Apple and Olive Oil Cake with Maple Icing


80g /2 ½oz dried cherries or raisins

4 tbsp water

280g / 9 ¼oz plain flour

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

1 ¼tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon

120ml / 4fl oz olive oil

160g / 5 ½oz golden caster sugar

½ tsp vanilla paste

2 large eggs, beaten

500g / 1lb 2oz bramley apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped

Grated zest of 1 lemon

2 large egg whites, lightly whisked to soft peaks

For the maple icing

100g / 3 ½ oz unsalted butter, softened

100g / 3 ½ oz light muscovado sugar

85ml / 3fl oz maple syrup

200g / 8oz full fat cream cheese

Method: Line 2 x 20cm / 8inch cake tins and brush sides with olive oil then preheat the oven to 170C / fan 150C / Gas 3

Place the cherries or raisins and a small pan with the water and simmer over a low heat until the water has been absorbed – then leave to cool.  In a large bowl whisk the olive oil, sugar, vanilla paste, 2 beaten eggs and lemon zest together to create a smooth thick paste.  Add the chopped apples and dried cherries or raisins then fold in the sieved dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, fold these gently into the batter in 2 or 3 additions.  Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, leave to cool in the tin.  The cakes can be unmoulded, wrapped in Clingfilm and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days at this stage.

To make the icing, beat together the butter, muscovado sugar and maple syrup together, add the cream cheese and continue beating until smooth and shiny. To assemble spread a 1cm layer of the icing over the top of one of the cakes, sandwich with the other then spoon the rest of the icing on top and swirl with a knife.

To get ahead: The completed cake can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored in the fridge

To Freeze: The uniced cake can be frozen up to 1 month ahead

Dried Clementine and Apple Ring for Decorating the cake


6 Clementines, thinly sliced

5 red apples, cored and sliced into rings

Juice of ½ a lemon

6 cinnamon sticks

Fine gold ribbon or cord

5 gold candles

Edible glitter for dusting

Preheat the oven to 150c/130 fan/gas 2.

Brush the apple rings with a little lemon juice and then put the Clementine slices and apple rings in a single layer on wire racks set over baking sheets  you may need to do this in batches depending how many racks you can get in your oven).  Cook for 1 ½ hours until the fruits have dried.  Leave to cool.

Tie the cinnamon sticks with a short piece of fine gold ribbon.  Thread the fruit slices and cinnamon sticks onto the cord using about 5 slices of Clementine and 12 apple rings between each cinnamon stick.

Put your cake on a large plate or cake board making sure you have a boarder of 5cm/2- 2 ½ in

Place the fruit ring carefully so that it sits loosely round the cake and then tie off the ends.  Dust the ring with a little edible glitter.  Place the candles on one side of the cake with a cinnamon stick and light when ready to serve.