Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Irish cook, Rachel Allen. So when her new cookbook, Cake, was recently released, I promptly ordered it online and eagerly awaited its arrival in my mailbox. I did secretly wonder how it would compare to her other baking handbook, simply called Bake, which I have used quite frequently in recent years. But as it is not unusual for one of her books to find its place on my kitchen counter on any given week, there was no need for me to hesitate when it came to this purchase.
Her new book is filled with beautiful photography and, more importantly, great-looking recipes. I thought I had more than enough baking books on my bookshelf (well, actually, I do!), but I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of inspirational recipes in Cake. Some recipes appear to be tweaks on those found in her earlier books, but many of the recipes will be a refreshing find for readers.
The Children’s chapter has lots of fun recipes to make for kids birthday parties, such as the cute Chocolate Hedgehog Cake or the Barbie-adorned Princess Cake. The more adventurous bakers can attempt the Anniversary Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake or even the Vanilla Wedding Cake. It is possible that the book could live up to its cover which claims to contain “every cake you’ll ever need”.
This Apple and Walnut Cake caught my eye, first, because it sounded very similar to a recipe which Nigella has in How to be a Domestic Goddess, and which I have previously attempted with some success. But upon closer inspection, Rachel Allen’s version contains wholemeal flour (which appealed to me, considering that I had some leftover from making the Tahini & Almond Cookies), and that it is covered in a brown-sugar glaze, giving this otherwise wholesome cake a sweet makeover.
It is a relatively easy cake to make and absolutely delicious to eat. In fact, I think it improves after a day or two as the glaze helps to keep the cake underneath lovely and moist. It is a wonderful cake to serve for afternoon tea or dessert, but the combination of apples and cinnamon means that it is a good contender for breakfast as well. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Apple and Walnut Cake
Recipe adapted from Cake by Rachel Allen
I added 2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon, mainly because my husband thinks you can never have too much cinnamon.
If, after 55 minutes or so, the cake is still wet in the centre and is starting to brown a bit on top, loosely cover the cake with some foil and return the cake to the oven to continue baking until the centre of the cake is fully cooked, checking every 3-5 minutes with a clean skewer.
I did find the cake to be a bit on the sweet side, especially when eaten with the glaze. That said, I would still make this cake again and perhaps the reduce the sugar content in the cake batter a little next time (the glaze is a must!).