Apple, date and coconut cake with cream cheese, maple and cinnamon whip

But before we talk cake, I’ve been thinking.

Three possible explanations for the origin of those wild apple trees growing on the roadside [in order of personal appeal, least to most]:

  1. They sprouted from cores thrown from apple-eaters in vehicles driving on road [totally unexciting]
  2. Some Johnny Appleseed type character covered the country on foot, planting apple seeds for our enjoyment [bravo, Johnny!]
  3. They were planted following the war, in memory of the soldiers who were lost in battle by loved ones.

While I can’t vouch for the historical validity to #3, two people have told me this in recent weeks. I’ve decided it is the most humbling, fascinating and lovely thing I have heard in a while. To have a tree planted in your memory must be a great honour. Weathering the seasons in and out, and dropping the most delicious fruit after each glorious Summer: there would seem like no better way to celebrate life. I’m rolling with #3.

So while driving past fallen roadside apples recently, a friend and I exchanged a knowing glance. We parked the car and trekked up to the tree. You can’t help but marvel at the sheer resilience of their existence. No fancy treatment. No fuss. Just delicious apples.

So, let us eat cake. Refined sugar free, gluten free and gloriously apple laden cake.

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A P P L E ,   D A T E   A N D   C O C O N U T   C A K E :

  • 2-3 medium apples, quartered and sliced thinly [you can peel skin if you wish]
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1 cup / 250ml / 8.5 fl oz. fragrant tea [I used Stirtea earl grey blueflower]. You could also use chai.
  • 100g / 0.8 stick butter or100g coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour [or regular/your choice of flour]
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 pistachios [or any nuts of your choice. Walnuts, almonds, macadamias etc would work just as well].
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

M E T H O D :

Place dates, tea and apple in a saucepan and simmer over low-medium heat until softened. You can even do this overnight [once simmered and softened, place in an airtight container in the refrigerator]. You’ll just need to make sure apple mixture is sufficiently cooled before adding to rest of cake mixture.

Preheat oven to 170° C / 325° F / gas mark 3. Grease two 22cm / 8 ” cake tins and set aside.

Place butter, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder in food processor and blend until all ingredients combined. Add pistachios and blitz a few times until they are chunkily chopped. In second bowl, mix apple/date mixture and coconut. Mix all ingredients together and place into cake tins.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes [if you decide to make one cake, it will be about 30-40 minutes]. Once cooked, remove and leave to cool in tin.

C R E A M   C H E E S E ,   M A P L E   A N D   C I N N A M O N   W H I P :

  • 250g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened [leave at room temperature a couple of hours before, if possible]
  • 1/4 cup/ 2 fl oz maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • toasted pistachios or coconut etc to decorate

Beat cream cheese until light and whipped. Stop to scrape sides down, if required. Slowly dribble in maple syrup with beater running on medium speed, then add cinnamon. Once combined, add icing to the top of one cake and sandwich other cake on top. Spread remaining icing over cake and top with nuts, coconut or whatever takes your fancy.

Or serve with dairy free yoghurt mixed with maple and cinnamon if you’d prefer your cake dairy free.

*You can also make this cake with bananas in place of the apples, just add about a cup of banana [or 3 medium bananas] to food processor with cake mixture and blend until combine. You’ll need a bit of extra baking powder, so I would add a total of 2 tsp, instead of 1 1/2 tsp. Walnuts and bananas are an awesome match, try using walnuts [if you have them] instead of pistachios [but any nuts will do]. It makes a dense but delicious cake that will last well for a few days, and definitely tastes better the day after baking. Cool bananas!

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