Spiced apple & pear cake...

Another nice one from The Hairy Bikers - well on this occasion Hairy Dieters ;) Again, I was looking for a "lighter" cake, something I can enjoy and indulge in but not feel guilty. Well, OK I don't think I ever felt guilty because of eating something I enjoy! And I'm not about to start ;) But recently I make my food choices more carefully, maybe because it was my birthday just few days ago, or maybe because I've realized that I can eat healthier, make better choices when it comes to food without compromising on taste! I'll still keep baking rich, buttery cakes, but will also make those healthier ones more often.
Spiced apple & pear cake - original recipe, which comes from one of the Hairy Dieters (Bikers) cook books (I recently got all 3), calls for only apples. I got both at home so decided to make it super fruity. It's not that spicy, as the title might suggest, but it has a nice warmth to it. The cake is quite moist, but crumbly and sweet, even though there's not much sugar in it. All in all - nice piece of cake to go with your cup of tea or coffee.

spiced apple cake

How to make it...

- oil, for spraying
- 750 g Bramley cooking apples (had 4 apples and 4 pears)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
- 250 g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
- 2 large eggs
- 100 g demerara sugar, plus 2 tbsp
- 200 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 100 ml sunflower oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sifted icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Fan 170°C. Line a 23 cm spring clip cake tin with baking parchment. Mist the base and sides with oil.
Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the cores and cut the apples into thin slices – you’ll need about 500 g prepared weight. Put the apple slices in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice and zest.
Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spice in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs with the 100 g of sugar, the milk and sunflower oil in a separate medium bowl using a large metal whisk. Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring lightly until combined – use the whisk to break up any stubborn lumps. Toss the lemony apples through the cake batter until evenly mixed and pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
Sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top and bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour until it is well risen and golden on top. Test the cake by inserting a skewer into the centre – it should slide easily through the apples in the middle and come out clean.
Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes before removing it from the tin and carefully peeling off the baking parchment. Dust with sifted icing sugar and serve warm or cold with a little single cream or half-fat crème fraiche.


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