I’ve said before that I believe butter is essential to human happiness. I stand by this statement, but the recipe I am sharing today – the first cake recipe I’ve shared yet – contains no butter at all. This lovely, moist, flavourful cake uses olive oil and grated apples for its moisture and flavour. It’s basically health food, right?
Once it’s baked, you can’t distinctly taste the olive oil, but it ensures the cake will not be too sweet and perfectly balances the tartness of the apples. I would use your second-best extra virgin olive oil for this – save your very best for drizzling on salads, but I wouldn’t resort to a cheap, $3-a-gallon oil as it might impact the overall flavour of the cake.
It took all of my willpower to resist digging into this cake before I had a chance to take its picture. I stayed strong, because that would have been a shame. Taking two minutes to artfully arrange the apple slices on top and brush them with the glaze creates a lovely effect. We eat with our eyes first, and this cake is quite a looker.
As it bakes, the pecans on top toast and give off the most incredible aroma, competing with the also-delightful apple cinnamon scent of the cake itself. While it bakes, your house will smell like Christmas. I would much rather scent my house with a cake than a candle any day.
The cake is delicious warm but will keep at room temperature for a day or so, or in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. The flavour continues to develop as it sits. It is perfectly acceptable to grab a slice of it and eat it with your fingers while you are waiting for your morning coffee to brew (I know from experience).
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅔ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¾ cup chopped pecans, divided
- 1½ cups peeled, grated tart apples (I used 2 Granny Smith)
- 1 firm red apple, cut in half and thinly sliced (I used a Spartan)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons water
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.Grease or spray a 9" springform pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Whisk flours with cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk egg with sugar and ⅔ cup oil in a large bowl. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture. Fold in ½ cup chopped pecans and the grated apples.
- Scrape into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Arrange overlapping apple slices around edge of cake. Place remaining ¼ cup chopped pecans in one layer in the centre.
- Make glaze by stirring brown sugar with 2 teaspoons each oil and water. Microwave until sugar melts, about 30 seconds. Brush apples and pecans with about half of the glaze, reserving the rest.
- Bake until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and brush top of cake with remaining glaze. Run a knife between the pan and the outer edge of the cake, then remove ring. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Source: Chatelaine Holiday Cookbook 2012