Sunday, March 8, 2009
The boyfriend ages a year today. By the unspoken law of dating courtesy, I can't reveal his age, but let's just say it warrants a nice home-cooked dinner and a delicious cake to go with it. It's always hard when someone has allergies, and with dairy-allergies it's even worse, because store-bought cake is usually out of the question. More often than not, I have to settle with baking a coffee-cake instead.
This is my take on a classic spice cake which I have tried to turn into an apple spice cake with a fluffier and lighter texture than a coffee cake. The boyfriend's mum first shared with me a spice cake recipe which was called "Wacky Cake" just because it had really weird ingredients like vinegar. I have modified that to include chopped apples and nuts, topped with a coconut caramel sauce, and is best served with some creamy vanilla ice cream on the side. The one good thing about cakes that don't have goops and goops of cream on it is that it's usually quite good for you, and you can always have an extra helping without worrying about the calories.
By the way, I have to make a huge plug for Green and Black's Organic Vanilla Ice-Cream which, when served with the apple spice cake is the most delicious thing in the world. Of course, if you're going completely non-dairy, then you can serve it with soy ice cream, otherwise, Green and Black's Organic Vanilla Ice Cream will satiate your decadent fix.
Apple Spice Cake with Coconut Caramel Sauce
Makes one 8-inch cake
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 large egg
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp good quality vanilla essence
1 tsp French brandy
1 large apple (Fuji or Granny Smith, depending if you like it tart), peeled and chopped
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
2 tbsp chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan if you're using a traditional aluminum pan. If using a non-stick pan, do not grease.
Sieve all the dry ingredients onto a parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat all the wet ingredients together on high speed until fluffy. Turn the mixer speed down to low. Lift the parchment paper with the dry ingredients and fold into half. Gently pour in the dry ingredients into the wet ones bit by bit. Beat gently until the ingredients come together. Turn off the mixer.
Fold in the apples, walnuts and pecans gently. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes until a thin knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then turn out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely. Serve with coconut caramel sauce (see below) and vanilla ice cream.
Coconut Caramel Sauce
Makes 6 servings
3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
1 tbsp butter (or vegan cooking margarine)
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup light coconut milk
In a saucepan over very low heat, gently melt the butter and sugar. Once melted, add in the remaining ingredients and whisk until everything is combine. Reduce and thicken the sauce over low heat for about 5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and drizzle over the apple spice cake and ice cream.