My first vivid memory of munching into an apple and delighting in its sweet crunchiness was when I was 8 years old. Yes, a ripe old 8. A long time ago that was in the chronology of my life. In those days, apples were not commonly sold in Brunei. In fact, they were a bit of a luxury because not many food items were being imported into the country then.
One morning, my aunt, in her early twenties and attending nursing college at the time, had given a red apple each to my sister and I. We guarded our precious apples for a little while, eyeing each other's zealously while waiting to see who would eat theirs first so we can gloat to the other about our still intact apple. Strange, I know, the games kids play. Well, my aunt passed that same day. So suddenly, still too young. She'd suffered a brain hemorrhage right in the middle of a lecture. I remembered that, because her college mates who had come to pay their last respects that day were still wearing their trainee nurse uniforms (in my culture, funerals and burials are normally conducted on the same day of death).
Thus, the memory of that red apple remained with me to this day, ingrained in my mind as the last treasure my aunt had given us. As I said, apples were very rare in those days, they weren't cheap and my aunt was only a student. So it was really through an act of love that we had come to be in posession of them that day.
Now of course, apples abound everywhere and are available all year round, imported from corners of the world that cultivate them. In fact, we had so many Fuji and Gala apples in the house recently (a miscalculated shopping error) that we couldn't finish them fast enough. A number were already starting to lose their firmness and lustrous color, and it really made me sad at the thought of having to discard them. As I was perusing through some old cookbooks I'd acquired from Germany (in German), I came across many recipes using apples. As if it was a sign.
Somehow, I ended up spending the whole afternoon baking 4 apple cakes, one after the other (my oven space is limited, ok). Three went to the next door neighbors as baked gifts. One, I kept for ourselves. The Apple-Coffee Bundt Cake is wonderfully moist and dense with a little bit of crunch from the almonds. The coffee flavor dominated and paired wonderfully with the creaminess of the butterscotch glaze. The grated apples provided the moisture, and its tartness is enhanced by the lime zest. In fact, if my fun and kindhearted aunt was still around today, I think she'd like this cake very, very much. This recipe and post is therefore dedicated to her memory.
1 ½ cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoon instant coffee
1 cup hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
zest of 1 lime
2 apples, peeled, cored and grated
1/2 cup almonds, chopped finely
½ cup firmly packed soft brown sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ cup cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Generously butter a 10-inch Bundt pan, then dust with flour, tapping to remove excess.
2. Dissolve the coffee in a cup of hot water, and leave to cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and airy. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in cooled, strong coffee and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, lime zest and salt. Add to the wet ingredients, and stir until the mixture just comes together. Fold in the apples and almonds.
5. In a third bowl, use a mixer to beat the egg whites into stiff peaks. Using a spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter until just barely blended, working carefully so as not to deflate the mixture.
6. Scrape the mixture into the prepared Bundt pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 60-75 minutes, or until the cake springs back to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
7. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before gently turning out onto a rack to cool completely.
8. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Stir the butter and sugar in a pan over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves
9. Add the golden syrup and cream to pan, reduce the heat; simmer for 10 minutes or until sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Set aside.
10. Once the cake is cooled to room temperature, place it on a serving plate and slowly pour the butterscotch glaze over the top, letting some run down the sides of the cake. Either serve immediately, or for a moister than moist cake, leave the glaze to soak into the cake before serving.