Monday, 27 August 2012

Dolly Bakes' "Best of British Apple" Bundt Cake

My overriding childhood food memory (aside from the faddy eating of peanut butter and celery and Bernard Matthew's roasts) is of hanging out in the kitchen on a Sunday morning as my beloved Grandma peeled and cored Bramley after Bramley for apple pie.  She didn't just make apple pie, but that was my favourite - it tasted even better cold the next day.  I had a real thing for the sharp taste of Bramleys and they were even better dipped in sugar to give them a sweet/sour contrast.  My next favourite thing was raw carrots and so she called me her little donkey.

Maple glazed and cooling down
I long to have a warm kitchen filled with smells of roasting beef and the warm, earthy smell of a cinnamon scented apple pie but sadly, family life isn't like that these days.  At least not in my household.  I've requested that I inherit her pie plate that's inscribed with a recipe for blackberry and apple pie but I know it's unlikely ever to see the light of day because I'd be paranoid about it being broken and besides, the husband "doesn't do pie".

Part of this year has been about me educating Miss A in how to eat properly (I've mostly failed here) and I want to recreate some of that warm glow of home cooking for her.  My pastry skills are still rubbish so I knew I had to make a cake.  My cookbooks are very lacking in apple cake recipes so I turned to Google for help. When I hit on Rachel's (aka Dolly Bakes) Best of British Apple Bundt, I just knew I had to make it.

Rachel is a massive fan of bundts and with this being my third, I'm falling in love them too.  They are proper sharing cakes.  None of your namby pamby selfish cupcake-ness.  This cake will feed the masses - and leave them wanting more.  I got my bundt tin on Amazon for about £12 - I didn't spend more because I wasn't sure I'd use it but now, having seen Rachel's beautiful star-shaped tin, I wish I'd bought something a little more extravagant.

I've yet to try a piece of the cake because it's being taken to work tomorrow for my very lucky work colleagues.  However the batter tasted amazing, the smells coming from the oven were to die for.  Although it's a 'British' cake, it's exactly how I'd imagine an American Mom's kitchen would smell.  And as for the maple butter glaze that you brush on to it....  This cake is going to be special!  If there had been any way to sneak a bit of it today, I would have done.  I was tempted to cut a slice out so I could take a decent picture but knew that if I did, I'd have to eat it.  And a bit more.  So it's still intact.  Just!

I'll update the post tomorrow with the verdict from work but I know it will be nothing but rave reviews.  Thanks so much for sharing this one Rachel.

Updated 28th August 2012 @ 20:38 

Well the verdict is in.  I didn't realise I worked with such cake connoisseurs.  After a lot of fussing about who was going to be the one to cut the 'giant doughnut' (nobody wanted to be accused of being the greedy one) and further faffing about the dividing lines on the cake (see the picture) and whether it was rude to cut a large segment in half (and even ruder to take both a narrow and a wide wedge), I got some feedback from my colleagues.

I was going to assign them all aliases but as I was collating feedback and re-read what I'd noted for one of the aliases, I realised there was the chance for unintentional innuendo (it started an afternoon of inappropriate smirking) so we're reduced to persons a through to e.

Person A said it was the second best cake I've ever baked.  He couldn't actually remember which his favourite was but I have a feeling it was Dan Lepard's Dark Banana and Ginger Cake.

Person B diligently listed pretty much everything that went into the cake - he would be amazing on the Masterchef palate test getting the apple, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and additional butter in the glaze.  The only thing that foxed him was the maple syrup which was apparently his first taste of it.  He was one of the double-wedgers and enjoyed every last crumb.

Person C thought it looked like ginger cake or parkin.  It did indeed have a slightly darker crumb than some apple cakes.  When mixing the batter it looks like a fabulous coffee cake.  Another seal of approval.

Person D came back for seconds and thirds, claiming it was for some of our consultants who are working in the 'dungeon'.  Personally I think he just really liked it.

And finally on to Person E.  The person who ably wields the yardstick for all my cakes.  He's a tough man to please, not liking brownies or my favourite viennese whirls (this didn't stop him from eating the bacon brownies, the black and white brownie cheesecake or the cherry viennese whirls).  Plus apple cake is the only ever cake he's made so I knew he'd have the most positive (or damning opinion of all).  With his express permission, here is his verbatim verdict on the cake:

"Good texture, just enough ‘crunch’ on the outside juxtaposed by a nice interior – a balance of lightness & stickiness. Excellent apple flavours coming through with no cloying aftertaste.  9.5/10 :o)"

Rachel - I think we have a winner!

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