You can never have too many apple cake recipes. Apple cakes are tasty, healthier and will use up some of your stash if you had a large harvest, or have been given a bagful by a friend. This cake is made even better by crunchy pecans that provide protein and healthy fats, as well as being sweetened by maple syrup and soft brown sugar (or coconut sugar) instead of refined white sugar. Add a drizzle of maple syrup icing and you have a winner.
I’ve used cooking apples (Bramleys) for my cake but you can use eating apples too. I think cooking apples work best in cakes but it’s a matter of personal preference: cooking apples tend to be a lot less sweet. Apple cakes are a great dessert option and make a change from a crumble.
You can easily make this cake gluten-free if you wish. Use a self-raising gluten-free flour if possible instead of a plain gluten-free flour and baking powder as they tend to be different blends depending on their intended purpose.
Instead of butter use a dairy-free margarine or a vegetable oil alternative for a dairy-free version. If you are substituting a vegetable oil for a solid fat remember to only use 90% of the weight of the butter equivalent as oil is lighter. So, as this recipe uses 175g butter, you would need 155g oil.
If you want to keep this cake lower in sugar you can leave it un-iced. I think the maple icing drizzle makes it look special and gets the maple flavour across, though. Maybe just have a slightly smaller piece!
175g butter or dairy-free margarine
100g maple syrup
100g soft brown sugar or coconut sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
50g pecans, chopped
300g cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
250g SR flour or gluten-free alternative
50g icing sugar
25g maple syrup
Set the oven to 175°C. Grease, and line the base of, an 8″ springform tin.
Put the butter, maple syrup and sugar into the bowl of a handheld or stand mixer and beat until they are well mixed.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Beat well.
Add the chopped apples and pecans and mix together.
Sieve in the flour and fold in gently, making sure it is fully incorporated.
Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and level gently.
Bake for around 45-50 minutes, until the cake is risen, golden and firm to the touch. A skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for a while and then turn out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
When the cake has cooled make the icing.
Sieve the icing sugar and add the maple syrup. Mix together and add a little water as well to thin the mixture if necessary.
Drizzle over the top of the cake.