Healthy (ish) spiced toffee apple cake

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Well, here’s my entry to the PETA Great Vegan Bake Off. As you can probably tell, I’m not the greatest photographer in the world and I rely a lot on my camera’s AUTO function, but hopefully this will do. The recipe I came up with filled up two (yes, two) loaf tins and had a super duper amount of apple pieces in (more apples + less cake batter = healthier cake, right?).

I wanted something that was in theme with the season and as we currently have several crates full of apples sitting in the garage (yay for community orchards), it definitely had to be warm, comforting and very, very apple-y. I didn’t want it to be too sweet due to my Mum’s non-existent sweet tooth, which kind of put a lid on the “toffee” side of this toffee apple cake. I did however add some golden syrup and black treacle to get the subtle flavours of bonfire toffee underneath all the appletastic goodness. If you want to be really healthy, you can omit the syrup+treacle, but I haven’t tested the recipe without them.

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Recipe (for 1 loaf tin)

175g flour (I used 125g plain and 50g soya flour to use up ingredients in my cupboard, but you can probably substitute for a healthier flour if you prefer)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

0.5 tsp mixed spice

0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt

1 tbs porridge oats

35 mls oil of choice (I used sunflower)

1-2 tbs golden syrup

0.5 tbs black treacle

1 chia egg (add 1 tbs chia seeds to half a teacup filled with water + leave for 15 mins)

175 mls milk alternative (I used soya as that was all I had in the house)

1-2 large bramley apples (roughly 175g-200g), peeled and chopped into chunks. You can pop the chunks in a bowl of water to help prevent them going brown.

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Method

  1. Add flour, spices, bicarbonate of soda, salt and oats to a large bowl and mix evenly.
  2. Slowly add your milk alternative to the dry ingredients, followed by your oil, mixing well. Stir in syrup and treacle if using.
  3. Add your chia seed egg to the bowl (it should be ready by now) and slowly add apple chunks. Mix well.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a lined or greased loaf tin (you can just use a bit more of your oil for this) and flatten down the top with the back of a spatula.
  5. Place in a preheated oven (180 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven when a toothpick, skewer or knife comes out clean and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the tin. Best served warm, either on its own or with vegan custard. If you want it a little sweeter, serve with a vegan toffee sauce (recipe to follow).

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Well, that’s it. This was my first ever attempt at my own recipe and a healthy one at that. Well, healthy-ish. I’m sure there are some improvements to be made, but I ran out of time for the bake off.

All in all, I think it turned out pretty well for my first try. I tried to focus on using less fat and less sugar than a normal cake and I think I certainly did so. If I did it again I would experiment using wholemeal flour, trying a no sugar variety and possibly amping up the spice. It was also a little dense, which was noticeable more when cold, so I would attempt to make it lighter.

Also, If anyone has any tips for my photos, or knows of any good guides on the subject, they’d be much appreciated. Only so far I can go with the camera’s auto settings and my limited photoshop wizardry, just sayin’.

What do you guys think? Any tips to make this better/healthier? Has anyone else entered the bake off? I hope so :)

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6 thoughts on “Healthy (ish) spiced toffee apple cake

  1. The shiny top in the first pic makes it look very tempting. Was it part of the challenge to create a healthy cake? For me, cake should be sweet, a treat you eat in small amounts. I’d describe the above as more like an apple bread. Nothing wrong with that though, I’ve made a couple of similar recipes recently. You could try yeast and doing a long rise if you wanted to make it less heavy. I think with that volume of apples you need to strengthen the gluten with a bit of kneading so it will help hold them up. You could also try grating some or all of the apple.

    • Thank you very much for your tips, I’ll definitely try those the next time I’m experimenting with this :) It wasn’t part of the challenge to make it healthy, but everyone in the house is on a diet at the moment (except me, but I didn’t fancy the whole thing to myself haha) so I tried to make something that would be suitable for them. Now that you mention it, it was more bread like then cake like, I will have to try again (those apples do need using up after all :D)

  2. Don’t think I’m going to get anything submitted for the Bake Off this year, maybe if Peta had promoted a little sooner? Anyway nice to see you got something done! I love chunky autumn fruit in cake, I often go for diced pear with almond as the two are so good together. With pics what I do is take a number of very quick snaps from a few different angles, then load ‘em up into iPhoto, pick the best one or two, crop away all the clutter (there’s always loads of clutter everywhere as my kitchen is tiny!) tweak the brightness (also have a very dark shadowy kitchen) and such-like as needed and that’s it. I stick to mainly close ups because of the small cluttered kitchen as said and I don’t have much in the way of cute props – though as you’ve done above I think it’s nice to include relevant ingredients. Contrasting colours I think can be effective, like if you’d had a little pink/red tea towel or plate. I like tea towels, as you can get some pretty fabric cheaply. Distinctive individual bowls and plates can be got for a few quid at charity shops, I’d love more but … tiny kitchen ;) Oh, and I like the fact that you’ve included a cross section to show the fruit inside! As for the rise, bung a bit of cider vinegar in the milk next time to curdle it, it should get the bicarb fizzing and add a little extra lift. Though to be honest I don’t mind dense puddingy cake! Just eat hot with custard :D

    • Thanks so much for the photo tips, I’ll have a bit more of a play with props for my next baking session, which hopefully won’t be for any specific deadline so I won’t have to worry so much.

      It’s a shame you won’t get anything done, but with the weather getting colder I’m sure we’ll all be finding more reasons to put the oven on :)

      I’ll also definitely try the cider vinegar trick, but you can bet I ate this with custard, it was so yummy!

  3. Wow this looks amazing! :) If there are any apples left I am going to have to try it out, and being a bit healthier is always a benefit, I too have a house-full of dieters and can find healthy baking boring but I think this looks really good! Thanks :)x

  4. Pingback: The Great Vegan Bake-Off – The Finalists | Animal Writes | PETA.org.uk

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