Apple and olive oil cake with maple icing

Apple and olive oil cake with maple icing
Apple and olive oil cake with maple icing

Recently we made a birthday cake for our dear friend Alex, who loves anything with apples and sultanas. A little flick through one of our favourite cookbooks, Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh, provided us with this wonderful recipe. It nailed the brief (Alex loved it) but to be honest the real star of this cake is that maple icing. It’s dangerously good. Don’t make extra or you will end up smothering it on everything from crumpets to cupcakes. Best of all, it’s a quite simple cake to make. If you’re not a regular baker, this is a good recipe to try something new!

Apple and Olive Oil Cake

  • 100g sultanas
  • 275ml water
  • 350g plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 800g Granny Smith apples
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 egg whites
  • scraped seeds of ½ vanilla pod
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Maple Icing

  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g soft light brown sugar
  • 85g maple syrup
  • 220g cream cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C
  2. Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line the base and sides with baking paper, ensuring the paper rises a few centimeters above the sides of the tin.
  3. Add the sultanas and 200ml of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Set aside once all the water has been absorbed.
  4. Sift the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl.
  5. Peel and core the apples, then dice the fruit into 2-3cm chunks and set aside in a separate bowl.
  6. Place the sugar, olive oil, whole eggs, vanilla seeds and lemon zest in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on a medium speed for 6-7 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and thick and has doubled in size.
  7. Use a spatula to fold in the diced apple, sultanas and the remaining 75ml of water. Add the sifted dry ingredients and fold in as well.
  8. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and whisk until soft peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg whites through the cake mix, then scrape the batter into the tin. Level the top of the mixture with a spatula and bake for 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool in the tin.
  9. For the icing, place the butter, sugar and maple syrup in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale and airy. Add the cream cheese a little at a time and continue to beat until smooth and thick.
  10. When the cake has completely cooled, use a large serrated knife to slice in half horizontally. Spread half the icing over the bottom layer of the cake and place the other layer on top. Spread the remaining icing over the top of the cake and using a spoon or palette knife, lightly flick the icing to create little icing spikes (or you could just leave it flat and smooth if you prefer). Leave the sides of the cake bare so the icing in the center can be seen.

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