I am off to visit the wonderful Lady K today for some belated birthday revelry and of course I didn't feel I could arrive cake-less. For my birthday last year my parents gave me a card which had the words "birthdays are nature's way of telling you to eat more cake" on the front. I couldn't have put it better myself. Birthdays should always have cake.
I didn't feel like making a layered chocolate cake this year (and if I've remembered correctly I made K chocolate cupcakes last year) so I decided to go a bit off piste and do something completely different. Plus I need to be able to transport it easily on a bus for a few hours and a towering chocolate frosted masterpiece just spells disaster. So whilst curled up in front of the cricket on Thursday I pulled all my cookbooks one by one off the shelf looking for the perfect cake to make. Strangly, nothing struck me as being quite right. Then I happened to glance up at the television and catch the apple-filled fruit bowl in the corner of my eye and remembered this recipe.
I had apples, and it looked like I'd be able to get it safely on a bus, and having been given free-range by K to make whatever I thought would be a good I decided to go for it. I'm so glad I did, the smell of the apples coated in rum and spices filled the flat with the most tempting aroma.
I adapted the recipe slightly - no alcohol, now come on, if there's one thing that birthdays have to have as well as cake it's alcohol, and if you can combine the two all the better - and didn't have a tube pan so used a springform pan instead. Oh, and I changed the sugar and spices. I also made a sneaky test cake for us to have as dessert last night. Seriously, you have to test things that are presents for other people to make sure they're okay! The result? A nice dense cake lightly flavoured with vanilla and rum, topped with slightly caramalised spiced apples. The large version also has apples inside which I think will only make it more delicious. I think it would be very nice served warm (or cold) with a rum-raisin or vanilla bean ice cream. Ah, for the want of a KitchenAid ice-cream making bowl!
Here's the recipe as I made it. It makes a dense, not too tall, 23cm cake, probably quite a few servings, but for a birthday gathering it'll be just right.
Spiked spiced apple cake
1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
1/2 tablespoon nugmeg
dash ground ginger
5 scant tablespoons brown sugar
Rum (probably between one and two shots (25-50ml)
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup blood orange juice (I also added a dash of lemon, of course I did!)
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 180C. Line and grease a springform pan (mine is about 23cm). Peel, core and chop apples into chunks. Toss with spices and sugar and pour over the rum. set aside.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the rum and stir until combined.
Pour half of batter into the pan. Spread half of apples over it (make sure you include some of the spiced rummy juices too). Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top (again adding the final juices from the bowl). Bake for about 1 then cover with foil to stop the apples burning, the apples should be slightly browned by this point, then bake for aprox 45-50 more mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool before turning out.
I hope you have a good weekend, I'm off to deliver cake and throw some shapes on the dance floor...(there were rumours of dancing, but I think I might just be seated in the pub, my shape throwing really isn't up to much)