This weekend’s Guardian newspaper published a recipe by Claire Ptak for the most delicious wholemeal apple cake, which I promptly made and which has already disappeared (we did share it with Linda the recipe tester and our local vets, who are fortunate enough to live close by and get regular cake samples). It was everything you want from an autumnal cake, and it filled the house with the most amazing spicy apple smells while it was baking. Even the cats looked interested.
It occurred to me that it might be adaptable for our granddaughters, who have a number of serious food allergies, including egg and dairy products. I replaced the eggs with mashed pumpkin, the butter with vegetable oil (you could use dairy free margarine but we don’t get that in Turkey) and the yogurt with soya milk, plus I added a tablespoon of apple vinegar to replace the acid from the yogurt, which helps to activate the baking powder. The recipe is so easy – you just stir everything together. However, do make sure you have the apples grated and chopped and the tin ready greased, so that you can get it into the oven as soon as it is mixed, as the vinegar starts to activate the baking powder the minute they meet each other!
Here’s the adapted recipe:
Scrummy autumn apple cake (egg/dairy free)
200g brown sugar (I used Demerara but any brown sugar would work fine)
200ml vegetable oil (or 200g dairy-free margarine)
3 apples – peel and grate 2 of them, peel and thinly slice the other one
150g cooked mashed pumpkin (you can buy it canned in the UK – I cut mine into chunks and microwaved it for 7 minutes, then mashed it with a fork)
150ml soya or rice milk (or whatever milk you normally use)
1 tablespoon vinegar – I used apple, but wine vinegar would be fine (NOT malt)
2 teaspoons mixed spice or one each of cinnamon and nutmeg
250g wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar for the topping (I used demerara)
20cm x 20cm square cake tin or equivalent sized round one (about 23cm diameter), well greased with oil or margarine
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan oven)
First prepare your apples – peel and grate the first two (it is easiest to leave them whole, then you just get left holding the core and you are more likely to keep your fingers intact!) and then quarter and thinly slice the third one – keep the sliced apple on one side for the topping.
Put the grated apples in a large mixing bowl with the oil and brown sugar (if you are using margarine, you could cream together the margarine and sugar together first). Mix well, then add the vinegar, milk and mashed pumpkin. Give it all a good mix, then sieve in the flour, salt, spice and baking powder. Mix well until just combined then tip into the greased tin and smooth the top. Scatter the apple slices as evenly as you can over the top, then sprinkle generously with the brown sugar.
Bake for around 1hr 30 minutes, but keep checking every ten minutes after the first hour. If the top is starting to look quite brown, cover loosely with foil. When the cake is cooked, it will draw slightly away from the edges of the tin and will feel firm in the centre when lightly pressed. Mine took about 1hr 30mins.
It is meant to be very squidgy in the centre – think bread pudding meets gingerbread!
Cool on a wire tray, then cut into 16 squares.