Christmas Day is less than a week away so I say bring out all the ginger you have and let’s go to town! We’re making gingerbread, dark and tender and moist and spiced and citrusy. And then we’re topping it all with apples cooked in butter, sugar and whiskey because it’s not a party without it.
Plus, an apple a day and all that. Hee.
The recipe comes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh’s new book Sweet. So hard to decide what to make first from a cookbook as stunning as this one!! But given the season, the gingerbread was calling my name. The original recipe makes a much larger cake and since I don’t have cake tins or a big oven that will allow that, I halved the recipe and made a few more changes. Orange juice instead of the zest (reducing the amount of hot water to compensate for the juice), a bit more ginger and only brown sugar instead of caster as well, allowing the apples to compensate for it.
The cake itself is tender though on the denser side, and packed packed packed with flavour. Molasses shines through and it’s gingerbread, so the ginger is of course, prominent. Orange adds just the right amount of festive flair to the whole thing. And the spices are perfect with the apples that are tender, juicy, buttery and boooooozy!
I liked this cake best warmed up, with the apples heated up too. It’s super soft this way and completely delicious. However, while the cake can be made the day before, the apples are best cooked on the day so that they are still super saucy, and it seeps right into the cake. Yummmmm.
The original recipe in the book uses brandy for the apples, but I had whiskey only, so that’s what I used. A dark rum would be great too!
I love the sound of this cake for a Christmas teatime snack. It’s absolutely meant to be eaten with a steaming mug of your favourite hot beverage. So good! I hope you’ll try this one today 🙂
- For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps ginger powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tbsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt if using unsalted butter
- ½ cup butter, melted but not boiling hot
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup brown sugar (preferably the dark, soft variety)
- ½ cup molasses
- 1 medium orange, juiced
- ½ cup freshly boiled water
- For the apples
- 4 red apples
- Juice of half an orange, optional but the flavour is great
- ¼ cup butter (50 gms)
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
- ¼ cup whiskey (or brandy or rum)
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt, if using. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C and grease a 9x5 loaf tin.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, eggs, sugar and molasses. Mix well, then add the orange juice and hot water. Mix again.
- Fold in the flour mixture gradually, removing any lumps as you go. Run a hand mixer through the batter if needed to remove any stubborn lumps.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Cover the tin loosely with foil if the top is darkening too fast.
- Let the cake cool while you prep the apples.
- Peel, core and slice the apples and toss them in the orange juice.
- In a non-stick pan, place the apple slices (keep the juices aside) in a single layer and cook them on both sides until lightly golden. Do this is in batches if you need to, but make sure the apple slices are not crowded together.
- Remove the apples from the pan, then melt the butter in the same pan.
- Add the sugar and vanilla pod and stir, then add the apples back in, stirring well to coat them in the butter and sugar. Cook till the apples soften but don't let them get mushy.
- Finally, pour in the whiskey and any remaining juices from the apples. Cook for 2 to 3 more minutes until the liquid thickens and bubbles slightly.
- Turn off the heat, and serve the apples warm with large slices of the cake. Enjoy!
*The vanilla pod is recommended for a lovely flavour and those pretty black specks on the apples, but you can also use 1 tsp vanilla extract.
*You can also make this cake in an 8" round cake tin.
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