are rather delicious.
Anyway,in an effort to assuage my conscience i decided to make an apple cake. I've got a few apple cake recipes; this particular one is my favourite. It is from the cookbook, "A Year's Worth; Recipes from the Dunsandel Store" . If you have ever stopped in at the Dunsandel store on your way south down State Highway One, you will know that they do really good coffee and excellent food. The recipe is a bit more work to assemble than some apple cakes, but it is well worth the effort. I hadn't made this particular recipe for a couple of years, but having done so i have been reminded of why i like it so much. The walnuts, raisins and lemon add so much flavour and texture.
SICILIAN APPLE CAKE
From "A Year's Worth - Recipes from the Dunsandel Store"
180 g butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 large apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cinnamon
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
300 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
130 ml milk
200 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 deg celcius.
Pour 2 tablespoons melted butter (from the 180 g butter) into the bottom of a baking paper lined 22cm loose bottom cake tin. Sprinkle on the 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. In a bowl toss together the apple slices, cinnamon and lemon zest and juice. Whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir in the milk and the rest of the melted butter. Add the flour and baking powder and combine to a smooth batter.
Pour half the batter into the cake tin atop the butter and walnuts. Spread on half the apples and half the raisins and half the walnuts (from the 1/4 cup). Pour over the remaining batter and top with the rest of the apples, raisins and walnuts. Sprinkle the top with brown sugar. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
This is an ideal picnic cake and also makes a good desert if warmed through, sliced into slim pieces and served with marscarpone or creme fraiche. Also lovely served with Feijoa ice cream!