May 25, 2009

A Time For Comfort

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

extra sugar


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.


  1. My GOD that looks divine.

  2. Mariana, your apple cake looks delicious. You are right, nothing more comforting than a wamr, moist slice with some tea/coffee and a blanket around your shoulders!

  3. I hope things go well for your aunt in her new home and that she gets the care she needs. Your apple cake looks so delicious. MIL is coming over this morning and had I seen your post earlier we would be having your apple cake for morning tea! I have bookmarked it for next time :)
    take care,

  4. This looks terribly good Catherine, and I love the idea of the apple brandy syrup. I think in difficult times, it's not just the eating of something delicious that soothes, but the making of it too. Don't forget to take care of yourself in the middle of all this.

  5. Hi,
    I hope that I am not intruding...I live in Vancouver BC and stumbled upon your blog a few months ago and absolutely enjoy your writings and recipes.


  6. Gosh that's high praise coming from you Olga!

    Your description of "comfort" Marta is exactly spot on. Thanks for dropping by.

    CotNF - Thanks for your kind words and be sure to let me know how you get on with your apple cake efforts. Your name conjurs up some lovely images by the way; so very quaint.

    Tar Debora. Actually I have not been looking after myself so thanks for the reminder.

    Welcome Diane - I am so very pleased to hear you have been enjoying my humble little blog. Feel free to drop by whenever you like; I only wish I could actually share my cake with you and everyone else who visits. See you next time.

  7. And of course, I meant Mariana, not Catherine. Sorry!

  8. Lovely cake. I hope it does the trick - it certainly looks comforting...