I tried to make this cake a while back but was thwarted by cheap eggs and a late night. But, since I have a bag of rather sorry-looking Bramley apples and a pot of mascarpone that really needs eating I thought I’d try it again. This time, though, I made sure I had plenty of eggs and plenty of time…
Ottolenghi’s Apple Cake with Olive Oil and Maple Syrup Icing (adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook)
You will need:
For the cake:
4 tbsp water
280g plain flour
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp bicarb of soda
120ml olive oil
160g caster sugar (I used golden caster sugar in which I’d stored a vanilla pod for extra vanilla-ness)
½ vanilla pod
2 free-range eggs, beaten plus 2 more egg whites
3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and cut into small cubes (each Bramley that I used weighed about 165g so if you have monster-sized ones you may only need two)
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon (or, if you can’t get or stretch to unwaxed ones, simply scrub the lemon’s skin under the hot tap with a nail brush or vegetable scrubber like this one, to remove the wax)
100g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g light muscovado sugar (I didn’t have any left so, in the spirit of using things up, I made a mixture of dark muscovado and golden caster)
85ml maple syrup
220g cream cheese, at room temperature (I used mascarpone, which is Italian cream cheese)
1. Preheat the oven to 170C (150 fan)/gas 3.
2. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin, then line the base and sides with baking parchment (I used my reliable reusable liner, squished into the corners).
3. Put the sultanas and water in a small saucepan, place over a low heat and simmer gently until the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool.
4. Sift the dry ingredients (bar the caster sugar and vanilla) into a large bowl.
5. Put the oil and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape out the seeds and add those to the bowl too. Beat together (either for a long time by hand with a wooden spoon or with an electric hand whisk/stand mixer), add the eggs, beat for a few minutes longer then stir in the apples, cooled sultanas and lemon zest.
6. Whisk the two egg whites together, again either with a hand whisk or with an electric whisk/stand mixer, until they look a bit like this:
8. Bake for 70-90 minutes (the recipe says 90 but my oven is keen so I checked it at 70 and it was nearly done) until a skewer or knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin.
9. Beat the butter, sugar and syrup together until they are light and fluffy. Then add the cream cheese and mix again until smooth and blended.
10. Cut the cake in half using a large serrated knife (it will probably have risen into a dome, as per this picture…