When we bought our house it was almost entirely for the big, green garden. A lovely wild garden is unusual in London, and someone had spent years carefully filling it with beautiful bushes and trees, so that it's filled with birds and foxes and twinkly sunlight and a sense of magic. Dominating the garden is a sprawling apple tree, its branches hanging so heavy with fruit this late summer that they trail to the ground. The kids love to scale its trunk and hide in the dense branches a la Each Peach Pear Plum, and I have fantasies of all the wonderful apple recipes I'll whip up.
Except I don't whip them up. And the huge apples plop to the ground and gather, too sour to munch raw, giving the kids a tedious chore of loading buckets with half rotten apples lest some poor folk tread on one, and chucking them into the bushes where they slowly decay, filling the air with the stench of cider. Next year we must try harder.
When we did finally get our act together to do some appley cooking, we hurried outside to collect the very last apples of the season. We had decided on some apple after school snack bars, and adapted a recipe from The Chickpea Flour Cookbook, since I always have way too much gram flour that needs using up.
After School Apple Cake
3 medium to large apples
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
160g gram flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter
200g coconut palm sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup unsweetened rice milk
Heat the oven to 170C and grease a 9in square pan with coconut oil, then line with parchment. Peel, core and slice the apples into thin wedges. Indiana insisted on doing all the apple peeling and chopping herself. Place in a bowl with 2tbsp coconut sugar and the cinnamon. Sift your dry ingredients together, mix and set aside. Using a stand mixer (ideally, or a hand mixer... or big muscles) beat the butter with the 200g coconut sugar until fluffy. Beat the remaining wet ingredients together in a jug, then alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients to the butter and sugar until you have a creamy, golden batter.
Spread the batter in your tin and top with the slices of apple, finishing with a sprinkling of the remaining 1 tbsp coconut sugar. Bake until golden, approx one hour, and leave to cool completely before cutting. You can absolutely substitute brown sugar for coconut sugar in this recipe if you like things even sweeter. Check the cake after 45 mins and keep a close eye after that, ours went from not golden to slightly burned in about 5 minutes, though it was thankfully still delicious. And our oven is awful, so let's blame that...
The cake was perfect - really creamy caramel taste and sweet, but not sickly. Pretty cool that chickpea flour can make such great base for a cake. And it cut into easy, solid bars for lugging about. Might be fun to try as cupcakes or with another fruit, I'm sure peaches or plums or blueberries (or all three) would be delicious. Even strawberries would work well. Or we could wait until next year's apple apocalypse.