Waking up from its summer hibernation, the oven is back up and baking. Warmer days are now long gone as the lovely aromas of baked treats gently fill the air with a cosy homeliness. Goodies apart, the side bonus of the agreeable warmth from the oven is just enough for the next few weeks before the heaters are turned on for the bitter colder months ahead.
If apples are not going into an actual recipe, I most of the time don't really buy them. When it comes to eating fresh fruits on their own, I tend to go for all the rest except apples unless they are the Pink Lady variety. In this recipe though, I have used Canadian-grown Cortland apples which are abundant at the moment.
I remember the first time I made a vegan cake for my mum, she was very impressed and immediately asked for the recipe. A good vegan cake is, more often than not, more delicious than non-vegan ones. Apart from being lighter, they are by far easier and much quicker to make.
Even though not vegan, my mum now always makes all her cakes vegan. And ever since I shared my very first vegan cake recipe with her, she has started experimenting on her own and now shares her recipes with me.
Inspired from one of my mum's recipes, this loaf cake calls for simple ingredients that most well-stocked pantry probably already carry. Packed with juicy bits of apple and infused with the warm aroma of cinnamon along with a good balance of citrus notes from the orange, this concoction results in an overall moist loaf that is yet not dense. Snugly pillowed in, the topmost layer of sliced apples add a good contrast of sugar-caramelised edges to their otherwise moist custardy texture; this simple loaf certainly offers a whole lot more than what you actually put in.
Like most vegan cakes, this one comes together quickly. In fact, most of the time, I find myself whizzing this up after dinner. Since preparation only takes about 10 minutes and, with no beating required, it only needs a bowl, a measuring jug and a mixing spoon or spatula. Ideal for any time of the day, this cake quite literally caters for a late-night after-dinner munch (in my case), breakfast the next morning and an afternoon teatime snack; it's even better the next day.
You will notice that the batter is not a runny one, don't be tempted to add more liquid as the moisture from the apples will provide enough while baking. This batter bakes well in a smaller loaf pan (20 x 10 cm or 8 x 4 inches) rather than a larger one. Depending on ovens, the cake may take more or less time to bake. Do the toothpick test to be sure. For best results, I suggest to start baking at a higher temperature and then lowering it slightly for the final 15 minutes.
Here's the full recipe in action -- watch the video.
Apple and Orange Vegan Loaf Cake
Ingredients (one loaf pan - 20 x 10 cm or 8 x 4 inches)
Dry mix -
1 1/2 cup [250 g] all-purpose flour
1/4 cup [30 g] fine dessicated coconut flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup [80 g] soft brown sugar
Zest from one orange
Wet mix -
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon [140 ml] fresh orange juice (from one large orange)
3 tablespoons [45 ml] non-dairy milk (I used store-bought oat milk)
2 teaspoons [10 ml] vanilla extract
1/4 cup [60 ml] vegetable (or coconut) oil
1 large Cortland apple
1/4 cup raisins
Cinnamon and soft brown sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit).
Peel the apple. Cut half of it into small pieces and half into thin slices. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Then add the coconut flakes and the orange zest. Mix well.
In a measuring jug, squeeze the orange to extract the juice. If the juice from one orange doesn't quite make it to 140 ml, make up the amount with some extra non-dairy milk. Add in the non-dairy milk, vanilla extract and oil. Mix well.
Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, then pour in the wet ingredients. Add in the chopped apple pieces and the raisins. Fold and mix gently until a thick batter is obtained. The batter will look quite dry, don't be tempted to add more liquid as the apples will release some moisture into the batter when baked.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Spread it evenly into the pan. Then place the apple slices on top by gently pushing them in to line them in a row.
Sprinkle with some sugar and cinnamon.
The baking time will depend on your oven. In my oven, it requires a total of 35 minutes. For best results, bake for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius (400 degrees Fahrenheit) then lower the temperature to 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and test with a toothpick or bamboo skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Due to the apples in this cake, the skewer may not be super clean but may have some lightly moist cake crumbs/bits on it. This is fine as long as it is not still a thick sticky batter-like consistency.
Allow the cake to completely cool in the pan before removing and cutting it. This loaf cake keeps well for a couple of days in an airtight container and is even nicer the next day. If you want to keep it for longer (especially if it is warm where you live), I suggest keeping it in the refrigerator because the fresh fruits might cause it to go moldy.