There is a place up in the far reaches of Sydney’s northern beaches that I absolutely adore but don’t visit often enough as it’s a long road trip from where I live in deep suburbia. The Cook’s Larder (even the name sounds delicious!) is a treasure trove for any discerning food lover – a deli, a delectable array of gourmet foods, a cafe and restaurant as well as a cooking school. What I get the most excited about is their stunning menu of cakes – especially this flourless beauty.
The Flourless Apple, Almond, Raisin and Ginger Cake from The Cook’s Larder is amazing. It’s super moist but the flavour of the apple and ginger with a sweet overtone of maple is a pure delight. It took only one bite and immediately, I was aching for the recipe so I could recreate it at home. I wouldn’t put it past me to embark on a bit of culinary stalking but thank god for Gourmet Traveller who reprinted the original recipe, much to my joy.
I made a few changes to the original recipe simply because I didn’t have the 2 or 3 varieties of apples or raw caster sugar on hand as well as the maple sugar (available from their store). Also it seems that nobody in my neck of the woods have heard of demerara sugar! For something different, I replaced the maple syrup with my favourite Apple Box Honey from Beechworth Honey.
The smell of cooked apples is so intoxicating and always brings back memories of autumn and winter. And the aroma of the cake and honey emanating from the oven is enough to send me frolicking. It’s rich and the perfect torte for the cooler months and best served in small slices with a dollop of good cream to cut through the sweetness of the sugar and honey. Of course you could also omit the sugar coating and reduce the melted butter of the apple and almond topping if you wish.
Now if only The Cook’s Larder would provide me with the recipes for their Callebaut Chocolate Truffle Cake and Rhubarb and Coconut Cake then I’d die a very happy woman!
Flourless Apple and Almond Tea Cake
3 small apples (granny smith, red gala or golden delicious) – cored and cut into 8 wedges
30g unsalted butter
50g raw caster sugar (plain caster sugar will be fine if unavailable)
75g (1/2 cup) raisins
260g almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp ground ginger
230g raw caster sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) maple syrup (I used Apple Box Honey)
Apple and Almond Topping
2 red gala or granny smith apples – cored and thinly sliced
50g almonds – roughly chopped
50gm unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled (feel free to reduce the amount if you wish)
25gm each of demerara sugar and maple sugar (I used 25gm of raw sugar and 25gm caster sugar but you could also leave it out if you want to cut down on the sweetness)
In a pan large enough to fit the apples in a single layer, melt the butter over medium heat and add the apples, cloves and sugar and mix to coat. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are starting to colour and softened.
Remove the cloves and add the raisins and stir for a minute until raisins have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 160°C and grease and line with baking paper a 25-26cm springform tin.
In a food processor, pulse the almond meal, almonds, baking powder and ground ginger until roughly chopped. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and honey until thick, pale and fluffy (at least 5 minutes with an electric mixer). Add the almond nut mixture and gently fold to combine.
Add the apple mixture and gently fold to incorporate. Pour into cake tin.
With the apple slices, layer them on top of the cake batter, overlapping a little to make a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the nuts over, drizzle the melted butter and scatter the sugars.
Bake in oven for 60-75 minutes until skewer comes out clean of cake batter. Remove from oven and let it cool completely in the cake pan.
Serve at room temperature with good quality cream, yoghurt or ice cream.
adapted from The Cook’s Larder