Two Delicious Recipes for Autumn Baking

Photo courtesy of kazuend

Photo courtesy of kazuend

At a certain time of year, beginning in September, the stats for one of my posts shoot upwards. It always makes me smile as I know that people are hunting urgently for things to make with their glut of damsons. Continue reading

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The best apple cake you will ever taste

Okay, maybe the title of this post is a little hyperbolic, but the apple cake recipe I am about to show you definitely merits recognition!

My young nieces go to a kindergarten which is run along the lines of the Waldorf philosophy of education developed by Rudolf Steiner in the early 1920s (if you’re interested, you can read more about Waldorf education by clicking here).

Waldorf has German and Austrian origins and many of the recipes that the schools use are traditional German recipes. The cakes are excellent — wholesome but incredibly tasty. I have long wanted to visit Austria just so I can sample the amazing kuchen and torten! The preschool/kindergarten, teacher recently gave my sister this recipe and she passed it along to me. It’s a perfect recipe if you have apples in abundance — simple, quick to make and delicious with a cup of coffee.

GERMAN APPLE CAKE

Ingredients

270 g butter or margarine
180 g brown sugar
5 medium eggs
270 g flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3 – 4 peeled cooking apples, either sliced in small cubes or thin slices.
80 g raisins or sultanas

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C). If you’re using a convection oven, you may need to slightly reduce the temperature.
2. Mix the butter/margarine and sugar until it is well blended. Gradually add the beaten eggs and continue to mix together.
3. Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and finely slicing them. Add the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sultanas/raisins and apples. Mix together.
4. Line a square or oblong baking dish with baking parchment/greaseproof paper. Pour your cake mixture into the dish and level it with a spoon.
5. Bake for around 45 minutes. You might need to reduce the temperature slightly during the last 10 – 15 minutes of cooking to ensure the top does not brown too much.
6. The cake is done when you can insert a knife into it and it comes out clean. Cut into squares and enjoy!

A blogging milestone

This post marks the 100th post and the third blogging milestone for Cultural Life, after my first ‘blogiversary’ in June 2012 and the delightful surprise of being Freshly Pressed in February this year!

All milestones should have cake or some form of dessert. 😉 And so I celebrated my 100th blog post by baking this apple streusel cake:

As a Brit, I was initially confused by the name of this particular cake. If you say “coffee cake” the image that springs to the minds of most Brits is something like this: Nigella’s coffee and walnut layer cake. In England, coffee cake has coffee in it. It’s always interesting to learn how cooking and baking terminology varies on each side of the pond.

Linguistic differences aside, this apple streusel coffee cake turned out to be very delicious indeed, despite the fact that I unintentionally ignored the instructions to bake in a baking dish and not in a round cake pan. Hence, the flatness of my cake!

Recipe text from this page reproduced with kind permission from Mama’s Gotta Bake. Do check out her lovely blog….your mouth will water!

Apple Streusel Coffee Cake

Adapted from Gale Gand’s Brunch!

The Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 apples, peeled and cored, and chopped (I like to use a tart Granny Smith apple)
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped

Streusel Topping

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut up
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a pastry brush and melted butter, grease an 8-inch baking dish.

2. For the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or I used an electric hand-mixer) beat the egg and then mix in the milk and melted butter. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until everything is incorporated. Add the apples and walnuts to the mixture and pour into the baking dish.

3. To make the streusel topping, mix the sugar, flour, cold butter and cinnamon in a medium bowl by pinching them together with your fingers until combined. Spoon the mixture over the top of the batter.

4. Place the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden, and when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, and then cut into squares.

Blog challenge recipe #7: Valencia orange cake

It has been way too long since my last Blog Challenge post. Here is numéro siete. This time, I chose a recipe from Spain.

National flag of Spain

Spanish food is amazing and I love tapas dishes but I don’t have much experience with Spanish desserts. So, this past weekend, I did a little research and discovered that orange cake is a popular Spanish treat. And because orange cake sounds so delicious, I baked one using the recipe below. The cake is delicious, full of flavor, with a very rich taste. Here it is!

A slice of Valencia orange cake

Thank you very much to Erica at Comfy Belly for giving me permission to reproduce the recipe text here. I recommend checking out her site (linked above)! I found it when I was searching for an orange cake recipe and will definitely be returning frequently for culinary inspiration and healthy new recipes.

Valencia Orange Cake
(recipe source here)

Ingredients

2 organic Valencia oranges
4 eggs
1 cup of honey
2 cups of blanched almond flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Method

1. Place two whole organic Valencia oranges in a pot with enough water to cover them. Add a tightly sealed lid. The oranges will float, but they should be mostly covered. Simmer them in the pot for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When you can easily glide a toothpick or fork through them, they are ready. You can add water to them while they are cooking, if necessary.
2. Cool the oranges for a few minutes, slice them into wedges and remove any pits or inedible parts (like the nub where the stem was).
3. Process the oranges until you have a smooth, orange paste without lumps.
4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. (I bake using a convection oven setting, so I place the temperature at 300 degrees F).
5. To get a slightly lighter cake, separate the egg yolks and egg whites, and then whip the egg whites separately until stiff peaks form.
6. In a bowl, beat eggs (or egg yolks if separated) until well blended, and then beat in the honey and dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, and almond flour).
7. Fold in the almond flour and orange paste into the egg and honey mixture and blend well.
8. If you whipped the egg whites separately, here is where you want to fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter.
9. Use a spring form pan or a well buttered baking pan. Butter or oil the
bottom of the spring form pan. No need to butter the sides of the
spring form pan.
10. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Make sure to bake it thoroughly, especially in the center, or it may settle when it cools. Even if it settles, it still tastes wonderful.
11. Enjoy!

Recipe: damson plum crumble cake

DAMSON PLUM CRUMBLE CAKE RECIPE

I wasn’t sure what to make with damson plums (apart from jam) but I improvised and made up a recipe for damson plum crumble cake this weekend.

This was the first time I made up my own recipe for a cake so I was slightly apprehensive about how it would turn out but it resulted in an absolutely delicious, moist, sweet cake.

INGREDIENTS:

500 grams damson plums (if you can’t source damsons, use a different type of plum, preferably purple-skinned plums)

100 grams butter

100 grams sugar (brown unrefined)

3 eggs

200 grams flour (I used white spelt flour but standard all-purpose flour would be fine)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

2-3 tbsp milk

CRUMBLE TOPPING INGREDIENTS:

30 grams sugar

30 grams butter

56 grams flour

METHOD:

1: Wash the plums thoroughly and cut them in half, carefully removing all the stones.

Chopped damsons

2: Cream the butter and sugar together until they are thoroughly mixed and are light and fluffy. It helps if you remove the butter from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you intend to use it as otherwise you’ll find that mixing it with the sugar is an arduous chore (good for the arm muscles though!)

Starting to mix the butter and sugar

3: Beat the eggs and gradually add them to the butter and sugar mix a little at a time, stirring thoroughly until they are mixed well.

4: In a separate bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon and baking powder together. Make a well in the center of the flour and gradually fold in the cake batter you have ready.

5: Add a splash of milk and stir (just a small amount; I didn’t bother measuring but it’s probably approx. 2-3 tablespoons)

6: Add approx. half of the plums into the cake batter and mix thoroughly. Pour into the prepared cake tin and level the top of the cake with a spoon.

7: Press the remaining damsons into the top of the cake.

8: Make the crumble topping by mixing together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub it into the flour.

9: Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake and bake in a pre-heated oven for approx. 60 minutes. I baked it at 160 C/320 F but your oven may differ as convection oven temperatures have to be slightly reduced. There are varying schools of thought in terms of how much temperatures should be reduced but I have always been told to reduce the temperature by about 20 degrees. so if you are baking this in a standard oven, you should bake it at 180 C/340 F as you will need to raise the temperature by 20 degrees. As every oven varies, make sure you check the cake from time to time while it is cooking and reduce or increase the cooking time if necessary. You can tell when the cake is cooked by inserting a knife into the middle. If it comes out relatively clean, the cake is ready.

10: Enjoy your cake! It is delicious served with fresh strawberries, raspberries and crème fraîche. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment on this post.

My damson plum crumble cake!