Monday, 11 November 2013

Apple cinnamon cake

At the very end of each semester, marked by the stern voice of the examiner announcing the rounding up of the 3 hours and the ordering of 'pens down, that's it', I always feel a sense of loss. This time around, there was no stern voice declaring that it is over. Rather, I left the exam early, something that I have not done in years (though I was still the last one of my class that left). Without that statement that that was it, it's taking a while for my 'freedom' to sink in. 

I'm not sure if it is to do with age. But this morning in the shower, I was thinking, how odd it would be for exams to be over. After a full on marathon and parade of a semester, the constant striving to do better, to absorb information, the thousands and thousands of words being typed for essays after essays, I actually feel like I'm going to miss studying. It is true. What 'they' say. Studying and getting degrees is addictive. Although I do have some far-fetched dreams of being a free-lance photographer or a food magazine contributor or even opening and running my on food establishment, there are no concrete plans for my future. After what... 5 years in primary, 2 years in intermediate, another 5 in college and 5 more in university, totalling to a whopping SEVENTEEN years in education, I still don't feel like I'm properly armed with the skills and knowledge required to enter the work force. Of course, I have had odd jobs working at cafes and what not, everyone does. But to march into a proper career? Nope. Not ready. Perhaps that is why I feel like I have to continue this journey of education, to further acquire skills and knowledge. But is that out of not wanting to feel idle, to feel like, right, this is it, time for me to take my own future into my own hands and make something out of myself? Is it out of the sense of insecurity that I'd rather succumb to another two years of studying, just because that system's been all set out and that I'll know what is expected of me? I'm not sure. 

Perhaps after a good night's sleep this feeling of yay! Exam is over! will start to present itself. Meanwhile, let's just talk a bit about this cake shall we. I am pretty proud of myself actually! Normally during study period, I'd scrounge around for things to do just so I don't have to study. But this time, wow, a full three weeks without the urge to come here and blabber, that is some achievement (Though apologies for you readers for that lack of post. I will make up for it!). This cake was made for my mum's friend's birthday a few weeks ago. It's the second recipe that I tried from Jude Blereau's amazing book, Wholesome Baking. I only altered minor components to the recipe. Really guys, if you want to invest in any book, this is the one. I had serious doubts regarding the texture of the cake - is it going to be too dry, too 'healthy' tasting (you know, those healthy cakes that have really rough textures), but after making this cake, those doubts are completely wiped clean. I would even go as far to say that the texture of the cake, seriously, is much better than ones made from plain white flour. It's moist, it's spongy, it's a perfectly ratio-ed emulsion that gives that perfect cake crumbly texture. The flavour is ah-mazing. Nuttiness from the flour, sweet spice of cinnamon and the apple really makes it. There was none of the soggy mess that I (shamefully) expected from the apple. And it is SO SIMPLE to make. No need to lug out that stand mixer. 


Recipe adapted from Jude Blereau's Wholesome Baking 
As mentioned by Jude, the cake does stay moist even after a few days.
You can also make this into 12 muffins. 


Dry ingredients
 2 cups wholemeal flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup blended raw sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Nuts and fruits
1 cup lightly roasted pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
3/4 cup raisins
Zest of 1 lemon 
3 apples, cored, cut into 1cm pieces

Wet ingredients
185ml of olive oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
70g yoghurt

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 9 inch springform cake tin. 
2. Sift together the dry ingredients. 
3. Add nuts and fruits and mix well. 
4. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
5. Stir into the dry mix until just combined. Transfer into tin.
6. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until nice and golden, and the skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool on wire rack completely before icing. 


250g cream cheese, softened
40mL cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 tablespoons sugar (adjust to taste)

1. Whip together all ingredients until smooth and lump-free.
2. Cut the cooled cake in half. 
3. Spread about half the cream cheese on the cake. 
4. Place the second half of the cake back on.
5. Using a piping bag, pipe little swirls on the cake. 
6. Chill in fridge for a couple of hours to set the cream cheese icing. 
7. Serve!

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