Friday, 16 December 2011

Apple cake, by mistake

Things don't always turn out the way we expected. 
As simple and thruthful as this may seem, the lesson is hard to learn. At least for me. 
Whenever I take the resolution to move in one direction, life flows in the opposite one.

I usually get disappointed as I realize I have little control over serious or trivial events, but when I allow myself to accept things as they are, something interesting and unexpected happens, and a  casual mistake may lead me through an unpredicted creative path.

This is how a brand new project, or a recipe, may be developed.
Take this story, for instance.

As soon as I decided to take part in my first contest, hosted by the French website Culinographie, I visualized both the recipe and the styling for the post I would have submitted: 'Mini pavlova with passion fruit syrup'. The idea really appealed to me, and the more I thought about it, the more I craved for it.

I should have known better, though.
I've always liked meringues, but, apparentely, they have never liked me! I've always had problems cooking them, and this last attempt was no exception.
These last two attemps, to be precise.

The first one ended up as soon as I started. As I carefully whipped the egg whites and added the sugar it was perfectly clear that the consistency of the froth was neither foamy nor stiff, as it should be, but all too watery. I set aside this mixture and decided to have another go...
The second attempt was not very lucky either, since the meringues that came out of my oven after two hours were apparently overcooked on the outside but quite raw inside.

No wonder I felt quite discomforted at this stage. I needed some sort of comfort food to brighten up the day (very rainy, too), and as I still had the egg whites and sugar mixture in the fridge I conjured up this "happy" apple cake. By mistake. (I had six yolks in the fridge, but I forgot to add some to the cake batter!). 

As I originally planned to submit this recipe to the contest, I played a bit during the styling and editing stages, adding a couple of white and gold stars to convey a beaming atmosphere.
Hope you like it!


all-purpose flour: 220 gr
unsalted butter: 150 gr - melted
egg whites: 3
sugar: 110 gr
baking powder: 16 gr
small Gala apples: 4
whole milk: 50 ml

for garnish:

whipped cream
icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°. Meanwhile grease a round cake pan (I used a 20cm- diameter one) with butter and coat with flour. Peel, halve and core the apples; set aside in a large bowl, covered with cold water, to avoid oxidation.

In a glass or metal bowl whip egg whites and gradually add granulated sugar while continuing to beat with an electric whisk. Sift onto the bowl the flour and the baking powder, then add the melted butter (at room temperature) carefully stirring dry and wet ingredients with a spatula until the batter gets smooth and fluffy. Gradually add some milk if the mixture is too thick (I used approximately 50 ml of milk, at this stage).

Spoon the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a spoon. Cut the halved apples thin - but don't cut all the way through - and place them on top of batter. Sprinkle with butter flakes.

Bake for for about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean in the center of the cake. Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with whipped cream or crème - fraiche.

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