Monday, 13 July 2009

Macrobiotic apple crumble cake

I am not one of the world's best bakers. In fact, I very rarely make anything resembling dessert except on very special occasions. Despite all this, I seem to have surrounded myself with some of the world's biggest sweet tooths, who have all learned to bring dessert with them when they visit, as they know they'll probably miss out otherwise (g).

And one, dear A, brought this cake, which while lush with apple and rich with a spicy crumble topping, is not overly sweet, and quite suitable for the non-sweet tooths among us.

Being macrobiotic, there are some unusual things about this recipe, which comes from Nakashima Shiho's Mocchiri chiffon sakkuri cookie dosshiri cake (Springy chiffon cakes, crunchy cookies, substantial cakes).

For one, it is made with tensaito, or beet sugar, which has lots of lovely minerals, is less sweet and said to be much healthier than refined sugar. Tensaito might be hard to come across outside Japan, but here it was right with the other sugars, and probably had been forever, I'd just never noticed it before (not being much of a baker... (g)). I don't suppose it would matter if you used any other kind of unrefined sugar if tensaito is not available. I won't tell if you don't.

Next, the fat in the cake is not butter or margarine, but the supposedly healthier rapeseed oil or canola oil.

And if all that novelty wasn't enough, a bain-marie is used when you whip the eggs! The original Japanese recipe just said to use a "water bath", so I improvised with a stainless steel bowl over a pot of boiling water. Since you will have a hand-held mixer whirring away on high when you do this, use common sense and put the bain-marie set up on a flat surface.

This might just be the strangest cake recipe I've come across, but I am quite enamoured with this results. And it made an unusual birthday/farewell cake for my dear Indian friend Sm, who was off back to India for 6 months. Too bad he came to our little farewell bash already laden with lots of leftover cakes from his work farewell. These kept us fed for the next two days. Waaay more sweetness than we in the Saffron household are use to!

Macrobiotic apple crumble cake

140 g plain flour

2 medium eggs
50 g maple sugar
60 ml rapeseed or canola oil

For the apple jam
2 large apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 tbsp tensaito (beet sugar)

2 tbsp raisins, plumped up in rum for 1 day

For the crumble
50 g plain flour
50 g walnuts, chopped fairly fine
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp rapeseed or canola oil
1 tbsp maple syrup

1 Lightly oil and line an 18 cm spring form cake tin with greaseproof paper.

2 Make the apple jam. Place apple pieces in a small pan and sprinkle the tensaito/beet sugar over the top. Place over medium heat. Once the apples begin to release their juice, turn the heat up to high and cook until the apples begin to lose their shape and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3 Make the crumble. Place the flour, chopped walnuts and cinnamon in a small bowl. Stir a few times, then stir in the rapeseed or canola oil and the maple syrup. Stir until the mixture becomes crumbly.

3 Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C (160 if using gas).

4 Bring a large saucepan half filled with water to a rolling boil and turn off the heat. In a large, heatproof bowl that will fit neatly into the saucepan, beat the eggs and maple sugar with an electric mixer on low speed. Place the bowl on top of the saucepan of hot water and continue to beat at high speed.

5 Once the egg-sugar mixture comes to body temperature, remove the bowl from the saucepan. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

6 Turn the mixer down to low and gradually beat in the rapeseed or canola oil. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the cooled apple jam and rum raisins.

7 Sift the four into the bowl and fold in gently with the rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared cake tin, spread the crumble mixture evenly over the top, and bake for 40 min, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.



Anonymous said...

how is this macrobiotic if you use eggs????

Saffron said...

Excellent question!

The answer is that the lovely Japanese lady who introduced this recipe to me said it was macrobiotic and I didn't think to question her! I see now that eggs are mostly avoided in macrobiotic diets.

Certainly, the cookbook author is renowned for her "macrobi" sweets, although she herself seems to refer to her recipes as "natural" and "organic". Perhaps only her cookies are macrobiotic, as the chiffon cake recipes in the linked book also appear to have egg whites in them.

Anyway, apologies if you were looking for an eggless cake. If your diet permits the rare egg, a slice of this cake would perhaps equal 1/4 of an egg.

KuanYin1 said...

Oh this myth that Macrobiotic means limitations. There are many macrobiotic recipes that use eggs.
Occasional use of eggs is ok.
It is recommended to use fertile eggs, why I never asked.

Macrobiotics, the diet choices you make depends on your health and constitution.
For happier healthier life, avoid
being Fun