Apple, sumac and spelt cake

By Pasha Milburn

If you find yourself having to spend time alone in the coming weeks, making cake is a delicious way to pass the time. Try your hand at this easy apple, sumac and spelt flour loaf cake from the new book The New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi, who Bake Off fans might remember from the 2016 series. An unusual key ingredient in this recipe is sumac, which is a spice with a deep red colour and sharp citrus flavour that is often used in savoury Middle Eastern dishes. In this recipe, which also happens to be vegan, Ebuehi uses the spice for its lemon flavour, to contrast with the sweetness of apple. Wholegrain spelt flour is an ancient grain closely related to modern wheat-flour. With a nutty, complex flavour, spelt flour is high in fibre and can be easier to digest than wheat (although bear in mind that spelt flour is not gluten-free and so should be avoided on a gluten-free diet). Wholegrain spelt flour, containing the bran and germ, has a texture similar to whole-wheat flour. If you find this a little grainy for your liking, try subbing in white spelt flour instead. 

by Benjamina Ebuehi
from ‘The New Way to Cake’, 2019. 

Applesauce for loaf cake
2 large/3 small Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored, and roughly chopped)
1 tbsp lemon juice
120 ml water 

Applesauce can be made ahead of time. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and let them simmer for 10 to 12 minutes (or until apples have completely softened). Remove from heat and mash mixture until smooth. You will need 200g of applesauce for this recipe. Leftovers can be eaten, saved for porridge toppings, etc. 

Loaf cake
(450g loaf tin needed)
• 200g wholemeal spelt flour
• 50g ground almonds
• 1 tbsp sumac
• 1 tsp baking power
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 60ml sunflower oil (or other flavourless oil)
• 120g caster sugar
• 200g applesauce
• 3 Braeburn apples (peeled, cored and dice into small chunks)

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease (with oil or vegan butter) a 450g loaf tin and line with parchment paper. 

2. Mix together flour, almonds, sumac, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the oil, sugar and applesauce.

3. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients, stirring gently and making sure there are no lumps of flour. The batter will be fairly thick. Fold in the apple chunks and pour batter into prepared loaf pan.

4. Bake for 45-50 minutes (checking that a skewer comes out clean when inserted). Leave to cool completely in the pan before turning out.

Lemon Drizzle (for topping)
• 60g icing sugar
• 1 tbsp lemon juice (more or less to taste)

When cake is cooled, prepare lemon drizzle icing. Sift icing sugar into a bowl and slowly stir in lemon juice until it is of a drizzling consistency. If the icing is too thin, add more icing sugar and if it is too thick, add more lemon juice. Use a teaspoon to drizzle on cooled cake. 

Cake best eaten on the day it has been made.

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