Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Nonna's Rustic Apple Cake

Family history can be a strange and interesting thing.
Through circumstance, I ended up with two sets of great grandparents on my Dad's side of the family. 
One set was decidedly English, immigrants to South Africa, who were very prim and proper.
Another set was decidedly Italian, with all the "Ciao, Bella!" and cheek pinching that came along with their infrequent visits from the homeland.

Today's recipe comes courtesy of my late Nonna, who never failed to ply me with exotic dark chocolate mignonettes wrapped in brown paper as a child, thus igniting a lifelong love for all foods deep, dark and chocolatey!

The original recipe (presented below) is easily made hypo-allergenic:
  • Gluten-free: Replace the all-purpose flour with rice flour, or a non-bitter gluten-free flour mix. Also make sure the baking powder you use is gluten-free, or just replace it with 2.5ml of bicarbonate of soda (tested).
  • Egg-free: Replace the 3 eggs with 1 extra-large (or 1.5 medium-large) bananas, mashed (tested).
  • Casein-free: Replace the 100g butter with 100g of solidified coconut oil (untested).
  • 500 grams (1 lb.) sweet apples, chopped into small blocks and peeled
  • 200 grams (7 oz.) flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) baking powder
  • 100g (3.5 oz.) butter (room temp.)
  • 100g (3.5 oz.) brown sugar
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  1. Peel (optional) and chop the apples. Toss them in the lemon juice.
  2. In a seperate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Next, beat in the eggs.
  4. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon (entirely optional), and mix through.
  5. Stir through the apples.
  6. Put the mixture into a greased ceramic baking dish, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (356 Fahrenheit) for approximately 30 minutes, or until slightly golden and a cake skewer comes out clean (which is more difficult to tell if you're using mashed bananas rather than eggs, as the cake tends to remain slightly gooey with this variation).
  7. Recommendation: Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream, or whipped cream with a dash of sugar and vanilla in. It's also lovely served with evaporated milk.
Grazie mille, Nonna! Ci manchi moltissimo!