I didn’t mean to be quite this much of a tease!
Tuesday was long even by deadline day standards and then, unusually, Wednesday was a 12-hour work day. Nice.
But unlike some, at least I wasn’t in the office all day and a council chamber all evening; it was a water carnival, which is much more like it 🙂
For the last one, two years ago, the paper had a float:
I knew the photographer was hovering when I struck that pose, I didn’t realise he was still about when I bent down later and he zoomed in. The result was a close-up of my backside, complete with pants shown off to the world… always a classy look, I feel.
This year, we only had a stall, which I was disappointed about. But as it poured down for half the time, I wasn’t too unhappy – the floats don’t have roofs 🙂
It was a shame it was so cold and miserable because it’s such a lovely event. All the local groups and businesses make beautiful floats, in which they do a daylight and an after-dark, illuminated trip along the canal and back and when it’s sunny and hot, like it was in 2009, it’s stunning.
What was lovely though, was a reminded of how much, however cheesy it sounds, a local paper is really part of the community. There was a sobbing little lost boy, who was brought to us (his mum’s face as she found him, bless her!), the man and his daughter I met when she was a week old for a feature on Leap Year babies, the number of people saying how glad they were to see us… 🙂
But anyway… this having to go to work lark still just gets in the way of important things, like cake.
It was the lovely receptionist Kay’s birthday on Tuesday and I knew what I wanted to make. I’d seen a recipe somewhere for a chocolate and apple traybake and although that combination of flavours seemed wrong on every level, I thought an apple and caramel cake would be a different matter altogether… the caramel is from the lovely Ricki and it’s as good as everything else she makes.
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line two sandwich tins.
3 apples, grated.
200g plain GF flour
100g light brown sugar
80g caster sugar
4tbsp rapeseed oil
4tbsp apple puree
3 eggs, lightly beaten
zest of half a lemon
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla extract
60g cashews, soaked for 8-ish hours
60g dates, soaked
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
120g dates, soaked with the juice of half a lemon in the water
4tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp coconut oil
Coarsely grate the apples. I didn’t peel because that’s the most nutritious bit. And if anyone tried to suggest it was because I couldn’t be bothered… they’d be right 🙂
Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together then stir in the apple, eggs, lemon zest, oil and apple puree till well mixed. Divide between the pans and bake for about half an hour, till a skewer comes out clean. Be warned though, they won’t look ready apart from that they’ll be shrinking away from the sides a bit – they don’t go brown!
While they’re cooling, blend the 60g dates with the cashews in a food processor till creamy, with maple syrup to taste and date soaking water as necessary to the consistency you want.
Spread on one of the cooled cakes and sanwich together. To make the caramel, blend the dates, coconut oil and maple syrup in the processor, with date-soaking water a tbsp at a time, till you get a delicious smooth caramel. Refrain from eating the lot (it’s that good) and smooth on top of the cake.
And it was lovely.
Wendy, the other lovely receptionist, came straight over to say “it’s delicious – so moist!” Although, as my colleague said, she should have given fair warning if she was going to use a word as wrong as moist *shudder*.
I think this would be great as a pudding, baked in just one tin then served warm with the caramel heated and poured over… the caramel is so good! I also think that, because it’s quite a dense cake, it would probably work fine with flax “eggs” to make it vegan too… everyone’s a winner.
And, in case you were wondering, you couldn’t tell I hadn’t peeled the apples. Score one for laziness 🙂