Saturday, 5 November 2016

Malted Apple Cake

At first glance, this recipe, from Country Living, doesn't look much different to most apple cake recipes, but the addition of just two tablespoons of malt extract makes a huge difference to the character of the cake. The flavour becomes more complex and the sweetness has a bitter edge to it. In addition, using wholemeal flour and muscovado sugar makes the cake look dark and mysterious - you just know that it's going to taste different! If you have a favourite apple cake recipe, try replacing some of the sugar (say 50g) with malt extract to see for yourself.

I have to confess that I didn't use Bramley apples, so my cake was probably a little sweeter than the recipe intended, as eating apples are naturally sweeter than Bramleys, but it certainly wasn't oversweet. I wanted to use eating apples as Bramley pieces have a habit of collapsing when baked into cakes, and just leaving little holes to show where they've been. I've also got a lot of small apples from the trees in my garden, which are really only useful for cooking, so I've been searching for new recipes to use them up.

The recipe wasn't completely trustworthy - I needed to add more than 2 tablespoons of milk to get a soft enough batter, the cake needed more like 75 minutes in the oven rather than the 45-60 minutes suggested, and I only sliced one apple for the topping and still had too many slices to use them all - perhaps my idea of a thin slice is different to Country Living's cook! When it came to cutting the cake, I found out why the apples used on the top needed to be peeled! I left the peel on to be sure the slices held together, but then couldn't cut through the apple to get neat slices of cake.

I realised, when I checked the recipe while writing this post, that I had used plain wholemeal flour instead of self-raising. If I'd read the recipe properly during baking, I'd have added extra baking powder, which would have made the cake a little lighter, although I didn't think it was too heavy as it was!

The photo of the cake, still in it's tin, isn't very good; there was no natural light by the time the cake came out of the oven, but I still wanted to photograph the cake before it was cut.

I think this cake recipe would also make a good traybake for a Bonfire party, topped with neat rows of apple slices - it would bake faster in a shallower tin, but it's pretty easy to check during baking so as not to overbake.


Snowy said...

Interesting adding malt extract to the cake. It looks good, and I like using wholemeal flour in cakes. Will try adding some malt instead of sugar next time I make an apple cake.

Julie Umek said...

It's in the oven now. The batter alone tasted divine.

Suelle said...

I hope the cake lives up to it's promise, Julie!

Julie Umek said...

I found the finished product a little sweet, actually, Suelle. I used dessert apples that were getting a bit long in the tooth, and I should've adjusted the amount of sugar. We'll see how it ages. Lovely though (and love your blog--keep posting). It'll definitely get another test run.

Melburnians note: I got the barley malt (syrup) at the organic grocer in Lygon St East Brunswick.

Suelle said...

Thanks for reporting back, Julie. I'll admit to having a sweet tooth, but you should be able to reduce the sugar a bit without spoiling the recipe.