Ottolenghi's Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing

Apples and olive oil.  Fresh, light, healthy, summery but most of all, light (again).  Without the icing, this cake is a spectacular snack.  With the icing, this cake is a bundle of joy waiting to be embraced.

This cake is in fact an Ottolenghi invention.  I worked as a waitress at the Ottolenghi shop in Notting Hill for some time and I was always ready to rush to the kitchen and see if there were any broken pieces of the apple and olive oil cake to have a taste.

This cake was for my friend Claudia's on her birthday (hence the later C on the cake) as she was having a dinner party for the 'la festa del Redentore' (Redemption Party), which is one of the largest annual events in Venice. Everyone has dinner parties outdoors in the piazzas, by the canals, in their boats.  Fireworks start around midnight and parties go on all night.

I got a phone call the day after the party from an anonymous number.  A girl that had tried the cake the night before called to ask me the recipe.  I think this cake definitely calls for being not only shared, but multiplied to the masses.  It's a good'un.

Don't be afraid of all the ingredients needed for this cake.  I'm sure they're all in your pantry anyway.  (If you like to bake occasionally) 

3 Bramley apples- peeled, cored and diced into 1cm cubes 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 egg whites

280g plain flour

160g caster sugar 

120ml olive oil 

80g sultanas

4 tbsp water

 1⁄2 vanilla pod 

Grated zest of 1 lemon

1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon 

1 1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda 

1⁄2 tsp baking powder 

For the maple icing

220g cream cheese 

100g light muscovado sugar OR icing sugar  

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature 

85ml maple syrup (you may use honey as well)

- Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.

- Grease and line a 20cm cake tin

- In a saucepan, simmer the sultanas in the water on a low heat until the water has been absorbed

- Sift the flour and the dry ingredients and put aside in one bowl.  

-Put the olive oil and sugar in another bowl.  Cut the vanilla pod open and scrape the seeds into the bowl.  Hand whisk or electric whisk and then add the two large eggs one by one.  Grate the lemon zest, the diced apples and the sultanas.

-Mix the dry ingredients with the mixture.

- In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff.  Gradually and gently fold in to the cake mixture.

- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated oven for 1 and a half hours or until a skewer comes out clean.  

- When the cake is completely cooled, remove the cake from the tin and slice horizontally. 

-Prepare the icing.

- Cream and then beat with an electric whisk the butter and sugar and maple syrup.

- Add the cream cheese and beat until light.

-Spread half of the icing over the bottom half of the cake.  Carefully place the second half of the cake and frost the top.  Decorate with icing sugar/ walnuts or use the maple syrup or honey to decorate..

Posted on September 5, 2012 and filed under venice, italy.