Enjoy this indulgent cake with friends and family
This is a firm favourite of guests on our courses and in the holiday lets. We adapted an Ottolenghi recipe from one of favourite books (we ended up getting copies for the shop here since we rave about it so much!)
The cake freezes really well before it is iced - so you can make the most of rainy days and darker nights and get batch baking.
Makes 1 large cake to feed a crowd
80g dried fruit: sultanas/raisins/cranberries
160g caster sugar
120g extra virgin olive oil (Aldi’s Puglian is fab!)
2 medium free-range eggs (beaten), plus 2 egg whites for later
1/2 fresh vanilla pod or 1/2tsp. vanilla extract
1 lemon, grated zest
3-4 cooking apples (depending on size/variety), peeled and diced
285g self-raising flour
1/2tsp. ground cinnamon
100g softened unsalted butter
100g light brown Muscovado sugar
85g maple syrup
250g Mascarpone cheese
Line the base of a 20cm spring form tin, and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 170 deg C. Place the dried fruit in a small saucepan with the water and simmer until the water has been absorbed – leave to cool in a bowl (or you can do this step the night before by simply placing teh fruit in hot water). Place olive oil and sugar in a mixer and beat slowly until thick and creamy, then slowly add the 2 whole beaten eggs slowly (the extra egg whites are for later!). Add the seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod and then fold in the fruit, lemon zest and apples. Sift in the flour and cinnamon and fold gently until combined. Whisk the extra 2 egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff then folld gently into the batter – do this in 2 halves to end up with a lighter cake. Pour into the lined tin and bake for 1 hour – then test with a skewer. If the cake needs longer then reduce the oven temp to 160 deg C and bake until the skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin. Meanwhile beat the butter, mascarpone sugar and maple syrup together until light and fluffy, quickly beat in the cream cheese. Slice the cake in 2 and ice with the decadent, but essential, topping.
For our TOP TIPS see slides below.
Mix the olive oil and sugar
Use the paddle attachment and mix on the slowest speed. If you do this quickly the 2 don’t combine and you’re left with a runny mixture – your cake won’t rise as well. Also your olive oil can start to taste bitter.
Add the eggs slowly
By adding the eggs slowly the mixture remains creamy and shows obvious ripples in the bowl. Add the vanilla seeds/extract.
Fold in the fruit & lemon zest
I use a thin metal spoon to fold in – I have old silver plated tablespoons that have lost their polish. Dont use a wooden spoon since it will absorb moisture from the cake. Keep as much air in the cake as possible – do not beat it to death!
Sift over the sink
By sifting your flour over the sink you don’t end up with a kitchen resembling ‘The Snowman’ film.
Whisk your egg whites with a pinch of salt
Using a very clean bowl which the 2 egg whites with a pinch of salt. The salt de-ionises into NA (sodium) and Cl (chloride) ions causing the egg whites to be fluffier. Whisk until the bowl can be turned over and the egg whites don’t fall out – you can place it over your head for a party trick if feeling confident!
Test after 1 hour to see if baked
If a skewer comes out cleanily then the cake is ready. The timings for this cake can vary from 1 to 1 hour & 15 minutes depending on the apples you use: Bramley apples disintegrate on cooking since they contain more moisture than other varieties of cooking/eating apples.
Remove from the tin once cold
Leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack then remove from the tin once cold.
Ice the cake when cold
Beat the softened butter, muscovado sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy, then beat in the cream cheese. Cut the cake in two horizontally and, using a palette knife, ice the middle and top of the cake.