Delicious Bites: Apple and Cranberry Tea Cake
Hello everyone, are you ready to bake again or still recovering from indulging during the holidays? Whether ready or not, I’m sure you will be soon again, especially when your family starts to crave your homemade goodies! How are you anyway? I hope you’re all doing well and enjoyed the holiday break and are filled with inspiration for the coming year. This is Jillian and I have a wonderful New Years recipe for you to enjoy over Sunday afternoon tea and newspaper reading… I don’t know about you, but today was my first day back at work following a 2 week break. I decided that I needed something to sweeten the first working day of 2014, so I made an apple and cranberry yeast cake for morning tea. This recipe was inspired by a rhubarb yeast cake recipe from Stephanie Alexander’s book, ‘The Cook’s Companion’.
Fresh cranberries are impossible to find in Australia where I live, so we have to use frozen or dried cranberries. Maybe it is the same where you live? Rhubarb would make a great substitute if you can’t find fresh or frozen cranberries. If you’re not keen on cranberries, you could make an apple and walnut version instead swapping out the cranberries for some walnuts and sultanas (golden raisins) and use lemon juice and rind instead of orange to flavor the fruit and the glaze.
I recently bought a stand mixer with a dough hook and it made whipping up the dough for this cake a breeze. Once you’ve made the dough and rolled it out, it’s then filled with loads of sweetened fruit. The top is slashed before baking to allow some of the fruit to peek through. If you don’t feel like doing this you could always roll up the dough and slice it to make scrolls.
I then finished the cake with an orange glaze but that step is optional. If you don’t feel like icing the cake, you could just brush the uncooked cake with melted butter and sprinkle the top with some cinnamon sugar before baking.
Here’s the recipe for you for Apple and Cranberry Tea Cake – serves 10
85 gm (3 oz) butter, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tbl caster sugar
2 tsp dried yeast
1 tsp vanilla extract
Apple and Cranberry filling
450 gm apple (1 lb), peeled, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbl orange juice
1 tsp finely grated orange rind
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp melted butter
1/2 cup sifted pure icing sugar
Put the butter and milk in a small saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter melts and the milk is lukewarm. Add the vanilla and set to one side. Mix the flour, sugar and dried yeast in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the centre, then with the motor running, add the egg and sufficient milk mixture to make a soft dough then knead until smooth and shiny (5 minutes). Transfer the dough to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
While the dough is proving, make the filling. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl apart from the cinnamon and set to one side for 30 minutes. Drain the fruit, reserving the juice for later. On a lightly floured surface, punch the air from the dough; then roll out to a 20cm x 30cm (8 x 12 inch) rectangle before transferring to an oven tray lined with baking paper. Spread the drained fruit over the middle of the dough, leaving a 5cm (2 inch) border along the long sides. Sprinkle the filling with the cinnamon. Cut the long sides through to the filling at 3cm intervals using a pair of kitchen scissors. Fold the ends of the dough over the filling and then fold strips alternately across the filling in a criss-cross pattern, pressing the ends to seal. There should be glimpses of the filling within. Cover the cake with a tea towel and stand in a warm place for a further 30 minutes, to prove.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Bake the yeast cake until the crust is golden, a skewer inserted withdraws clean and the filling is cooked ~ 30 – 40 minutes. You may need to cover the yeast cake with baking paper to prevent over browning. Cool on the tray for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.For the orange icing, mix the icing sugar, 1-2 tbl of the reserved juice and the melted butter in a bowl or until smooth. You may need to use a little extra reserved juice. Drizzle the icing over yeast cake and serve. I use a 20 ml tablespoon and a conventional oven. You’ll need to lower the temperature if you’re using a fan forced oven.
By the way, the cake is best eaten the day it’s made but I had some for my breakfast this morning and it still tasted pretty good. Good luck with your return to work. See you again next month with another Delicious Bites post – Jillian.
(text/photos: jillian leiboff)