I love recipe development. I could spend all day experimenting in the kitchen (and often do) and I can only think of two drawbacks; washing up and wasting food when experiments fail. Fortunately, the Husband is a bit of a human waste disposal unit and, assuming it's still edible, he'll often eat my failures anyway. As for the washing up, I am growing to accept it as a necessary evil (and when I just can't face it, I throw everything in the dishwasher!). From today, I am officially emerging from a work induced blog-hibernation. If you count all the writing and recipe development I've been doing over the past few weeks, on top of my day job, I must be working about 100 hours a week! Fortunately, I've found the time to have a wee break and, to celebrate this time off, I have baked a cake...
Spiced Apple and Pear Cake
I called this 'Garden of England Loaf Cake' in the title, because that's what this is, a celebration of the abundant produce that I am fortunate enough to find on my doorstep in Kent. I realise that these fruits aren't quite in season yet, but there are some fanastic juice producers here whose juices are available year round. I used Clearly Juice, but Moor Organic and Owl House Fruit Farm are also made in Kent, while many orchards make and sell their own juices in farm shops around the county.
125ml pressed apple juice
125ml pressed pear juice
1/2 cup golden caster sugar
1 tbsp molasses sugar, or molasses syrup
1 star anise
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 large eggs
115g natural yoghurt
240g gluten free plain flour mix
1 tsp baking powder
- Pour the juices, caster sugar, molasses, star anise and cinnamon stick into a saucepan and bring to the boil, do not stir. Allow to bubble gently until the sugar has dissolved, then boil rapidly for 5 minutes to reduce by about half. Take off the heat and leave to cool.
- Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick (or strain, if the spices have broken up) and measure 125ml of the cooled syrup and pour into a large bowl.
- Add the margarine, eggs, yoghurt, gf flour mix and baking powder and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Pour into a greased and lined 2lb/900g loaf tin, and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C, for 40 minutes, until a skewer come out of the middle cleanly.
- Turn out and cool on a cake rack.
If you have any leftover syrup, it will keep for about 5 days in the fridge (or pour into an ice cube tray and freeze) and is great added to a hot toddy or ginger tea!