Hello readers! Happy Thanksgiving 🙂 I’m home for the holiday and, for the first time in a few months, have access to more than just a microwave and fridge. College is fun. It’s a whirlwind, though. There’s constantly things to do and see, whether it be homework, listening to speakers, or attending events. Everything so far has been incredibly exciting, but being able to relax with family for a few days has certainly been nice and well-needed at this point.
How’s the dorm food, you ask? Truthfully, I think it has a worse reputation that it deserves. We have three dining halls on campus, along with a variety of on-campus eateries to use “dining dollars” (a sort of food currency freshmen are forced to have, worth less than regular dollars). Each dining hall has it’s own perks and downfalls. One has the best cereal selection, yet the worst salad bar; one has the best made-to-order dishes, yet the longest lines and fewest variety; the other is just…meh. The on-campus shops are more interesting. We have a Mexican restaurant that specializes in spicy paninis, a hidden (yet delicious) stir-fry place, and a delicious sandwich shop if you’re fearless enough to brave the sharp suits and intensity of the business school. Overall, I’d say I’m extremely lucky with the variety available at school. Still, I’m looking forward to having my own kitchen next year, and to be independent of a meal plan.
Finally, I can share another recipe with you guys! I actually made this cake back when I was home for fall break, and only had time to quickly snap photos on my phone (apologies for that). Full disclosure here: I didn’t really love how this cake turned out. I found it a bit dry, but then again, I think it was more of a snacking cake than I had realized and wanted. I also did not make the frosting, which would have added some moisture. The rest of my family seemed to like this cake, so try it yourself and decide!
Hopefully, I’ll have time to bake something else this weekend before heading back to school. If not, I PROMISE to share some new recipes over winter break. Trust me, I really miss the kitchen.
Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Icing
- 1/2 cup golden raisins (heaping)
- 4 tablespoons water
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup superfine sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- 2 free-range egg, lightly beaten
- 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 3/8-inch dice
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 free-range egg whites
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting (optional)
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (scant)
- 6 tablespoons maple syrup (scant)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- Grease an 8-inch springform cake pan and line the bottom and sides 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.
- Preheat the oven to 325*F. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
- Put the oil and superfine sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a whisk if you don’t have a mixer). 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, raisins, and lemon zest, then lightly fold in the shifted dry ingredients.
- Whisk the eggs whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with a mixer, until they have a soft meringue consistency. Fold them into the batter in 2 additions, trying to maintain as much air as possible.
- Pour the batter into the lined pan, level it with an icing spatula, 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.
- Once the cake is completely cold, you can assemble it. Remove it from the pan and use a large serrated knife to cut it in half horizontally. You should end up with 2 similar disks. If the cake is very domed, you need to shave a bit off the top half to level it.
- To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar, and maple syrup until light and airy. You can do this by hand, or, preferably, in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the cream cheese and beat until the icing is totally smooth.
- Using the icing spatula, spread a layer of icing 3/8 inch thick over the bottom half of the cake. Carefully place the top half on it. Spoon the rest of the icing on top and use the icing spatula to create a wavelike or any other pattern. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.