We first tasted this cake on a family outing in London. It was so yummy we had to make when we got home to share with our friends and family. The original recipe uses sultanas which I didn’t have so I replaced them with dried cranberries. The recipes comes from the original Ottolenghi cookbook. Instead of baking it in round cake pans it is also great made in an oven tray and cut into squares, perfect for feeding a crowd.
80 g cranberries
4 tbsp water
2 1/4 cups / 280 g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup / 120 ml olive oil
3/4 cup / 160 g castor sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8-inch / 1-cm dice
grated zest of 1 lemon
2 free-range egg whites
100 g butter, at room temperature
100 g light muscovado sugar
85 ml maple syrup
250g thick cream cheese, at room temperature
1. Grease a 20-cm springform cake pan and line the bottom 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.
2. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
3. Put the oil and castor sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.Slit the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using a sharp knife, scrape the seeds out into the bowl. Beat the oil, sugar, and vanilla together, then gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick at this stage. Mix in the diced apples, cranberries, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
4. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
5. Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it and place in the oven. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until a skewer inserted into the center, comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
6. Once the cake is completely cold, Remove from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally.
To make the icing,
beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
8. Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top. Decorate with dried cranberries and sliced apples.