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Sunday, 22 September 2013

APPLE CAKE

Good Morning to you,


Memory.... the dictionary tells us that memory "is the process of retaining thoughts and sensations".  So our memories are there, waiting patiently, for us, to access them.  

..... and today, I have certainly accessed mine. Have you ever listened  to a piece of music, then experienced an unexpected memory,  something you have not thought about in an age. You remember where you were, who you were with and the feeling overwhelms you. 

Today, I experienced a double whammy as the memories came flooding back when I listened to the music, which I have chosen today, and also when I baked today's cake.

Before I tell you about the memories, first let me tell you about the cake which we will be baking today, 



this fabulous Apple Cake..... doesn't it look good.  It is slightly different from the usual apple cake as it has a lovely crumbly topping and also you will find juicy, fat, sultanas, just waiting to tantalise your taste buds.

So if you are ready, we'll get on. I am popping on my apron and the music I have chosen to listen to today is,


Tracy Chapman.  The first time I heard Tracy's music was on the radio and the record which was playing was "Fast Car".  I loved the sound of her voice and I loved this song the moment I heard it.  Do you know, when I first bought this LP , I played it so often, that I could sing every single word.

In 1988, after living abroad for many years, our lives, as a family, took a totally different direction, when we returned to England to live.  We had to settle back into a totally different way of  life, to the one we had been used to.  It was not easy, but we  took every challenge in our stride. It was also 1988 when I first heard "Fast Car" so the music and our life change are inextricably linked. When I listen to Fast Car, I am transported straight back to 1988. I remember how I felt, the difficulties which we faced, but which we overcame, and I look back with a sense of pride, when I think about how we all coped, as a family.... we were all amazing.

Fast Car is playing as I am putting on my apron, so it is time for me to leave my memories behind for a moment and gather together the ingredients to make this Apple Cake.

INGREDIENTS FOR CRUMBLY TOPPING

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F
Butter and line the base of an 18 cm spring form tin
with parchment paper.


75g of self raising flour


40g of salted butter
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
40g of granulated sugar

METHOD FOR CRUMBLY TOPPING


Sift together the flour and the cinnamon


rub in the butter
until
the mixture resemble breadcrumbs.



add the sugar 


and mix together, then set aside.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CAKE BASE


50g salted butter
75g of granulated sugar
1 large egg


115g of self raising flour


2 medium sized cooking apples


50g sultanas

METHOD FOR THE CAKE BASE


Beat together the butter
and
the sugar until light and fluffy


add the egg and
beat into the mixture


sift the flour and add to the cake mixture,
beat for 2 minutes until thoroughly incorporated.
You are probably thinking, that normally, you would cut the flour
into the mixture, but not on this occasion, trust me,
it works fine.



Place the cake mixture into the buttered and lined cake tin


Peel, core and quarter the apples


Working quickly, as you do not want the apples to oxidise.
Finely slice the apples and arrange on top of the cake mixture.


Sprinkle over the sultanas


Spoon  over the crumbly topping

Bake in a 180C oven for about 1 hour
until the cake is baked and the topping is golden brown.

I find this apple cake only takes 45 minutes
to bake in my oven, so check after 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to cool 
in the baking tin for about 15 minutes.

Remove from the tin and allow to cool


Well, that is as long as a certain someone allows it to cool!


Here you can see the layer of cake, apple, sultanas
and crumbly topping.


and here is the missing slice, well actually, this was the second slice, which that certain someone, cut and was beginning
to pour caramel sauce onto the plate.

I managed to rescue it for a few seconds and decorated the
 Apple cake with blueberries,
before the cake was demolished by that certain someone,
who I know, you know, is George.


Just as a thought, I have made this cake before with blueberries instead of sultanas, as Danielle is not a lover of sultanas and it works beautifully.  I added the blueberries on the top of the cake as a little decoration.

Now, to tell you about my memory of this Apple Cake.  Believe it or not, it was the same year as my Tracy Chapman experience, 1988. We were settling into our new house,  and I had just started a new job.  I had experienced a very hectic day, you know, one of those days which you wish would end, but which seems to go on and on.  I had a meeting in the evening, so I would be arriving home quite late.  I was really tired, and even though I had eaten, it really was not enough, I was still hungry.  I knew what the problem was, my body telling me to stop and rest, as I was tired.  I arrived at the meeting, to see the Chair of Governors had brought in this Apple cake. The cake was large enough for everyone to have a slice. When I received mine, it was like nectar, it was delicious, it gave me just enough boost to keep me going through the meeting and the person who baked the cake (who shall remain nameless as she is shy) became a lifelong friend.  Now I know, years later, that the cake gave me a bit of a sugar rush, to see me through those couple of hours, but I console myself with the fact that the cake was fabulous and that it contained dried sultanas and apple which is good for you...... I am not thinking about the butter!

Every woman at that meeting asked for the recipe and I have to tell you, even a couple of men asked for it.  The recipe is written on a sheet of notepaper which is a little scrappy now, so I really must make the effort and write this recipe into a book, along with all those other scrappy pieces of paper which contain recipes which I have collected from friends over the years..... the trouble is, I think about it, but never seem to get around to it.

Next Sunday I will be using the Preserved Lemons which we  made about six weeks ago to make a tagine..... as yet I have not decided which meat I will use.  So check that your preserved lemons are ready and I will see you later in the week.

This week I will be joining,


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