My friend Vana has given me a lot of apples already this year and has just brought me another couple of large bags-full from her Grandad’s apple trees, as her Grandad very sadly passed away recently. He had two apple trees laden with fruit; one of cooking apples, one of eaters. Plus Vana has an apple tree in her own garden and her parents have several: that’s a lot of apples to go round!
We eat a lot of Apple Cake this time of year but I wanted to try something a bit different and with a crunch. I initially thought I would make an apple and walnut cake but changed my mind to pecans as that was a good excuse for some maple syrup icing.
Instead of going with a cream cheese icing I eventually decided on glacé icing instead. I added about 15g maple syrup to mine plus a little water but you could use a larger proportion of maple syrup: I just didn’t want mine to be too sweet.
It should have a beige tint from the maple syrup which may look a little alarming in the bowl but looks great on the cake. I sprinkled it with broken pecans rather than decorating it neatly with pecan halves, as I thought a more “rustic” look would suit the icing. I also finely chopped a couple of pecan nuts to get the “dust” for a bit of contrast:
This recipe is dedicated to Vana’s Grandad and family.
175g soft brown sugar
100g crème fraîche
200g SR flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
200g apples, peeled, cored and diced
100g pecan nuts, chopped
100g icing sugar, sifted
15g or more of maple syrup
Pecan nuts to decorate
Set the oven to 180ºC and grease and line an 8″ loose-bottomed round cake tin.
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
Add the eggs one by one.
Beat in the crème fraîche.
Carefully fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Stir in the apples and pecans and make sure they are evenly distributed.
Turn into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour but check after about 45 minutes and cover with foil if it is browning too quickly. The cake is baked when the top springs back and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Allow to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, add the maple syrup to the icing sugar and mix well. You will either need to add more maple syrup than I have specified or some cold water to get the icing to the right consistency.
Spread the icing over the top of the cake. If you have a palette knife, it is a good idea to pour boiling water over it immediately before using it to spread the icing.
Sprinkle with broken pecans.
Soft apple and crunchy pecans in every bite, with a hint of maple syrup. Must be time for a cup of tea!
I have been making an effort to use up things in the freezer so that I can fit in some apples for crumbles, plus I have a Boxing Day Chutney recipe I want to try. But if you have any other suggestions for apples, please let me know!