This Apple and Olive Oil Cake is probably one of the first cakes I ever made from Ottolenghi’s ‘The Cookbook’. It’s a total winner of a recipe. I’ve made it several times now and people always love this moist Apple and Olive Oil Cake and don’t even get me started on that out-of-this-world-delicious maple icing! Who would have thought that maple syrup would go so well with cream cheese.
Ottolenghi’s Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Icing
4 tablespoons water
280g plain flour
½ a teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ a teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
120ml olive oil
160g caster sugar
½ a vanilla pod
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 bramley apples, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
grated zest of a lemon
2 egg whites
icing sugar for dusting (optional)
100g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
100g light muscovado sugar
85ml maple syrup
220g cream cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to170°C. Grease a 20-cm springform cake pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Place the raisins and water in a medium saucepan and simmer over low heat until all of the water has been absorbed. Leave to cool. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
Put the oil and sugar in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the bowl (or add extract). Whisk the oil, sugar and vanilla together (you could do this with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment). Gradually add the eggs to the mixture and mix until smooth and thick. Mix in the diced apples, sultanas and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Gently fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the surface. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the plan. When completely cooled, remove the cake from the tin and cut in half horizontally using a large serrated knife to form 2 discs. If the cake is very domed, you might need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
To make the icing, beat together the butter and maple syrup and muscovado sugar until light and airy.You can do this by hand, or preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Next add in the cream cheese and beat until it’s totally smooth (preferably with the whisk attachment).
Using the a spatula, spread a layer of icing 1 cm thick (half of the recipe) over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust it with confectioners’ sugar or sprinkle with some cinnamon, if you like.
* for a slightly healthier version, you can simply sift some icing sugar on the top of the cake but the icing does add that added yumminess dimension to the cake!
This cake is great for making ahead as it actually improves with age. Ottolenghi, recommends double-wrapping the cake in cling film once cooled and leaving to mature for two to three days before assembly. That means make the icing on the day you will be eating the cake.
How good does this look right? I feel like a slice right now, nom nom…