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Autumn Apple Cake with Crumble Topping – Ottolenghi Style

Apple cake crumble topping

This cake is a variation on Ottolenghi’s beautiful Amaretto and Pear cake from their Cookbook which I tried originally a few weeks ago.  In fact this is the third version of this cake I have made so far.

I used Egremont Russets as well as some of the Red Pippins both from the three graft family apple tree at the bottom of our garden. They are lovely apples but the Russets in particular don’t store very well, so as always at this time of year I have to think of ways to use them up.

Not so long ago I said I didn’t like cakes made with oil. This one however is just perfect so I eat my words, or maybe, just another slice…. I made a double batch and have put three loaf cakes by for another day, as they freeze well.

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The walnuts together with the cinamon can give the cake a warm pinky tinge so if you don’t like this colour then leave the walnuts out or maybe consider using hazelnuts.

Chocolate Autumn Apple Cake

I also made a variation on this cake using 180 g of dark chocolate chips in the mixture and no cinammon with pears and amaretti and adding a dessertspoon of cocoa to the crumble topping which was very delicious too: I made little half pound cakes with this version and they took about 40 minutes to bake, but I did put eight tins in the oven at the same time.  It’s a very flexible recipe.

There are a fair few bowls involved, which is why each time I make it I double up the quantities and make extra cakes to give away or freeze, plus I have loads of apples to use up.

The original recipe has been blogged by Moveable Feasts here and converted to cups .

cider vinegar

With the peelings from the apples I am having an experiment at making apple cider vinegar along with a whole gang of fans of Carl’s Llyn Lines blog. I have Sandor Katz’s wonderful book but I am spurred to action by Carl who is a great experimenter. Misk is also doing the cider vinegar experiments and you can read about them here on her funny and witty blog.  I am very fond of apple cider vinegar in chutney making, particularly of a variety of balsamic apple vinegar made by Aspall. I don’t think mine will be as good as that, but if this jar turns into vinegar that is usable I will be very pleased.   In the meantime, cake anyone?

Now what shall I do with the rest of my apples….

PS For home made vanilla extract, there is a perfect description here of the process.

37 thoughts on “Autumn Apple Cake with Crumble Topping – Ottolenghi Style

  1. Misk Cooks

    (gasp!) Caaaaake. Ooooow. One day I’m going to show up on your door step, and beg for a taste of everything containing sugar. There are times when I wonder who’s more effected by diabetes – the person with it or the person who doesn’t eat sugar in support of the person who can’t eat sugar. Sugar is pretty much a substance-non-grata in this house, well except for when P. travels, and then I buy a Mars bar and nibble on it. He’s back home tomorrow, so I have to finish off my Mars bar today.

    Anyway, what a spectacular celebration to the humble apple. Well done!

    And thank you for the link-back.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Tricky the sugar thing, and especially when one has baskets full of fruit. I could make plain apple sauce I guess but my freezer is chock full of sloes and cherries and goodness knows what. And I’m not that fond of apple sauce…. But anytime you want a little sliver of cake let me know :)

      1. Misk Cooks

        My house is always filled with mountains of various fruit, which is how we satisfy our sweets cravings (or when munchies hit), but I have to admit that a piece of cake is far nicer than a banana.

        Joanna, I don’t know what sloes are. I’m not sure that I’ve even seen one before. What are you making with your sloes?

        1. Joanna Post author

          Small acrid/bitter relation of the plum, the fruit of the blackthorn.Traditionally pricked all over, buried in sugar and gin and left to flavour the alcohol. Can also make wine (Carl is doing a series of posts on sloes) though I don’t do wine making.

          I found them still too bitter to eat last year, even after having been steeped in gin and sugar, but Carl is making jam with his…

          I don’t know what you could do with them on account of the sugar needed to make them palatable. :(

          1. Joanna Post author

            Just had a thought that maybe you could make them into a dark fruit vinegar though… you’d have to consult the Fermentation Meastro over in Wales… ;)

  2. Anne

    Lovely: I really like cakes with crumble toppings and I have so many apples at the moment with all the neighbours giving me some of theirs ! A good idea to make a few cakes and freeze some.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It unfroze very well, and the crumble topping didn’t come off which is what I thought might happen. I don’t normally make cakes in big batches like this, but I’m drowning in apples and pears :)

  3. sallybr

    Oh, Joanna…. I keep saying I don’t have a sweet tooth, but I guess I’m quickly developing it…

    what a great cake, I am tempted to try it

    1. Joanna Post author

      Brian says it’s like a National Trust cake. i.e. the sort of cake you have after you have wandered round some stately home or garden and stop for the cup of tea and cake before the gift shop. I think he meant it as a compliment. The cake stop is always the highlight of the visit for him (and for me if truth be told :) )

  4. ceciliag

    I love baking with apples and more importantly I am fascinated by this vinegar. i shall start one today I think and it can sit in the distillery with the wine and the ginger beer.. you have galvanised me into action. c

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Cecilia, It sounds like such a good idea doesn’t it? Certainly worth a try as you don’t really waste anything by giving it a go. I wonder whose will ‘turn’ first?

  5. teawithhazel

    who said ‘an apple a day’ can’t be in cake? am having my morning cup of tea as i write this and a slice of your cake would go down very well with it..

    1. Joanna Post author

      I wish I could magically send one to you jane. I just had a slice and it’s almost bedtime. Tsk tsk, cake before bedtime….

  6. heidi

    This looks really wonderful! The crumble topping is like a bonus!
    I just had some apple “bread” at a tea- and I’m thinking I will make this for the next one- just have to figure it out in cups! :)

  7. heidi

    When do you add the almond meal?
    I’ve read through the recipe 3 times and can’t find the mix in point.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Oh sorry, don’t know what happened there, too many drafts I think. Add the almond meal with the flour and baking powder etc. I’ve amended the recipe, thanks Heidi for your patience. And I have put a link to another blog where the original pear amaretti version has been done in cups, that also was in an earlier draft. I hope that helps!

      1. heidi

        I made this this morning- using macadamia nuts and meal- and 1 pear and one apple.
        It is quite lovely to look at- and even lovelier to eat!
        I had already used a converter for the amounts- and I liked my measures better than the blog’s- so I just used what I had.
        Thanks for the recipe- and the inspiration- my knitting group was VERY happy this morning!

        1. Joanna Post author

          Thank you for trying it out Heidi – I am looking forward to seeing your version, I think it’s one of the nicest apple/pear cakes I have ever tried :)

  8. cityhippyfarmgirl

    A perfect Autumn cake.
    Apple? Crumble? Cake? All together, yes please.
    Good luck with the apple cider vinegar. How long does it take until it’s ready to go?

    1. Joanna Post author

      Brydie, I think maybe three to four weeks. You let it sit for about ten days and then strain it, leave again, doing regular tastings till you are happy with it and then strain and put in a sterilised bottle. It sounds too easy doesn’t it? I’ll report back on the results. And of course you may have some cake :D

  9. Yvette

    What a wonderful looking cake…with all those apples and the crunchy crumble topping who could resist. Not me! Sounds like a good idea for my kitchen antics today. I have a overload stock of apples. Outside today our Spring weather has faded, and its a stay home rainy cooking day. Have a great day! x

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Yvette, I’ve added a couple of corrections if you do decide to have a go at this one. We are having a heat wave here, apparently it’s hot Turkish air, a faint whiff of roasting pistachios and rosewater scented delight is swirling up from Southern Europe and people are hastily digging out their shorts and sandals having put them away. Have a good day you too ! x

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Emily. I wish I came from a ‘baking family’ with traditions like you and other bloggers, but most of what I do on the cake front is learnt from books and recipes in The Guardian and from you all! :D

      I reckon that crumble topping could go on a lot of cakes, and maybe one could add grated nuts in there or a little ground oatmeal, in fact anything that one puts in a regular crumble…

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    1. Joanna Post author

      Hi Kari, thanks for visiting ! I need to find some more apple cake recipes to use up all my scary apples – but this really is one I recommend. There is also a very lovely Dan Lepard apple and rye flour loaf cake in its original form on the Guardian that I have made many times in the past, and maybe, that would work with a crumble topping too… it’s also in his new book in pride of place on my bookshelf Short and Sweet (which is fabulous!)

  11. Choclette

    He he Joanna, I’m making apple cakes by the score (slight exaggeration) at the moment to use up all the apples my mother keeps bringing me in from her trees. Haven’t made this one though and it sounds delicious of course. I seem to remember you saying in the dim and distant past that you weren’t very confident with cakes. Glad to see you’re not saying that any more ;-) Am so enjoying Dan’s book, lots of unusual ingredients and combinations as well as lots of useful tips. As for the apple cider vinegar – what a good idea. We have the book, but have not tried that.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Make this one – I thought of you as I daringly threw chocolate chips in there and made the choc crumble – thinking Choclette would do something like this…. I like cakes which don’t need icing or involve the piping bag. But…. I wanted to say try Dan’s sourcream chocolate frosting. It really works brilliantly !!!! No splitting, ganache perfection, just do exactly what he says.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Lynds, it is delicious but it takes lots of bowls though… ;) I’m going to try Carla’s recipe next…

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