It’s my mum’s birthday next Tuesday and I want her to have a brilliant day. I’m taking her for lunch and to the cinema but, as well as presents, a birthday has to have one more thing to be complete… cake!
She’s a brilliant cook and she always made us amazing cakes when we were young. She still makes great ones but her decoration is amazing – she can create the most beautiful, delicate three-tier wedding cakes with intricate flowers but she also used to make chocolate-y treasure chests, swimming pools, even, to my specific request on my fifth birthday, “a pink cake, with chicks smelling flowers on it” 🙂
But my mum’s on a diet and although I think she looks great and doesn’t need to lose any more weight, if I made her a “conventional” cake high in fat and calories, although she’d really appreciate it, I don’t think she’d really enjoy it, if that makes sense!
So I thought back to my light chocolate cake and, while wondering how to modify it, my eye was caught by one of these teeny things…
I remembered a delicious cake my ex-boyfriend’s mum made, years ago, which was basically a sponge but with chunks of fruit embedded in it. So, with that thought, that apple and the memory of this, I made – this!
I didn’t want to share the recipe till I’d had some feedback but my chosen guinea pigs, in the office, said they loved it so…
Preheat oven to 175C
2 medium eating apples, 1 medium pear
4 eggs, separated
95g flour (I used 60g rice flour, 35 cornflour and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum)
120g caster sugar
50g + 1tbsp light brown sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp lemon juice
Edit – 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Core the apples and slice them; one thinly, the other into more chunky pieces. Put in a bowl with the lemon juice and 1tbsp brown sugar, toss to make sure well coated and set aside.
Sift flour, xanthan gum and baking powder together to make sure well blended and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites to soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat yolks and sugar (edit – with vanilla) together till creamy. Gently fold in the egg whites, in about four goes, then gently fold in the flour, taking care not to over-mix.
Take the thin apple slices and arrange on the lined bottom of the tin, overlapping slightly to make a decorative effect for the top. Core the pear, cut into chunks and fold these and the thicker apple chunks into the cake mixture.
Spoon into the tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is starting to shrink away from the sides. Leave to cool in tin, then gently turn out on to a wire rack.
I served this as it was and everyone seemed to like it. Obviously it hasn’t got the richness of a conventional sponge as there’s no fat in it but everyone said it was nice, “refreshing” was also used – and it all went, which is a good sign 🙂
When I make it again this weekend, for my mum, I think I’ll heat a couple of tbsp apricot jam gently, whisking to thin it, and drizzle it over the top for a glaze, which I think will finish it off nicely but it’s also fine how it is.
Nb, I’ve put 2 medium apples as I think that’s what it would take – I used three of the titchy ones shown and one which wasn’t much bigger! I also thought the pear would be nice, which it was, but another apple would be great too – the amount and type of the fruit folded in is completely a matter of preference 🙂