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Thursday, May 19, 2016

In The Kitchen With Jacks - Cider Cake Rules

It seems like whenever Jackpot wants to assist in the kitchen (ie. chew on a beef jerky and look at me periodically from her dog bed) there are always spoons she isn't allowed to lick, forks to test or batter-splattered bowls to run a lazy finger through. For example, she, and dogs in general, can't eat the avocados (due to all sorts of upsets) included in a recent post. In this particular scrumptious case, the raisins involved aren't great for her kidneys. I didn't mean to torment her but here was the issue: I recently had people over and apparently they didn't think chilled bottles of Woodchuck pear cider were as good an idea as I did, so what to do with all this cider! I remembered a cider cake at April Bloomfield's Spotted Pig restaurant and while I couldn't readily find that recipe, I gladly thank for her Apple Cider Pecan Cake--although my creation resembled more of a torte. Link here! Also, below are my conversions. Only one bottle of cider is called for and I bought some snack bags of pre-sliced apples (did not grate, as recipe suggests) and sort of broke the pecans in half with my hands (didn't chop) before tossing them into the batter. I thought it was a riot, and felt like a hearty pilgrim tearing things up, mixing a rustic cake for the feast of the equinox--or setting a simple table to have a few folks over coffee, or tea. Jacks is invited too, of course. 

Apple Cider Pecan Cake
Approx 330 ml cider (1 regular bottle)  
150g butter, melted (1 stick, plus 2 TB)
4 apples, peeled, cored and grated
2 large eggs
150g soft brown sugar (1/2 cup)
300g plain flour (1 ½ cups)
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
0.25 tsp nutmeg
200g raisins or sultanas (1 cup)
100g pecans, roughly chopped (1/2 cup)

1. Pour the cider into a saucepan and bring to the boil then lower the heat to a simmer and reduced to approximately 100 ml (1/2 cup, reduction took a long time in an otherwise very quick recipe!). Pour into a bowl with the melted butter to cool slightly.

2. Once the cider and butter are just warm set the oven to 180 C/160 C (350 degrees) and grease/line a 8" diameter, loose bottomed cake tin.

3. Mix the eggs and sugar into the apples followed by the melted butter and cider. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices then stir in. Finally stir in the raisins or sultanas and pecans.

4. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and level the top then create a slight dip in the centre with a spoon - this helps the cake to rise evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 1 hour (check at 50 minutes) or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean.

5. Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack for at least 15 mins then carefully turn out of the tin and cool completely. Dust with a little sugar if you wish.

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