Apple & Pecan Pudding Cake
This easy crumble cake hovers somewhere between being a cake and a pudding; the tender cake with its hint of cinnamon and nutmeg, is laden with translucent chunks of apple and finished with a crunchy, sugared top. Better still it’s whipped up in a food processor in no time (perfect for Sunday nights!) as the same mixture forms both the base for the cake and the crumble topping.
Serves 8 – 10
3 medium-sized (approx. 500g) Pink Lady, Sundowner, Lady William or Gala apples, peeled, quartered and cored
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (220g) caster sugar, extra
150g cold unsalted butter, cut in little chunks
120g pecans, lightly roasted, and sliced crossways into small pieces
½ cup (110g) firmly packed soft brown, dark brown or rapadura sugar
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¾ cup (180ml) buttermilk or milk kefir, at room temperature
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon plain flour, extra
Icing sugar, for dusting
# All these apples are sweet so they tend to keep their shape and stay in nice little chunks once they’re cooked.
Preheat your oven to 175C, then butter and flour a 23cm springform cake tin and set it aside.
Cut the apples into 1cm pieces. Scrape the chunks into a bowl then sprinkle on the tablespoon of caster sugar and toss them about so they’re coated in it. Pop the bowl to one side while you get on with the recipe.
Put the flour, salt, and extra caster sugar into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and whiz them together for 10 seconds so they’re thoroughly mixed. Add the butter chunks and whiz everything again until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Scoop out 1 cup of the crumb mixture and tip it into a bowl. Add the pecans, brown sugar (or whichever sugar you’re using) and spices to it and thoroughly stir everything together, then cover the bowl loosely and pop it in the fridge.
Now add the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the crumb mixture remaining in the food processor and briefly whiz them in. In a large jug, lightly whisk together the buttermilk (or kefir), egg and vanilla, then with the processor running pour this mixture in through the feed tube. Leave the processor to run for about 40 seconds, or until the batter is smooth and creamy.
Meanwhile, toss the apples with the extra tablespoon of flour (this helps stop them sinking to the bottom of the cake). When the batter is ready, scrape it into the apples and fold the two together until they’re well combined. Finally, spread the batter evenly into the prepared tin (well, as evenly as you can because it’s lumpy with apple), then sprinkle the nut crumble evenly over the top, pressing down lightly on it.
Pop the tin in the oven and bake the cake for 50 – 55 minutes, or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then gently release and remove the sides, and leave it to cool completely (or until it’s lukewarm.)
It’s a bit awkward to turn the cake out of the base of the tin. The best way I’ve found to do it without sending the crumbly topping flying is to lay a sheet of baking paper on top of the cake, then sit a rack or flat plate gently on top. Carefully invert the two, remove the base of the tin, then sit your serving plate on the cake and turn it over again. Just before serving, dust the cake lightly with icing sugar.
If you should have any leftover cake, slice it, wrap the slices in freezer wrap and store them in a tightly sealed container in the freezer where they will keep well for 3-4 weeks