Saturday, 14 February 2009

wheat free apple lemon cake

As part of my new regime I am not eating wheat. It's annoying, but it seems to be helping my breathing, so I am giving it a go.

I've already cooked quite a bit without wheat, for family and friends, so at least it hasn't been a shock to the cooking system. I do buy gluten free flour, for convenience, but it's quite expensive, and I resent the price difference, so I've now bought a large bag of fine cornflour and a matching bag of rice flour. I already had a bag of grits, or polenta flour, not sure why, as I hate polenta. I love lemon cake, so I came up with this recipe.

I'm about to go on about my logic for putting this recipe together. I'm no Heston B and it may be seriously flawed, in scientific terms. You might do me a favour by not reading this bit, in case I expose my ignorance, also you may not find it useful or interesting. You'll make up your own mind, whatever I write. The demerara sugar is intended to open up what's likely to be a close-textured cake. Another way would be to separate the eggs and whip the whites up, this might result in a cake that doesn't keep well at all. The topping/puree is a way of giving moisture to would be a very dry cake otherwise.  

I think I've spent enough time exposing my internal debate. The point of the recipe is to make something tasty to eat. So now I'll just knuckle under.

apple lemon cake

1 cup/mugful apple puree
3 tbsp dark brown sugar
zest of one lemon
1 cox's apple
handful of coarse cornmeal

100g rice flour
100g fine cornmeal
200g demerara sugar
200g margarine or butter
juice of one lemon
3 eggs
1tsp baking powder

  • line your cake tin with non-stick baking paper
  • set oven to gas mark 5 /375 F / 190 C moderately hot
  • 9"/20cm round cake tin or a 10"/23cm long loaf-type cake tin
  • put the apple puree in a pan over a low heat, stir in three heaped spoonfuls of dark brown sugar, stir until the mixture bubbles, take off the heat and add the zest of one lemon. 
  • set aside to cool
  • while apple puree mixture is cooling 
  • wash one cox's apple, remove core and cut into thin slices
  • pour apple puree mixture into lined tin, spreading to cover base
  • sprinkle some coarse polenta evenly
  • spread sliced apple evenly over the apple puree mixture
  • beat the fat and sugar together until blended
  • add the eggs and beat together until blended
  • add the flours and baking powder and beat until blended
  • beat in the juice from one lemon
  • pour the cake mixture into the lined tin
  • spread mixture out to make it level
  • put mixture into preheated oven, cook for 40minutes
  • insert skewer/sharp knife into cake - if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked
  • leave to cool on rack for 10 minutes
  • turn out the cake onto a plate - for safety, put the plate over the cake and turn it holding the plate and tin in a kind of sandwich
  • lift the tin off and gently lift the baking parchment off - have a knife or spatula handy and ease any topping sticking to the paper back onto the cake
  • eat hot or cold 

If you cook much you'll do what we all do. You read a recipe and decide to give it a go. You know you haven't got all the ingredients, so you think you'll just substitute a few things. Feel free, not that you need my permission. I'll be doing the same, and it's my recipe! I've already thought of a few changes... ...

use more apple - it'll make it wetter, and slices will fall apart more: live dangerously

forget the apple - you could use jam, thin it a bit with water and still use the coarse cornmeal, I wouldn't forego the lemon zest

use lemon curd - with or without the apple, still use the cornmeal

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