After five days interstate, mostly dealing with nursing homes; I leave behind my aunt who is now in the unenviable position of being totally dependent upon others. Depressing is one word that certainly comes to mind however I have been consumed with being orderly and carrying out all the procedures and paperwork that need attention. Together with the rain and awful weather it has been a rather grim and gloomy time.
I feel like something homely, safe, comforting and of course delicious. And I'm not at all concerned about any calories; I just want comfort. Immediately my good old apple cake comes to mind and I do not hesitate for a moment. Canned apple? Never. I only ever use fresh green apples and if I don't have any I won't make it. Plain and simple. Fortunately all the remaining ingredients are common pantry staples so it is fairly straightforward.
Mariana's Apple Cake
3 green apples, peeled & diced into even pieces
125gm unsalted butter
3/4 cup of castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 free range eggs
1 1/2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup milk
Place peeled apples into a saucepan; sprinkle generously with cinnamon; add three tablespoons of sugar; shake pan well to ensure all the pieces are coated. Pour into this approximately three quarters of a cup of water; bring to boil; simmer until the apple is cooked but please do not overcook. I do not like a mushy apple texture; just cook till the apple holds its shape. Drain in a colander but reserve the liquid; then set aside to cool.
Place butter, sugar, vanilla extract into a bowl; beat till light & fluffy; add eggs; beat further till well incorporated.
Fold flour & milk into this; beat till just combined. Pour mixture into a greased & lined cake tin. Carefully scatter all the apple pieces over the top of the mixture. Do not press as the batter will rise above & over the apple during baking.
Place into a preheated moderate oven; bake for approx 35 to 40 minutes. Put cooked cake onto a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully turn out onto another rack after this time. Set aside to cool or if you prefer as my son does; tuck into it while still warm.
I made a custard following the instructions from the packet. Simply add two tablespoons custard powder & 1 tablespoon sugar to 500mls milk. Stir over a low heat till custard comes together.
You may like to try my apple brandy syrup which adds a very luxurious, ultra comforting touch. Take 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid after the apples were drained & place in a very small saucepan. I actually used one of my ibriks (a small cooking vessel for making black coffee). Add one tablespoon of brandy; cook for about seven minutes. It should have reduced slightly but it won't be too thick.
Arrange your apple cake pieces onto a plate. Pour over the custard.
Take a couple of tablespoons of the syrup and drizzle over the cake.
I am ready to be comforted now.