♥ Apple and Cinnamon Cake
It has been a year since I started baking and what a year it has been! I have hugely enjoyed experimenting, baking for family and friends and developing my techniques. It’s something I thought I would never do.
Since I was young, I have always loved cooking and the improvisation of it. My favourite dishes would be quick concoctions of whatever was left in the fridge and it didn’t matter about the proportions. With baking however, I always saw it as such a tedious exercise. Having to precisely measure and weigh out ingredients felt like taking the raw experimental fun out of creating dishes. I instead made no-bake cheesecakes and fridge cakes made from cream and biscuits. And even then, whenever guests came for dinner, I would always cook the food but they would know to bring the sweet (or I’d go pick something up from the supermarket dessert aisle).
I had been in awe of other bakers including my sister-in-law who makes lovely biscuits and cupcakes. She would send the treats round for me to feast on weekends when I was living in England. Then there’s my favourite televised baking competition, The Great British Bake Off. Those amateur bakers creating amazing showstopper cakes and pastries week after week is such a thrill to see! I would watch the show in admiration but never in a million years thought I would achieve a bake close to anything the contestants would attempt.
After six months of settling in Dubai, my little one had started nursery and I felt an empty void not having my son around in the mornings. I finally had some time to go through a baking book a visiting family friend had gifted me. I loved the tempting photographs of pastries and cakes that looked so inviting. Inviting enough to intrigue me to at least try.
I started with a plain sponge. Not owning any baking equipment as I never had the use for it, I converted metric measures in the recipe to cup measures. And when I mean I had no measuring equipment, this meant using an actual mug to measure and not even a specific cup measure. What I did have was a wooden spoon, a whisk and a tin.
As we all hear, baking is a science; I quickly learnt that most baking can work in ratios. Using my trusty mug I used the 1:1:1 ratio for cake with the same amount of fat, to sugar, to flour. Measuring out by eye, I then tried meringue which usually works by doubling the sugar to the amount of egg white. Everything I produced was actually successful but as by the eye of estimation, not all bakes would turn out exactly the same. They would rise, cook and taste lovely but be slightly different every time.
The point I’m trying to make here is there is no reason to be scared of baking.
As I baked more and more, I wanted to try out different techniques. I wanted to try homemade pastry and bread however for these bakes, precision of amounts is definitely required. Purchasing some weighing scales then became essential.
Scales nowadays are amazing. Not the bag or coin balance scales I used to use at school (am I showing my age?). But really, I am impressed how easy to use and compact baking tools have become. Taking that little bit of time to weigh out ingredients is no longer a chore and it completely overrides the joy of preparing the mixtures and placing them in the oven anyway. So now the rest is history.
I have gone on to try other types of baking and of course still learning as I go. I get inspired from books, television, visiting food fairs and artisan bakeries. The nice thing about baking is it is never not a nice thing. Everyone loves a cake. Bringing one round to a friend’s home or offering it to visiting family is such a pleasure. When it is said homemade means made with love, I really believe this.
So I encourage you to get some scales if you don’t already and start baking. It’s really a great feeling which I can’t explain.
This little apple and cinnamon cake is a good place to start. It’s essentially a simple sponge topped with apples for flavour. No gimmicks here. Just good flavours and good sponge. I love apple with cinnamon it’s such a delicious combination. This recipe only involves basic ingredients not even baking powder.
I first started making this cake with chopped apple pieces before realising slicing would create a neater design. That’s the beauty of this cake, there is no need to decorate after baking. No frosting, no piping. The apples are pretty enough. So you can eat this cake as soon as it’s baked. No waiting around for it to cool completely.
Have this with family after a weekend lunch or bake it for friends when they come over. I have now baked this many times and it has become a firm favourite. I hope you enjoy it too.