I found a very nice recipe on Nigella.com for an Apple and Almond cake. The recipe doesn’t use flour, butter or oil, except for greasing. It just uses apples, sugar, eggs and almonds, with a little lemon juice. What could be simpler.
I adjusted the recipe a little, by beating the egg whites separately, until they formed soft peaks, and then folded them into the batter. Now that made the volume somewhat more than Nigella’s recipe, so I had to improvise by increasing the height of the cake tin using silver foil. Also the cooking time needed for my cake was longer than Nigella suggested. She says ‘ovens vary’. She doesn’t mention, but I think it is very significant, that apple sizes vary also. So saying 3 apples, chopped and pureed actually rather imprecise. The amount of puree you end up with is bound to impact the cooking time. So it was with mine. I actually cooked my cake for 62 minutes, and I think a further 5 minutes would have been even better. So if you decide to try Nigella’s recipe, which I reproduce below, be prepared to adjust the cooking time. Also, if you follow Nigella’s recipe the cake will be of a heavier consistency than mine, as I whipped the egg whites separately.
for the apple puree
- 3 tart eating apples (such as braeburns)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons caster sugar
for the cake
- 1 splash of vegetable oil to grease tin
- 8 large eggs
- 325 grams ground almonds
- 275 grams caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 50 grams flaked almonds
- Peel, core and chop the apples roughly. Put them in a saucepan with the lemon juice and sugar and bring the pan to a bubble over a medium heat. Cover the pan and cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until you can mash the apple to a rough puree with a wooden spoon or fork. Leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to Gas mark 4/180ºC/350ºF; oil a 25cm / 10 inch springform tin with almond or a flavourless vegetable oil and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Put the cooled puree in the processor with the eggs, ground almonds, caster sugar and 1 tablespoon – or generous squeeze – of lemon juice and blitz to a puree. Pour and scrape, with a rubber spatula for ease, into the prepared tin, sprinkle the flaked almonds on top, and bake for 45 minutes. It’s worth checking after 35 minutes, as ovens do vary, and you might well find its cooked earlier – or indeed you may need to give a few minutes longer.
- Put on a wire rack to cool slightly, then spring open. This cake is best served slightly warm, though still good cold.
- As you bring it to the table, push a teaspoon of icing sugar through a fine sieve to give a light dusting.