I work for a food ingredient supply company in Auckland. I seem to have developed a bit of a baking rep with the warehouse boys there. It probably doesn’t help that I leave biscuits and brownie in their lunch room from time to time.
The other day, a couple of them came up to me and coyly told me that they had a couple of bags of browning bananas and asked if I could please make them a banana cake. It was pretty cute so of course I turned up the next day with two totally massive banana cakes. They had both pretty much disappeared within the hour once I dropped them off at 8am.
Yesterday I got cheekily shown to a massive pile of granny smith apples that had fallen out of their crate and had to be written off. They were making jokes that I should make them a big apple crumble with them. One does not joke about such serious matters such as apple crumble so I think they were somewhat taken aback when I grabbed a boxful with a total dead pan expression and told them they would have one ready Monday morning.
How else do you think I get away with some of the ridiculous and last minute favours I ask of them during the working week?
I actually love baking for the boys. Far more so than the office staff. The look of absolute joy and wonderment that crosses their faces is worth lugging a couple of kilos of cake to work for. They still go on about the brownie I made for them a couple of months ago. It’s like baking for my brothers friends, no matter what you make there will always be overwhelming amounts of gratitude and love and that is what I think baking is about.
I think I took to many apples though. Like I think I have about 10kg of them sitting in my lounge. Peeling all of those for crumble is going to be a mare. So in my attempts to start reducing the apple population I decided to turn a measly one and a half apples into this delicious looking honey loaf. It’s a start I guess.
I acquired the Bluebells Cakery cookbook the other day (I finally got around to spending my birthday money from February). I don’t know why I waited so long to get this one. It is beautiful. This recipe was orginally made with pears. I gladly ignored that.
The flat decided to take an impromtue trip to Rotorua to visit some friends so I quickly whipped this up to take down to us. The entire thing had disappeared within the first half an hour of us being there so I am guessing it was good. Usually with loaves I love to slice them up and smear them with butter (mainly because I find them to be a little dry). The apple in this one however keeps it excellently moist and the ginger sprinkled over the top gives excellent crunchy flavour bursts.
Apple, Honey and Ginger Loaf
Adapted from the Bluebells Cakery Cookbook
Makes 1 loaf
125g butter, softened
3/4 cup castor sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups plain flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 large granny smith apples, sliced into 2mm slices
1/2 cup crystallised ginger, finely chopped
1/3 cup honey, melted
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees on bake and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until the sugar as dissolved and the mixture is light in colour. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well until the mixture is light and voluminous.
Sieve in the flour, baking powder and ginger and gently mix along with the ground almonds until just combined.
Smooth half the batter on the base of the loaf tin. Insert half of the apple slices into the batter along the length of the loaf. Sprinkle over half of the ginger. Place the rest of the batter over the top and repeat with the rest of the apple slices and the ginger.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
When the laof comes out of the oven, drizzle over the melted honey while it is still hot. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out to cool completely or even better, to serve warm.