brown apple cake
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Spiced brown apple cake with a hint of cocoa, this is officially the easiest cake that exists. Figures then that it was one of the first I have ever baked...
Do you know what brawn is? I bet you don't. You never know, it might become trendy again on the wave of eating an animal nose-to-tail, since it’s cooked and jellied pig’s head. No, me neither, and I’ve eaten amazingly weird stuff in my time.
It’s also known as head cheese and I can see my bounce rate going sky high this minute. It is popular in Central and Northern Europe and apparently also in Britain, being one of those recipes for peasant food going back to 12th century. Its modern, more civilised counterpart will be a country terrine, jellied or not meat pâté with coarser chunks of meat.
Where’s the cake? Where’s the cake in the story? The cake below and above is in some places, I believe, called ‘brawn cake’, probably because it resembles the meaty terrine when cut, with brighter chunks of apples suspended in the dark mass. I think you’ll forgive me though if I call it a BROWN APPLE CAKE.
I’ve had the recipe for so long I can’t say where it comes from, just a printout without any heading. It must have been one of my first attempts at baking and I liked it so much (wouldn’t you? throw everything into a bowl, stir and bake) that one year I’d baked it every week or twice a week. So much so that it once ended up with cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon - the blasted things sat next to each other in the spices cupboard. The first mouthful went down all right actually – realisation dawned at the third bite which shows how good this cake is. And it's so easy I could manage it happily back in the days when I could hardly bake to save my life – as long as I could tell my cinnamon from my chilli powder.
The cocoa gives it flavour but not enough to call it strictly a chocolate cake so let's stick with brown cake with apples. The scent of cloves and cinnamon makes you think of Christmas somehow! It’s tasty, it's mega-easy and a bit different than your ordinary apple cakes. And it works with pears, too.
brown apple cakeServings: 12-16Time: about an hour and a half
- 2-3 Bramley cooking apples
- 70g (½ cup) raisins or sultanas
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 150g (1 cup) brown soft sugar
- 260g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp. cocoa powder
- 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 120ml (½ cup) milk
- 120ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
1. Peel and core the apples, then dice into pieces about 1 x 1cm. If you like them chunkier, go ahead. Throw them into a large bowl, then sprinkle or pour over all the other ingredients in the order exactly as they are listed. Leave to rest for half an hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Butter and line with parchment a large round tin (23cm). When half an hour’s passed, mix well all the ingredients in the bowl with a spatula.
3. Pour into the tin and bake for about 40-50 minutes, checking if the inserted skewer comes out dry.
4. Cool in the tin, dust with icing sugar before serving with – recommended - a large dollop of whipped cream.