Vanilla Scented Apple and Sultana Cake

 

I’m a lazy cake baker. Probably because I’d generally prefer to eat something savoury or spicy. Even for dessert! But there are times when the cake baking urge takes over and I give in. Usually with very little grace and I bake something wonderfully simple like Banana Bread. Recently I came across a small portion of stewed apple in one of my periodic freezer tidy ups (Christmas is looming and I need to make space!). It was 150ml and I  suspect I had put it aside to eat with porridge over a couple of mornings.

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I guessed that the 4 small mashed ripe bananas in the banana bread recipe were probably about the same volume as the stewed apples, and ignoring all the Mary Berry warnings about fruit adding liquid to cakes and causing all sorts of potential hazards, I ploughed ahead regardless. I made a few small changes to the original recipe, cooked it at a slightly higher temperature, and voila,  a lovely light and fragrant cake. Sometimes you just have to push the rules to their limits.

The cake has the same moist and slightly dense texture of banana bread, very filling!

Ingredients (to fit a 9″ × 5″ lined loaf tin)

  • 100g of sultanas soaked in your favourite tea (I used a lovely rooibus with vanilla gifted to me by the even lovelier Mandy over at The Complete Book), then drained and cooled
  • 175g self raising flour mixed with ½ teaspoon salt
  • 60ml olive oil (or use vegetable oil)
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g stewed apples
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees (fan) or 200 conventional oven

Mix the oil with the sugar then add the eggs one by one. Next stir in the apple followed by the sultanas and vanilla extract.

Mix in the flour and salt (you don’t need to be too gentle, it’s a very resilient cake mix) and pour into a lined loaf tin.

Bake for about an hour, covering with foil towards the end if it’s browning too quickly. It should be gently browned on top and a skewer  or sharp knife inserted into the middle should come out clean.  Cool for about 10 minutes in the tin then remove to a cooling rack and resist for as long as you can then enjoy with a cup of your favourite tea or coffee!

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Autumn Quince and Apple Crumble

You have probably noticed that there are not so many dessert recipes on my blog. There are several reasons for this.  First of all, I don´t really have a sweet tooth, and as I´m the cook in this house, if you want sweet, there´s always chocolate in the larder!  Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Big Man and I do need to be a bit sensible about the calories – so dessert is a special treat for us rather than an everyday occurrence.  Finally, Spain doesn´t really have a culture of home made desserts.  Yes, we have our Flan (Crême Caramel), Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) and Natillas (Cold Custard) but mostly it´s a piece of fruit to finish the meal. As we are able to get hold of such delicious seasonal fruit, that´s mainly what we eat and enjoy.

Having said that, quince are now in season, and we´ve made our annual supply of Quince Jelly or Carne de Membrillo. Our kindly neighbour is still providing us with a couple of quince (or is that quinces?) as the last few ripen and a nearby village has some delicious sweet, crunchy apples…which make a lovely change from the usual inspid, spongey monsters that are typically available to us.

Sunday lunch recently, after a hard morning´s work on the house and garden, most definitely warranted a delicious dessert and I must have been feeling nostalgic for England.  I decided to make a delicious autumnal crumble with quince and apple and to serve it with hot creamy custard.

Ingredients

  • 1 large quince peeled and chopped (or one large sour cooking apple)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of water

Put the above ingredients into a saucepan with a lid and simmer until soft and all the liquid has evaporated

Peel and slice two large apples and stir into the cooked quince and sprinkle over 1 teaspoon of mixed spice.  If you like your desserts sweet, add brown sugar to taste.

For the crumble

  • One cup of plain flour, half a cup of oats, 100g grams of grated chilled butter and half a cup of brown sugar.

Put all the above ingredients into a food processor and blitz for a few seconds until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this by hand.

Put the fruit mixture into a pie dish, cover with the crumble topping and bake on high for about 30-40 minutes until slightly browned on top.  Some of the fruit mixture is likely to bubble out and caramelize, so I recommend putting your pie dish onto a baking tray lined with foil.

Serve with custard and fight your nearest and dearest for the crispy caramelized bits.  Serves four.  ¡Buen provecho!