Thursday 20 October 2011

The Cake Slice October 2011: Apple Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s been an exciting month for the Cake Slice Bakers. We’ve chosen a new cake book, welcomed new members and baked our first cake from the new book. I can now reveal that our new cake book for the next 12 months is… The Cake Book by Tish Boyle and our debut cake was Apple Cake with Maple Frosting. I’m thrilled to say this cake was fabulous and if it’s a marker of cakes to come, then this book looks like being a winner!

Each month the Cake Slice Bakers all vote on which cake they want to bake next month – we’re very diplomatic like that :) The recipes in The Cake Book are set out into 8 chapters, with the first 4 being more of your traditional style cake – Angel & Sponge cakes, Pound & Coffee cakes, Butter & Oil cakes and Fruit Based cakes. The last 4 chapters are more dessert styles cakes – Flourless cakes, Cheesecakes, Mousse & Ice Cream cakes and Meringue cakes. In order to get a good mix of all different styles of cake throughout the year one month we will bake a cake from one of the 4 traditional style cakes and then the following month one of the 4 dessert style cakes. This months apple cake came from the traditional cakes, fruit based cakes selection.

This cake looks a little plain and dare I say, ordinary on first glance, but don’t let its humble appearance fool you. It’s packed full of baked apple chunks and bursting with spices with a scattering of walnuts thrown in for good measure. It’s then served with a creamy spiced cream cheese frosting, the perfect autumnal cake.

Cinnamon, cloves, ginger and brown sugar are added to the cake batter to give it its spicy warming flavour which goes perfectly with the soft sweet apple chunks, baked inside. I also added a little ground star anise, as I love its liquorice aniseed flavour. I used buckwheat flour to make it gluten free and found its nutty grassy overtones to be the ideal base for this spiced fruity nutty cake.

The accompanying cream cheese frosting was meant to be flavoured with maple, but I’m not a big fan of maple and find it often overpowers other flavours. I wanted the spices to be the star of the show and so left out the maple and added a little extra spice instead. I also chose to serve the frosting on the side of each slice, so cake eaters could add their own amount of frosting - everyone in my house like different amounts of icing on their cake.

The frosting itself was divine and I even spread the leftovers on some crackers after we’d polished off the cake. It was rich and creamy, wonderfully spiced and not too sweet. It also kept its smooth spreadable consistency rather than turning sloppy as I’ve had happen to me in the past. It’s now my go-to cream cheese frosting recipe.

Apple and spices are two of my favourite flavours (see blog title!) so this cake definitely got the thumbs up from me. I loved its unfussy appearance, keeping secret its wonderful flavours until you’ve taken that first bite. It kept moist for several days too. I can’t wait to see what next month dessert style cake is!

Click here to the Cake Slice Blogroll

Apple Cake with Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
(Recipe adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
Apple Cake
180g buckwheat flour (or plain flour)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp xanthan gum (if making GF)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground star anise (optional)
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g butter, softened
150g light soft brown sugar (recipe stated 215g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
160ml buttermilk
120g peeled and chopped cooking apple or sharp eating apple
50g walnuts, chopped

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
170g full fat cream cheese
40g butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of nutmeg
115g icing sugar
1/8 tsp maple flavouring (I left this out)

Apple Cake
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease the base and sides of a 9inch square baking tin. Dust with flour and set aside.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and xanthan gum (if using) and set aside.
Peel, core and chop the apple into 1-2cm chunks and roughly chop the walnuts.
In a separate bowl, beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar, a little at a time, beating well to combine.
Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each one.
Scatter over a third of the flour mixture, followed by half the buttermilk and mix well. Add another third of the flour, the rest of the buttermilk and mix again, finally adding the remaining flour mixture.
Fold in the apple and walnuts.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth out the top until level.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden and springy. It won’t rise that much due to all the apple.
Leave to cool in the tin before spreading with the cream cheese frosting and serving in generous squares.
Store any leftover frosted cake in the fridge. Alternatively, simply frost each square of cake before you eat it – leaving the cake at room temperature in an airtight container and the frosting in the fridge.

Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat butter and cream cheese together until well combined and smooth. Add the vanilla, spiced and maple flavouring (if using) and beat again.
Slowly add the icing sugar, mixing as you go.
Beat until fluffy, then store in the fridge until required.


Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Oooh it looks lovely - I'm glad it translated well into GF.
You must have been rubbing your hands with glee when this one was chose this month - perfect!
I loved it too and should have served my frosting on the side like you did as I would have preferred slightly less that was on my cake - I didn't want to detract from the marvellous apple cake.

Gloria Baker said...

Look absolutely nice and I love frosting too! gloria

Paloma said...

It was certainly good! And I am happy it turned out great for you too!!! Great pics!

Heather said...

I'm so happy to be baking with you. Your cake looks wonderful!

Emily said...

Hope your GF version tastes as good as ours!

Love that cake pan of yours!


Chele said...

You had me at apple cake ... but then you really sucked me in with the frosting!!!

Brownieville Girl said...

Oh I like the star anise in there!

Great idea to serve the frosting on the side - and to eat it on crackers!!!

Abitofafoodie said...

What a perfect cake for your blog! I love the sound of this and happen to adore maple syrup so would probably choose to keep it in but like the idea of serving the frosting on the side.

Cucina49 said...

This looks great and I love the gluten-free alternative--good call to add that!

Unknown said...

I'm glad to hear this book sounds like a winner. Just flipped through the pages made that kind of obvious though :P I didn't get a chance to bake the first recipe -sad- but I'm going to try my hardest for next months, it looks like a great one.

OvenDelights said...

I agree, the frosting was amazing! :)

Elle said...

A perfectly lovely first recipe from that super cake book. I love your photos Katie...I just want to sit and have a cup of tea and some of that cake with you :)

Anonymous said...

I love your last photo of the cake - it really shows it off!

Caroline said...

It's a perfect cake to start our third year baking with The Cake Slice. Even more so with your blog! I'm glad this can be baked GF and love your addition of star anise.

Fuss Free Helen said...

Looks and sounds lovely.

I have a buckwheat cake recipe that I want to try soon, looking forward to it, I really liike buckwheat pancakes so it will be interesting to see how it translates!

Choclette said...

This is indeed the perfect cake for you - how nice to get that for the first bake. Apple cakes can look as plain as they like, they usually taste pretty damn good. Yours sounds delicious and I like the idea of using a spicy icing too.