apple and olive oil cake with maple cream cheese icing

It's a bit of an Ottolenghiathon around here at the moment. A recipe for this apple and olive oil cake first appeared in Ottolenghi the cookbook, then reappeared last year in Sweet. A few years ago, I made a version for Passover week which never made it to the blog because it wasn't very good and I've been meaning to make a regular version ever since.

I made a mini version of the cake and to do so I combined the 2 versions to come up with this one. The resulting cake is very moist and probably doesn't need the cream cheese icing but everything tastes better with cream cheese icing.

The maple cream cheese icing isn't the Ottolenghi version but my own spin and one I've used before. The apple chips are also my own addition - unnecessary but fun and easy to make. I just put them on the bottom shelf of the oven while the cake baked.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a 17cm cake. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. To make a 23 cm cake just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time.

Apple and olive oil cake
40g sultanas
150g plain flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch salt
¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
60ml olive oil
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten plus 1 extra egg white
1-2 Granny smith apples (400g)
½ tsp grated lemon rind
30mls water

Maple icing
50g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tbs brown sugar
1 cup sifted icing sugar
40 ml maple syrup

Optional - Apple chips
1 small pink lady apple
2 tbs maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 17cm round cake tin with baking paper. Set aside.

Place the sultanas in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water and let soak for 1-2 hours or until plump. Drain the water from the sultanas and set to one side.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt together into a bowl and set aside. Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1cm dice and set aside in a separate bowl.

Place the sugar, olive oil, whole egg, vanilla extract and lemon rind in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment in place. Beat until the mix is light in colour, doubled in size and has thickened a little, about 5 minutes. Remove the bowl from the machine and use a large spatula to fold in the flour mixture and the water.

Place the egg white in a separate clean bowl and whisk to form soft peaks. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg white into the cake mix and then gently fold in the diced apple and the drained sultanas.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin, level the top with a spatula and bake for approximately 1 hour (my cake took 1 hour and 10 minutes) or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If the cake is browning too quickly you may need to cover the cake with baking paper halfway through the baking time. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.

Maple Cream Cheese Icing
Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugars in a small bowl until light and fluffy. Add sufficient maple syrup to make a soft icing. Refrigerate the icing until ready to use.

When the cake is completely cooled, use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. Spread a third of the icing over the bottom layer of the cake, then place the other layer back on top. Spoon the remaining icing on top – leave the sides un-iced so that the icing in the middle can be seen – and serve. If desired decorate the cake with some apple chips.

Apple chips
Preheat the oven to 180°C .Thinly slice the unpeeled apple using a sharp knife or a mandolin. Remove any apple seeds. Lightly brush one side of each apple slice with maple syrup. Place on a rack and place in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes or until the apple chips are lightly golden, crisp and the edges have started to ruffle. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. The apples will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Hoping to see you all again next week,


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