Flavour of the week: Cinnamon. I always find cinnamon able to nestle in and feel at home in any season. It screams Christmas in the Winter, it sums up Autumn with its great companionship with apple, is lovely in crumble topping in the Summer with berries and I also like roasting vegetables such as squash with it so we shall assign that to Spring because I can’t think of anything else at the moment. Cinnamon is a year long hug, it is always there when you need it, especially sprinkled on cooked apples when you REALLY want a dessert but definitely shouldn’t.
About to start reading: Black like me – John Howard Griffin. I can’t wait to get stuck into this book, it is an account of a white man who dyed his skin and moved to the Deep South of America in 1959. I find this era fascinating and also very upsetting and shocking, the fact that it is within living memory of the a huge percentage of the planet is astounding.
On a happier note I wanted to share a ‘Moment of Happiness’ from Gretchen Rubin (whose Happiness Project is a fantastic read, can’t wait to read her next book Happier At Home) that popped up in my inbox the other day:
“Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too. How fortunate we are to be food-consuming animals. Each meal should be a treat and one ought to bless every day which brings with it a good digestion and the precious gift of hunger” – Iris Murdoch, The Sea, The Sea. This is a sentiment I completely agree with. I could write pages on the importance of food in my life (other than the obvious fact I would die without it) but I shall spare you that thrilling read, for now anyway.
Today is one of my best friend’s birthdays (Happy Birthday Jen!) and last week she asked me what cake I would recommend she bake and take into work for her colleagues. After presenting her with a short questionnaire (kidding) to identify what key points this bake must contain (allergies, bite size, a large cake, flavour etc) I discovered that she was already planning on doing beetroot brownies (excellent choice)and as such wanted a whole cake as opposed to cupcakes to take in as well. There were a few options, one of which was Nigella’s chocolate cake (as a lover of chocolate itself I generally don’t like chocolate sponge but I do love this one) but then I remembered my old friend Cinnamon Crumble Apple Cake. This cake is the one I always make when needing to impress or comfort, it looks fun, smells amazing and tastes even better. I was introduced to it whilst at university by my lovely house mate and have been eternally grateful ever since.
My top tip is make sure you whisk the eggs and sugar for the whole ten minutes with an electric whisk. This recipes makes a fantastic sponge and I am often tempted to use this method of making sponge for any sponge style cakes I make. There is one problem with this cake, it is a whole cake and usually baked for an occasion which means once it is baked you have to wait AGES to be able to eat it and there is no way of sneaking a little slice out. The benefit of cupcakes is that no one ever knows if one is missing, I’m sure that is the sole purpose of their invention.
- 200 g of caster sugar
- 200 g of butter, melted
- 200 g self-raising flour, sifted
- 4 medium eggs, at room temperature
- 0.5 tsp of salt
- 3 small eating apples, peeled and finely sliced
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 50 g of caster sugar
- 50 g of butter, at room temperature
- 50g of self-raising flour
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 9 inch cake tin.
- In a bowl, toss the finely sliced apple with 1 tsp of cinnamon and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, make the crumble by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and rubbing it through your fingers, until you get a well combined crumbly texture.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until very light and fluffy, this takes up to 10 minutes with an electric whisk.
- Using a spatula, fold in the butter and flour. Try to make sure it is well combined (I always find butter hiding at the bottom) but keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
- Pour the mixture into the greased cake tin, then gently top with the sliced apples, try to get an even covering that goes to the edges.
- Top the cake with the crumble topping and bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then serve warm or remove to cool completely. Serve as it is or with cream or ice cream.