I seem to have a love affair with apple cakes and if you've been a regular on my blog you may have seen my Spiced Apple Pie Cake and super scrumptious Old-Fashioned Apple Slice but my Almost Christmas Cake, takes that love of apples to a whole new level!
While I am not much of a drinker, I have to admit, the addition of brandy combined with my favorite Christmas spices cinnamon and clove creates a wonderfully festive tasting cake and makes a great modern option for those who of you who are not big on traditional Christmas fruitcake.
There's so much to love about this cake - it is made with healthy spelt flour, which you would know I am big fan of, heaps of delicious apples and the final texture is a somewhat custard-textured cake which can happily be eaten on it's own or topped with freshly whipped cream for a taste explosion!
Usually I write my tips here but this really such an easy cake, so go ahead have yourself a Merry Little Christmas! The only thing I can think of is, if you don't want to wait for the brandy and orange juice to infuse with the apples for the 30 minutes as suggested, just go ahead without waiting, I am sure it will still taste amazing!
FYI, this cake can be served warm or cold, but I prefer it warmed just a bit in the microwave before adding the freshly whipped cream!
YOU WILL NEED
600g | 21 ounces (approximately 3 big OR 6 small) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
2 + 1 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon (approximately 1/4 of 1 orange) fresh orange juice
1 + 1/4 cups spelt flour (you can use plain/all-purpose flour if you wish)
1 tablespoon custard powder
1 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of clove powder (1/8 of a teaspoon)
1 cup Rice Bran/vegetable oil
1 cup milk ( I used low-fat milk)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream (optional)
1 teaspoon icing sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup thickened cream
Dusting of icing sugar (purely optional)
Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 180C/375F and line a 21cm/ 8 inch spring form pan with baking paper, set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl toss the sliced apples with 2 tablespoons of brandy and orange juice and set aside covered for 30 minutes to infuse.
In a medium mixing bowl add the spelt flour, custard powder, caster sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder and clove powder and mix until well combined.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, milk, eggs, orange zest, vanilla extract and the extra 1 tablespoon of brandy (if you want a slight more boozy flavor) until well combined.
Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until smooth but do not to over-mix.
Grab your lined cake pan and pour half the batter in, followed by all the apples, making sure they are evenly placed followed by all the remaining batter ensuring the top looks even with batter and apples.
Bake for approximately 50 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 mins and then run a knife between the paper and the sides of the cake before releasing from the pan for serving. Dust with icing sugar if desired but it's just a presentation thing.
If serving with whipped cream, in a medium bowl add the icing sugar, vanilla extract and cream until thick and soft peaks form and dollop on top of your amazing cake!