Last weekend it was beautiful out and we had the first barbecue of the year. It was freak weather for England, to be honest, but we’re not complaining. I escaped without sunburn, too, even though it was about 28 degrees in the sun, which is more than enough to burn my pasty self. There were some beautiful flowers in bloom though I found this camellia dropped off on the flowerbed – it was so perfect and unspoilt, it seemed like it should still be on the tree, but I guess that’s the nature of camellias.
Being out and about in such nice weather is so relaxing. It makes you forget about the greyness of doing an office job in a huge, packed city for a while. And I really needed that after the time I’ve been having at work. Unfortunately by the time Monday came it was already grey and dismal again, and the hot weather was nowhere to be found. It still hasn’t returned either, so there’s a minor fear that actually, that was it, that was the British summer. Two days of gloriousness, and then two fingers up from Mother Nature.
Anyway, at least it was a) good for my baby plants to be out for a couple of days, and b) a chance to bake some goodies for the barbecue.
I did a delicious apple cake – this time full sugar, gluten and fat, because I wanted people to actually enjoy the thing at the barbecue. Not that you can’t enjoy healthier cakes, but for special occasions, particularly where there are small persons craving sugar around.
I also baked some biscuits from a Sweetpea Pantry mix because I’d had this packet lying around for absolutely ages and thought I might as well use it up. It’s not the regular shop-bought stuff, to be fair, it’s this fancy wholegrain raw cacao and flax stuff from an expensive deli in town which I got as part of some special offer. And they were really good! They have a sort of nutty, grainy taste and texture and are not that sweet, which suits me. There’s a bitter cacao-ness about them, which I really liked. I’d say they’re more of a grown up sort of biscuit than one that kids will like because they don’t taste sugary-sweet and chocolatey, but I would recommend them if you want an easy bake.
You do have to add 150g butter, 4 tbsp of honey or syrup and an egg (they say just white but I used the whole egg). It made quite a lot of biscuits – about 30 large stars and maybe 10 small stars.
Anyway, onto the apple cake – dead easy bake, really. Just an ‘add everything and beat’ sort of cake, so nothing fancy from me today. I used the star biscuits to decorate the cake just for the giggles, and even the camellia gets a turn.
Apple and Almond Cake
This is a light, fluffy cake with tangy apple and flakes of almond. Dust off with icing sugar and it can be a great bring-and-impress cake.
- 230g self-raising flour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 150g butter
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 230g peeled, cored apples (about 4 smallish apples)
- 25g flaked almonds
- Icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C if fan assisted).
- Grease a 20cm cake tin or line with baking parchment.
- Soften the butter until it’s about to melt.
- Cut your apples into slices, about half a centimetre thick.
- Stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon evenly in a large bowl.
- Add the eggs, almond extract and butter into a bowl. Mix everything well until blended, then beat for a minute with a whisk.
- Put about half the mixture into a tin, then layer the apples up on top of this layer of mix. Put more towards the middle than at the edges.
- Use a spoon to dollop the rest of the mix on top of the apples.
- Spread flaked almonds lightly over the top just before you put it in the oven.
- Bake for about 50 minutes, checking after 45 to see if the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean. If so, it’s done, so take it out!
- Cool on a wire rack
- Dust with icing sugar and serve, ideally when it’s still warm. Goes well with ice cream or cream!