Friday, August 30, 2013

Childhood apple cake

I have a few memories of creative childhood cooking. The earliest is from when I was about 5, when I decided to make a soup for our tea. My 'soup' consisted of boiled water with rounds of cut carrot and celery. I was disappointed when my Mum suggested it might not be quite enough for our tea. I was also disappointed when I tasted it and the soup I imagined was not what I found in my mouth!

A consistent memory (and a tastier one) from middle childhood onward is of apple cake. My Mum did a lot of apple baking, although her products weren't normally cake. She made an apple charlotte pudding with a crumbly oat topping, and another apple crumble that was delicious in winter.



The apple cakes usually came from me. You see, early on, I 'realised' that if I took a plain vanilla cake recipe and added apples, it became a far more exciting affair.

Given I am no longer aged 10, I know that adding apple to a cake is not exactly novel. You don't need a lot of creativity to hit on the idea. Nonetheless, apple cake is still a firm favourite of mine. It still feels mildly exciting. And, sometimes, the apple cake I want is the cake of my childhood.

This cake is fairly plain. It is vegan, but has all the usual refined ingredients: white flour, brown sugar, non-dairy spread. It's the sort of thing our grandparents might have eaten. To me, it is pure comfort food. I like my cake served as is, but if you warm it up and add it with ice cream, that can also be pretty wonderful.



Basic apple vanilla cake
Inspired by my childhood memories
Makes 1 cake with 8 slices
Vegan


Ingredients
100g non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Egg replacer to the equivalent of 2 eggs (I used commercial egg replacer)
1 cup self-raising flour
1/2 cup plain flour
3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 1/2 cups stewed apple (either stewed from peeled green apples or 1 tin of commercial stewed apple)

Optional: 1 tsp cinnamon, nutmeg or mixed spice.

Method
Preheat your oven to 180'C or 160'C fan forced. Line a round cake tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, beat together the non-dairy spread, brown sugar and vanilla for 3-5 minutes or until fluffy. Add the egg replacer (or eggs) and beat to combine.

Fold in the flours and milk and stir to combine. Add half of the stewed apple and stir through.

Transfer the mixture to your cake pan and arrange the remaining apple slices on top.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.


It's not the most attractive cake, but to me it is delicious.

What sorts of foods did you make or create in childhood?

28 comments:

  1. Yum! Brown sugar apple cake is always delish.

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    1. It is about as reliable as you can get really, isn't it?

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  2. The first thing that I ever baked on my own were apple turnovers. Some apples, puff pastry, vanilla, cinnamon, brown sugar and butter, and BAM! Dessert! Apple and vanilla are such comforting flavours, especially when they're side by side in a cake!

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  3. I was not a fan of apple cake as a kid because my mum always made it (actually usually apple slice or a dutch apple cake that had a pastry base) but I quite like them now - I appreciate why my mum liked to cook with apples better now and sylvia loves apple cake. I don't remember creating much other than mud cake (with the real stuff) and geranium perfume (not at all edible either) - love how you helped your mum in the kitchen

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    1. I was definitely more fond of chocolate cake than apple cake as a child - no doubt due to the former being very rare and the latter semi-regular. These days it's the opposite so yes, our Mum's must have been on to something!

      Love the idea of your inedible mud cake and geranium perfume ;)

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  4. Is there anything better than making a recipe from memory and having it turn out the way you remembered? Not like that soup. :)

    I like your cake a lot!

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    1. The soup is definitely better left out of memory and out of the kitchen :P

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  5. You've totally reminded me of a story I've long meant to tell on my blog about the first "dinner" my brother and I made for my parents as kids. I can't decide if it was better or worse than yours... nor even what "better" or "worse" means in this context. ;)

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    1. I hope I've reminded you sufficiently to prompt you to tell it? I'm curious now!

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  6. Yum that cake looks delicious. In my childhood my sister and I would always make choc chip cookies together that we both loved.

    My mum used to and still does make an amazing dutch apple cake.

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    1. Oddly, I rarely made cookies as a child. What a nice memory to have with your sister :)

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  7. This is a nice cake, brown sugar definitely adds a good touch to cakes.

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  8. I loved reading your childhood story and am a huge fan of apple in baked sweets - your recipe sounds great. Apart from mud cakes like Johanna's, my first baking memory was from when I used to play at a friend house. We were allowed to bake chocolate cakes with minimal supervision which I thought was fantastic as I was only allowed to be a baking assistant at home (i.e. cracking the odd egg or stirring something) during that early stage of my life.

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    1. That sounds like a great friend to have! Baking fun and then chocolate cake to eat too :D

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  9. Oh my – yes – yes I could most definitely marry this dish!

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    1. I sometimes feel that way myself :)

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  10. Sounds like an excellent dish to remember eating during childhood!

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  11. I can just imagine your disappointment at your carrot and celery soup. How cute!
    My earliest memory is making ANZAC day cookies at school with oats. It was a revelation that oats can be used for something else then breakfast porridge!

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    1. That is a far more positive outcome than the soup ;)

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  12. Love the childhood memory! And your apple cake looks lovely.

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  13. Yuuuuuummmm! This sounds like a great cake, I just love baking with fruit :)

    I think my first cooking memory was making pancakes as a kid and burning my finger, I still have the scar!... the funny thing is I remember distinctly being told not to touch it because it was hot and doing it anyway. I guess I always had that need to test others theories for myself...

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    1. Wow, that must have been a bad burn! I hope it didn't put you off pancakes for too long!

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  14. yes I could most definitely marry this dish!!!

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    1. It invokes that reaction doesn't it!

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