Monday, 23 April 2012

American Apple & Apricot Cake


Recipe Number One Hundred & Eighty Eight:  Page 50.

Mary professes in the recipe header that this particular cake has been a favourite with her family for many years. Surely if Mary and her family enjoy it so much it has to be extra special and extra yummy! When reading through the recipe I noticed that it was almost an exact replica of the Strawberry Dessert Cake I'd made a few weeks previously. I can't say it had been one of the most successful recipes, but that was mainly down to my dislike of cooked strawberries. At least this time they'd be substituted for apple and apricots.

Rather annoyingly, on the day I planned to bake I awoke with a nasty headache and could barely open my eyes. Thankfully, after the morning had passed, it eased off and became much more bearable. I hate to get behind with the challenge, so I decided to soldier on and bake the cake! I took my time laying out my mixing bowl, collecting spoons and gathering up ingredients. I felt sure all would be well as long as I didn't make any sudden movements!

I greased and lined a large deep tin and turned on the oven to a low heat. The self-raising flour was the first ingredient into the mixing bowl. This was swiftly followed by a tiny amount of baking powder and a worryingly large quantity of sugar. I dread to think what this challenge is doing to my insides!!! I located the eggs and plucked two from the box. I couldn't bring myself to use the egg with feathers still attached. I'm a farmer’s granddaughter, so really shouldn't be so squeamish!!

Next it was time to begin my hunt for the elusive almond extract. I had to abandon my promise to take things gently. I climbed upon a chair to check the treacle stained and flour dusted shelves. My hopes were cruelly raised when I came across two bottles of vanilla essence masquerading as almond extract. Eventually my fingertips struck gold; triumphantly I climbed down from the chair clutching my treasure!!

Once the few drops of almond extract had been included I could turn my attention to the butter. Rather unusually it needed to be melted. I did this in the microwave as I couldn't be bothered to dig out a saucepan! I forgot that our microwave is permanently set to the highest setting. I obviously should have reduced the setting as it wasn't long before the eruptions started! I galloped to the source of the action and quickly opened the door. Thankfully only a very thin film of butter covered the roof of the microwave! I thought it might be a good idea to let the melted butter cool down a little before adding it to the rest of the ingredients.

Meanwhile I peeled and sliced up one good sized cooking apple. As there was just the one to deal with, the process didn't take long at all. Soon I was moving on to the dried apricots. I've mentioned before that I'm not overly enthusiastic about dried apricots. Mary appears to love them; when she uses them she goes the whole hog so I'm forced to chop up a mountain. A tedious job! However, on this occasion, Mary has reined in as I only required one large handful. Snipping up the apricots with a sharp pair of scissors took next to no time – hooray!

By now the butter was no longer scalding hot and was ready to be added to the bowl of waiting ingredients. I mixed it together and then beat it with a balloon whisk. I didn't think I would need my electric whisk as the mixture was so smooth and loose in consistency. However, my weak arm was aching after the suggested minute! Finally I could tip in the thickly chopped apple slices and snipped apricots. I gently stirred in the fruit and poured it into the awaiting tin. The mixture looked a little lost in the deep tin. I hoped it would rise! I placed the cake into the oven and headed back to the living room to the very welcome comfort of the sofa.

The cake took just over an hour to cook through. It is always hard to judge a fruited cake, especially when the fruit is fresh. The cake had started to come away from the edges and was firm to the touch, so I just had to hope that all was well beneath the surface! I left it to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then attempted to turn it out onto a wire rack. This was easier said than done! The cake welded itself to the base of the tin and, when it finally loosened its grip, a large chunk of cake broke off. Grrr!

Mary mentions that this cake is best served warm, so I didn't want to leave it too long to try a piece. I made the mistake of mentioning the word cake in earshot of my little boy; he was soon hopefully repeating the word over and OVER again! Finally I gave in and cut a small slice for Isaac. The apple inside was still very hot, so I distracted my cake loving toddler with a game of car crashing!

Eventually we all managed to have a slice of warm apple and apricot cake. It tasted lovely but I think the apples were the key to its success. They made a reasonably plain cake much more exciting. The sponge had a firm and crusty surface but was light inside. It was unsurprisingly very sweet! As mentioned by others on my Facebook page, this cake isn't as tasty once cold. It is most definitely at its best served warm. When cold the cake becomes a little dry. I think we will have to reheat the remainder and enjoy it with custard – yum!
Grab the custard!


3 comments:

  1. Ouch, I know what it's like waking up with a cracking headache so I can sympathise! I admire you for going ahead and baking anyway, I wouldn't have been as hardy as you! The cake does look yummy, I can imagine how good it would be with custard xx

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  2. Hope you do not suffer from another nasty headache any time soon Anneliese. xx

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  3. Bless you Nicola! Sorry to hear your get nasty headaches too :-( Lovely with custard! xxx

    Ahh thank you Francesca xxx

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