I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the two oft-used fruits on this site are apples and bananas. As much as I would love to say that it’s akin to the lines of the pre-school phonics song that goes, ‘I like to eat, eat, eat apples and bananas’, unfortunately my like for apples does not translate into eat, as much as it does for bananas. My mother may have succeeded making spinach one of the handful of vegetables I actually ate (and still eat) as a child, with the help of skinny-turned-muscular Popeye, but no amount of ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’ repetition could make me love the fruit.
Don’t get me wrong now, it’s not that I don’t eat apples, or abhor them the way the mister gets repelled by the stench of durians;– I just find apples better alongside other ingredients. Like if they were encased in a fried crust. Or soaked in their own syrup, and beautifully fanned out. Or paired with their best friends, cinnamon and nutmeg, aptly for a friendship tribute. Or in this case, holding hands with some of the easiest no-fuss ingredients (yes, I’m looking at you, you’d-think-it’d-soften-faster-in-this-horrid-humidity butter), donning a pretty albeit crumbly hat, for the perfect quick afternoon snack.
I received Flo Braker’s Baking For All Occasions for my birthday last month (thanks much, mister!), and this was one of the many recipes that caught my attention, particularly due to its versatility. Perfect for days you’re expecting guests for tea, or just an excuse for a little nibble when you’re craving for cake;– this light and surprisingly fluffy snack cake is not only easy to whip up, but welcomes your own interpretation, following your preferred choice of add-ins for the day (mine was diced apples, obviously). I have to admit however that being a self-declared crumb connoisseur, what really intrigued me with this recipe is the fact that the crumb topping here used oil instead of butter. Interesting and possibly a tad healthier, yes, but I also found the texture to be loose and lacking in bite, and since I love my crumbs with a crunch, I’ll stick to my crumb topping recipe, thank you very much.
Any Day All-Occasion Apple Snack Cake
(adapted from Flo Braker’s Baking For All Occasions)
2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup diced apples
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C.
- Sift together the flour, sugar, salt and 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon into a large bowl.
- Mix in the brown sugar with a whisk just until the ingredients are blended.
- Stir in the oil, mixing it well.
- To make the crumb topping: Remove enough of the flour mixture to measure 3⁄4 cup loosely packed. Add the remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and blend well with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside.
- To finish the cake batter, stir in the baking powder and baking soda. Add the buttermilk and egg and stir until the mixture is smooth.
- Stir in the diced apples.
- Pour the batter into a lightly greased 13×9 inch pan, then sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter.
- Bake for about 35mins.
1. The recipe works great halved, and baked in an 8-inch square pan.
2. Feel free to add in nuts, dried carrots, blueberries in place of diced apples.