Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Apple Cake and Banana-Jaggery Ice Cream

I was working on another post that's been in my drafts for a long time when my sister called to say she is coming the next day and will be staying for two days before she flies back to Paris. So I wanted to bake something for her. Recently I saw this recipe for fresh apple cake with boiled cider at Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal and this boiled cider thing caught my attention.

The problem was I had no boiled cider, nor even an ordinary cider. It's not very popular here and it's hard to find any.

But earlier that day I bought some fine Italia grapes or at least I thought they were fine. They were indeed very sweet and flavourful but their skin was so hard and thick that it was a torture to eat them. So I made some grape juice, reduced it along with some Viognier and this resulted into super good syrup. I was thinking about making some apple ice cream using the reduced grape juice - wine syrup, but apparently I'd forgotten to put the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer.

Two days ago I've made this banana ice cream (the recipe differs from our previous banana-jaggery ice cream) , just because I had bananas and no idea what else to do with them. And since it was already 2am when I finished with the baking I was tired to think what else to pair the cake with, so I decided to go with the banana ice cream. Nice, because it matches perfectly.

I must say, this is not the first recipe I'm trying from Jane's journal. Remember the cream-cheese cake for my sister's birthday – I've made it maybe ten times since then and it's one of my favourite tea cakes. This cake is as equally good.

I'm still in a mood to bake something with the reduced wine-grape juice, so any suggestions are welcome.

Fresh Apple Cake Recipe:
Adapted from Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal 

Makes: One 23 cm (9") cake, baked in a springform pan.
Since my pan is 26cm in diameter I had to put a smaller pastry ring in the middle of the pan in order to fake a 23cm pan. This reflected on the baking time and the cake was ready much quicker than the suggested 55-60minutes.

  • 2 large tart apples (I used Granny Smiths) - peeled, cored, halved, and sliced into 1-2mm thin pieces;
  • 3 Tbsp (30 gr) reduced grape juice – wine syrup (recipe – down bellow);
  • 270 gr all-purpose flour;
  • 10 gr baking powder;
  • 3 gr salt;
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg;
  • 1 pinch ground cloves;

  • 170 gr unsalted butter (at room temperature);
  • 50 gr granulated sugar;
  • 3 large eggs;
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract;
  • 2 Tbsp (20gr) milk.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC and place the rack in the middle. Line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper circle.
In a medium bowl, mix together apples slices and reduced grape juice-wine syrup. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices.
In a large bowl, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until fluffy and light. One at a time, beat in the eggs, still on medium speed. Add in the vanilla and milk.
Set a colander over an empty bowl and dump the apples along with their liquid into it. Let them drain a minute or so. Then add the drained liquid to the above mixture. Beat in half of the flour mixture. Since the batter is quite thick you may wish to use a rubber spatula to fold the the rest of the flour mixture, but I kept going with the mixer, I was just taking care not to scatter the kitchen with flour.
Spread evenly half of the batter into the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Use a small offset spatula, or the back of a spoon, to spread it out.
Scatter all of the apples over the top of the batter, there is no need for them to be neatly arranged; try to leave just a narrow margin of uncovered batter close to the sides of the pan.
Plop the remaining batter over that and spread it out smoothly.
Bake until golden brown – the recipe suggests 55-60 minutes, but my cake was ready in 40-45minutes.
Cool the cake in its pan for at least 15 minutes before attempting to remove the sides of the pan.

Reduced Grape Juice-Wine Syrup Recipe:

  • 600 gr white grape juice (I used Italia variety);
  • 100 gr floral and aromatic white wine (I used Viognier).

Place grape juice and wine in a saucepan and let simmer on medium-low heat until the mixture reduces to around 200gr. The reduced syrup has a nice caramel colour and is viscous like apricot nectar.

Banana - Jaggery Ice Cream Recipe:

  • 2 egg yolks;
  • 60 gr granulated sugar;

  • 40 gr jaggery;
  • 400 ml whole milk;
  • 150 ml whipping cream;
  • 4-5 very ripe bananas;
  • 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 25 ml rum.

Beat egg yolks and sugar until pale.
In a saucepan bring milk, whipping cream and jaggery up to a simmer. Pour a small amount of the hot milk mixture over the yolks-sugar mixture to temper, then pour over the remaining milk. Stir well and pour back in the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat till the mixture reaches 85º C.
Let the custard cool completely.
Cut bananas into large chunks and place them into the bowl of the blender. Pour over the rum and enough custard just to cover the bananas, add in the cinnamon and puree. Mix with the rest of the custard and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Then proceed according to your ice cream maker instructions.


  1. I've been meaning to use jaggery in cooking for ages. It's widely available here. As always I admire your patience and meticulous nature. Love apple cake and like cider so this sounds like a great recipe to me.

  2. I use jaggery often since I like its taste. These days I'm drinking jaggery-ginger-melissa-marjoram tea as a cure for sore throat. It helps a lot.

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