I had 6 hours of business planning meetings yesterday and for the first one my colleague Zoe asked for an “awesome” cake to keep the meeting going. Now Zoe is one of the most positive and energetic people I have ever met and living in Zoe’s orbit it is very hard to resist her positive energy, even when you are a little tired and want to flop on the sofa and watch TV. Awesome is not just a word to the adorable Zoe, but a lifestyle choice. So I dug deep into my soul and the kitchen cupboard (which is a little bare at the moment) and realised I had the right ingredients for this tasty and quick little number from Dan Lepard. Zoe’s desire could be met AND I could flop on the sofa afterwards. A perfect win win !
What I love about about Dan’s recipes is his unusual use of different flours especially rye and wholemeal. This cake only has a wholemeal rye flour in it, no white at all, and yet it is as light as feather. The apple pieces and cinnamon added to the mix set it off perfectly and the crust of almonds and sugar on the top create a textural interest to the eating experience that add to the toothsomeness of this cake.
The method frankly could not be easier. There is no beating, creaming or whisking and there is little difficult technique to worry about apart from how best to line a loaf tin. Simply melt the butter, golden syrup and sugar together and combine with the other ingredients. Then pour into the loaf tin – et voila – you have a cake fully baked within about an hour.
Was it awesome enough for Zoe? Well I know she loved it and it was a little more than just “fine”, a word I am banned from using in her presence. The half of the cake that had to leave the meeting to save our waistlines was also devoured in seconds by the rest of the team. And the business planning? Well frankly I would definitely recommend a cake to smooth that process along.
The Recipe (from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet)
- 1 medium apple
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 50g ground almonds
- 25g flaked almonds (a handful really)
- 150g rye flour
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g golden syrup
- 100g muscovado sugar
- 75ml milk
- 2 medium eggs
- Demerara or soft brown sugar for the topping
- Butter a 2lb loaf tin
- Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the tin as follows
- the paper should be wide enough and long enough to reach up the side the tin
- place the tin in the centre of the paper
- using a pen mark where the corners of the tin
- now cut darts meeting each corner as shown the picture below (like a maltese cross)
- place the paper in the tin and fold the edges neatly over each other
Making the cake
- preheat the oven to 180 C / 160C fan
- mix the rye flour, baking powder and ground almonds together
- peel, core and cut the apple into 1 cm squares and toss in the cinnamon
- melt the butter, sugar, and golden syrup in a pan over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved (do not allow the mixture to even simmer)
- hand whisk the milk into the butter/sugar/ syrup mixture
- then whisk in the eggs
- pour this mixture into the flour and stir until fully combined
- fold in the apple and cinnamon
- pour into your loaf tin and smooth flat
- scatter with flaked almonds
- dust with the demerara sugar
- bake for 40-50 minutes until a skewer comes out with a few small crumbs on it
- cool for 10 minutes and then lift out of tin and take off paper
- allow to cool completely
- serve and eat!