Despite my love of baking, given the choice I would opt for savoury end of the baked goods spectrum. When I visited Betty’s Tearooms in York earlier in the year it was the fruit cake with Wenslydale that jumped out at me rather than the display of sweet patisserie. When I saw the photo of this cake made by Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe I immediately thought that this is my kind of cake. Plus, I had all the ingredients to hand.
Johanna is based in Melbourne where it’s winter, so this moist, dense fruit filled cake must make for the perfect accompaniment to a pot of tea on a chilly afternoon. The seemingly constant wet weather here meant it didn’t feel too odd to be making such an autumnal dish at what’s supposed to be the height of summer.
Johanna had adapted the original recipe by changing caster sugar to demerara and substituted some of the plain flour for wholemeal. I added a tea spoon of mixed spice and next time I make it (which will be soon) I will try the addition of a handful of walnuts.
Apple and date cake
2 green apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
1 cup (155g) pitted dated, chopped
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 cup boiling water
125g unsalted butter
1 cup (250g) raw sugar (demerara)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup (155g) plain white flour
½ cup (77g) plain wholemeal flour
1 tsp mixed spice
60g unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons milk
Cover chopped dates and apples with bicarb and boiling water and set aside to cool - the wider the bowl the quicker this will be, approx 1 hour.
Beat together butter a sugar until pale and creamy add eggs and vanilla essence. Add the fruit mixture and fold in the flours in two lots
Spoon into a well greased 23cm round cake tin and bake in a preheated 180C for 45-50 minutes.
Prepare the topping about five minutes before the cake is due to come out of the oven by mixing all the ingredients in a small saucepan over a low heat until the butter has melted and sugar has dissolved (you can also do this in the microwave). Allow the topping mixture to cool and thicken slightly before spreading over the cake.
Return the cake to the oven for another 15 - 30 minutes (it was just 15 minutes for me) test by inserting a skewer