gingered apple cake

Growing up I was an indefatigable reader, then somewhere along the line I stopped buying books to read other than cookbooks. I have a 35 minute train journey to and from work and usually spend the time doing crosswords. About a year ago I joined the library and ever since I've been reading voraciously. Recently I borrowed Ruth Reichl's book, My Kitchen Year, which featured a version of this recipe.

Now you know I can never follow a recipe so I adapted this one to suit my taste. I read a few reviews, most of which were glowing, other than one fellow Queenslander complaining that the cake barely tasted of ginger. Well that would never do, so I immediately increased the quantity of ginger and dropped the sugar quantity and used my own caramel sauce recipe.

I stew apples every few days in the microwave and have done so for years so that's how I prepared the apple sauce component of the recipe. I kept my apples kind of chunky but if you want a smooth puree you could always use a stick blender. I've included microwave instructions for you in the recipe.

The cake uses oil rather than butter so it's dairy free; it's made in one bowl and the texture is similar to that of a carrot cake. Ruth states that the caramel glaze used to top the cake isn't necessary but I think it is. The caramel sauce is gorgeous and highly addictive and I'm sure I ate more while tasting than ever made it onto the cake. The caramel sauce, a Belinda Jeffery recipe, does require a thermometer, whilst the original glaze recipe does not.

I have a bit of a thing with bundt cakes at the moment and this one came out of the tin perfectly, always a bit of a concern when using a bundt tin.

Here's the recipe for you which makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a large bundt cake, just double all the ingredients and bake for the same length of time. The caramel sauce makes much more than you need but it keeps well in the fridge. 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. 

Gingered apple cake adapted from a Ruth Reichl recipe – makes a small bundt cake
Stewed apples
4-6 apples, peeled cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tbs water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar

Place all the ingredients in a microwave proof bowl. Cover lightly and cook the apples on high for 11 minutes. By then the apples should be quite soft. Cover the bowl and allow to cool, then remove the cinnamon stick and mash the apples with a fork. If you’d like a smooth puree then use a stick blender to process the apples.

Gingered Apple Cake
1 cup plain flour
¾ tsp bicarb soda
1¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
a pinch finely ground black pepper
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt
1 egg
⅓ cup caster sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ tsp grated fresh ginger
⅓ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup stewed apple

Heat the oven to 180°C. Butter and flour a small bundt pan then place in the fridge.

Sift the dry ingredients into a medium size bowl. Set to one side. In a large bowl mix together the egg, the sugars, the vanilla and the grated ginger. Whisk in the oil and mix until it is smooth. Add the flour followed by the stewed apple in batches to form a runny batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes at 180°C, until golden brown and the cake tests done when a skewer is inserted. Cool the cake for 15 minutes on a rack before turning it out and allowing it to cool.  Make sure the cake is completely cool before glazing it. 

Caramel Sauce
1 cup cream
1 cup brown sugar
⅓ cup caster sugar
¼ cup golden syrup
¼ cup maple or ginger syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt

Put the cream, the sugars, syrup and vanilla in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Bring to the boil stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil until a sugar thermometer registers 108°C. Remove from the heat then set aside for 20 minutes before whisking the mixture smooth. Add a pinch of salt to taste. It will still be runny at this stage but the caramel will continue to thicken as it cools. When its reached the desired consistency place the cake, still on the rack, over a sheet of baking paper before drizzling over.

This was a hit at work and best of all I still have jar of caramel sauce in my fridge. See you all again next week with yet another bundt cake.

Bye for now,


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