I have been toying with apples in my recipes lately, I have successfully made GFCF apple frangipane tarts and apple pies. Most of the time, the girls would only gobble up the pastry, though a few pieces of apples would sneak in sometimes. Mei used to eat a variety of fruits when she was younger, but not anymore. Yet another thing autism took away from us. Min Min refuses to eat any fruits whatsoever. Thus I try to find ways to incorporate more fruit into their diet.
This past week, visions of apples, cinnamon, almonds and walnuts kept whirling in my mind. Hubby’s grandmother Bubushka had baked him Sharlotkas as he was growing up. Sharlotka is a very sweet, traditional Russian apple cake. I wanted to make something akin to that for Hubby, but with a twist. Something that the girls can eat too, that is gluten-free and casein-free and less Candida-feeding hopefully. I envisioned a a less-sweeter cake, studded with ripe apples, with a moist, crumbly texture and a crunchy streusel-like topping. Quite far removed from a Sharlotka actually, Bubushka would not have been happy from this break in tradition. But the promise of a home-made apple cake made my husband think of his happy childhood, so I’m determine to succeed.
I researched and mulled over different recipes, adapting it to suit my idea of a GFCF version. In the end, I decided to go rogue and hope that it will turn out fine rather than a hot mess of expensive GFCF ingredients. I peeled, chopped, stirred and mixed, infusing it with love.
In this recipe, I use Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Baking Flour, I prefer as it doesn’t contain rice flour or corn flour. The mix of bean flours and sorghum gives it a more authentic cake texture compared to GF flour mixes that contains rice and corn flour. But feel free to experiment with whatever GF flour mix you may have at hand. As you know, my favourite casein-free margarine that I have found in Malaysia is Nuttelex, but again, feel free to use your favourite CF margarine. And do experiment with chopped almonds, hazelnuts or pecans if you don’t have walnuts.
It turned out beautifully, just as I envisioned it. Mei kept sniffing the air, impatiently waiting for it to bake, Min Min too. I couldn’t believe it was GFCF, the texture was divine, the sweetness of apples and flavour of cinnamon infused throughout ever mouthful. The girls were very happy, but then, any cake is a real treat for them, even if it contains fruit. They didn’t want to eat some of the larger apple pieces, so perhaps next time I will cut it a little bit smaller. Though personally, I prefer the large juicy appley chunks. Most importantly, Hubby claimed it a success and had 2 slices! I guess he could taste the extra bit of love I infused through it….
GFCF Apple Crumb Cake made with Love
For the cake:
12 oz GFCF flour
1/4 teaspoon Xantham Gum (optional)
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
6 oz margarine
6 oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz almond meal
3-4 red apples
For the crumble topping:
1/2 cup gluten-free oats (optional)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons GFCF flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons margarine
Preheat oven to 180° C/ 350°F
Grease and flour a 9-inch springform cake tin.
Preparing the apples:
Any kind of red apples with do, but not Fuji apples. Peel and chop the apples into bite-sized chunks, make sure to throw away the seeds and core. It should amount to roughly 12oz. Soak the apples in a tub of salted water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a basin of water). This prevents the apples for oxidizing or turning brown while you are preparing the cake. If you prefer a more tart flavour, mix the apples in a tablespoon or two of lemon juice instead of salted water.
Make the crumble topping first:
Add all the crumble ingredients together in a bowl, mix thoroughly. Place it aside until needed.
To make the cake:
Seive the flour, Xantham Gum and baking powder together. Put it aside.
Using a cake mixer, beat the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly. Then add the vanilla extract and almond meal.
By hand, gently fold in the flour mix. Stir in the apples.
Pour the batter into the cake tin, smoothing down the top. Sprinkle the crumble mix until the cake is thoroughly covered.
Bake in the oven for 50-55 minutes until crumb is golden or a knife comes out clean.
Leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing it from the cake tin. Serve warm with a dusting of icing sugar and a whole lotta love…..
It will keep in an airtight container for 3 days in the cupboard or 1 week if in the refrigerator. Bon appetit!