25 December 2012

spiced apple & walnut cake with a side of random thoughts & merry christmas! xxx

I haven't baked in months and really wanted to write beautiful, thought-provoking content to accompany the photos of this cake I made. (the cake was a success - yes!!)  But all I have are random thoughts.  Although I can assure you that there is food involved in these random thoughts!

Random thought 1:

Sometimes, when I walk through town, I daydream about the kind of job I could have.  And those thoughts evidently lead to...if I got a job here, is there any good eats around for lunch?  And more importantly, how far will I be from the nearest cafe with the best or my favourite coffee?  You know, the important things!

By the way, I used Lemonade apples.  They were new at the supermarket and I was intrigued to see how they would taste and hold up to being used in baking.  Verdict: It's okay - holds up to baking well even though I cut them into quite small and thin slices.  But it's not very sweet or fragrant.  Not very 'apple-ly'.  I think you could use type of apples really for this cake, just as long as they're fresh and still crunchy.

Random thought 2:

Sometimes there's either little in the fridge or only with odd bits that I wouldn't normally put together as part of a well thought-out dish.  This happens often and is usually when we're at the end of the pay cycle and it's two days away from pay day.  I'd stare at what I have with fierce determination and bash out dinner with one or two concoctions, made up with whatever I've got to work with.  Sometimes I'm asked never to make the dish again.  Ever.  But sometimes I surprise myself and it works brilliantly, and I think...how things could've been so different had I gone to cooking school and pursued a career as a chef.  I'd have mad knife skills for one!

By the way, if you're wondering why the cake is so dark in colour, it's because of the 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon used.  I love cinnamon and didn't mind it at all that the cake was so heavily spiced.  But 2 teaspoons is plenty if you want a lighter spiced cake.

The cake batter is also rather lumpy-ish and you might think that there's too much apples to batter.  But go with it.  The fragrant spiced batter rises through the gaps between all that fruit and nuts as it bakes, and ends up looking like a pretty normal cake once cooked.

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may have noticed a difference with the photos for this post.  Yours truly had a sudden wave of creativity (yes, creativity - just go with that too) and decided to have a play around with the food styling.

So okay.  There isn't that much styling going on here - just strategically placed items on some brown paper that's actually recycled brown paper bags from a couple of delis.  And since I had these 'vintage' plates and cutlery like forever ago and haven't used them, I thought perhaps it was about time!

This is seriously good cake.  Even better with a dollop of thick Greek style yoghurt or slightly thickened cream on the side, and much nicer if eaten slightly warm.  It keeps well for 3 days in an airtight container.

Random thought 3:

Still on the job-career-food thoughts - my Dad's a businessman and has always had his own business from as early as I can remember.  According to him, entrepreneurship is supposed to run 'in the family', but I obviously did not get that memo.  So here's my last random thought for this post...

Sometimes when I'm on the bus or walking home, I think about owning my own business - specifically a deli.  By the time I arrive home, I'd have some idea on the name of the deli, branding, marketing plan, ideal sites/suburbs, products, packaging, etc.  By the time I change into my comfy clothes...I've reached the stage of madness where I am talking to myself: "Do you want to work 7 days a week, 14 hour days and have to deal with the IRD and the revolving door of staff?  Are you MAD?!"

So there ends my random thoughts for this post.

Have a gorgeous Christmas, happy feasting, merry drinking, spread the love and who knows!  Next year, maybe some (if not all) of our dreams might just come true...even the ridiculous ones. Happy summer everyone! :-)


Spiced Apple & Walnut Cake
I got the recipe for this cake from an episode of Annabel Langbein's Simple Pleasures.

3 large apples, peeled, cored, quartered and then sliced
250g butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly whisked
2 ½ cup plain flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup sultanas
½ cup walnuts

Have a large pot ready on the stove top – big enough for melting butter and mixing the cake batter

  1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Prepare a springform cake tin by lightly greasing the sides and bottom with butter, then line the bottom with greaseproof/baking paper.
  2. Melt butter in a large pot. Once melted, remove from the heat and stir in the apple pieces.
  3. Stir to coat apples with butter.
  4. Add sugar and eggs, and stir lightly to mix.
  5. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
  6. Also add sultanas and walnuts.
  7. Stir to mix until the mixture is wet – do not over mix but just enough so that the flour and mixed through and wet. The mixture should not be ‘smooth’.
  8. Pour mixture into prepared cake tin, level the top out and bake for 1 hour and 20 mins, or until the cake is cooked (test by inserting a skewer into the middle of the cake – cake is cooked if skewer comes out clean).
  9. Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave the cake in the tin for 5 minutes before removing onto a cake rack to cool.  You could dust the top with some icing sugar once the cake is cooled if you like.

This cake is also my contribution to December's Sweet New Zealand, hosted by sweet Lydia of Lydia Bakes.


  1. Lovely post, thoughts and styling too! Glad to know I'm not the only "mad" person to blog on Christmas Day.

    1. I got a little bored late morning and early afternoon, so it was a good enough day as any to post this! :-)

  2. Love your random thoughts and this cake sounds delicious. Hope that one day you strike upon that business idea that will make your Dad proud of your entrepreneurism.

    1. Think I might have missed several boats on the business front Julie! But it's nice to daydream about it though. :-)

  3. Wonderful cake...& I love random! Happy Christmas & hope to see you soon for more food adventures!!

    1. Yes! More visits up north and more food adventures with you lot up there. :-)

  4. That's an gorgeous and full of flavour cake....love it....

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