Before the empty-baking-tin woes once again befall the family, a batch of Applezacs were quickly mixed up and cooling on the baking rack in less than an hour. But one batch of biscuits will barely even make it into the tins – greedy hands were snatching the still warm biscuits from the cooling rack and so I turned to another trusted recipe – the Anchor Banana Cake. I make this recipe based on a recipe from an old Anchor cookbook – the original recipe being a chocolate café cake which is also very very good. Whenever I make the banana cake, I end up sharing the recipe with nearly everyone who tastes the cake because it is simply the best banana cake recipe on this earth that I have discovered to date. And I have made many banana cakes – sometimes I try another because it may surprise me and be better yet, but so far, no other recipe has taken the gold, nor come close.
But there lay a problem with the banana cake – my blog isn’t about bananas and I couldn’t imagine a banana and apple cake, though I have since come across a recipe for banana and apple crumble. And so it was a-tweaking I did go – dangerous when I wasn’t feeling 100% but I figured if it didn’t turn out cake-like, the kids would scarf it down with custard and ice-cream.
Normally I shy away from opening a tin or jar of applesauce or purée, preferring to make it as I need it, but in desperate times I reasoned that cracking open a jar of apple purée is marginally better than buying a packet of biscuits (although if they were toffee-pops that is debatable). This cake is a one-bowl beauty – no creaming of butter and sugar to persuade me that baking a cake is just a stretch too far after a full day’s work at my day job (I am an accountant during daylight hours, a mum every hour of the day, and a passionate baker anywhere I can squeeze in between the rest of the time).
The cake is in the oven within about 20 minutes after donning the apron – not that I wear an apron though– The Anster keeps buying them for me but they are on a hook in the pantry that requires me to get the stepping stool out (I am not very tall and he is mighty tall). So I often “forget” the apron and end up with clothes patchy with flour dust that have to be tossed in the washing basket.
This cake is dense yet light in texture and very moist. It doesn’t need icing but a cinnamon caramel frosting or lemon glaze would finish it off nicely. If icing the cake, sprinkle the almonds over the icing (or omit them altogether) rather than over the cake batter. The cake was deemed to be one of the nicest cakes Mopp had ever tasted – and he has eaten a lot of cake in his 15+ years.
Apple Cinnamon Cake
375g (3 cups) plain white flour
1 ½ t baking soda
375g (1 ½ cups) white sugar
250ml (1 cup) milk, warmed
3 T apple cider vinegar
150g butter, melted
1 t vanilla extract
1 cup unsweetened apple purée
30g (¼ cup) flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
Grease and flour a 25cm ring tin.
Sift flour, baking soda and sugar into a large bowl.
Add the vinegar to the milk and set aside to curdle.
Combine the melted butter and vanilla essence.
Add the milk and butter mixtures to the dry ingredients along with the apple purée and mix until well combined.
Pour cake batter into the prepared cake tin.
Sprinkle with flaked almonds if desired (leave these off if you are icing the cake).
Bake for 45-60 minutes until the cake is cooked when tested with a cake tester.
Leave in the tin for 10-15 minutes before turning out carefully so as to not dislodge the almonds.
Allow to cool completely on a cake rack.
Serve as is, dust with icing sugar, or ice it. This cake doesn’t need icing but if you like, leave the almonds off the cake batter prior to baking. Use a cinnamon caramel frosting or a lemon glaze then sprinkle the almonds over the iced cake.
Variation – for a slightly more rustic wholesome cake substitute 1 cup of wholemeal flour for 1 cup of white flour.
Cinnamon Caramel Frosting
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cream
1 t ground cinnamon
Place the first three ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat over gentle heat until butter is melted. Bring to boil, and boil for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Stir the cold mixture so it is creamy. Sift in icing sugar and cinnamon. Beat until the mixture is smooth. If baking the cake in cupcake size tins, spoon icing (frosting) into a piping bag or use a plastic bag and snip off a corner. Otherwise spread icing over the cake using a palette knife. Sprinkle over sliced almonds if desired.
Juice and zest of a large lemon
Add enough icing sugar to the lemon juice to make a thin glaze. Pour over the cake, allowing the glaze to run down the sides of the cake. The consistency of the glaze should be thick enough so all the glaze doesn’t end up on the plate around the cake, but not so thick as to be icing.