Here in Australia, we are bracing for another long hot summer ahead. Our strawberries have just been harvested and market fresh Granny Smith apples – ideal for baking – are in plentiful supply. This delightfully moist cake combines yoghurt with vanilla, apples and sultanas, and is topped with the crunch of flaked almonds: an ideal contrast to sweet ripe berries.
Serve this cake with créme fraiche, yoghurt, or dollop cream as a dessert, or on its own for afternoon tea. Those of us with a sweet tooth have been known to enjoy a slice at breakfast time, topped with fresh strawberries!
Clockwise from top left: Granny Smith apples, eggs, vanilla bean paste, sultanas, yoghurt, flaked almonds, soft brown sugar, lemon zest, raw caster sugar, self raising flour.
Place peeled, cored, diced apple in acidulated water in a non-reactive bowl to prevent browning before straining and combining them into cake mixture.
Toss fruit in a tablespoon of plain flour before folding it into cake batter: this prevents it from sinking during baking.
Place cake batter in a greased, lined rectangular baking pan and top with flaked almonds and soft brown sugar.
Makes 8 generous serves
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
125g plain unsweetened, strained Greek-style yoghurt
3 large fresh free range eggs
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
1 generous cup self raising flour
1/2 tsp natural vanilla bean paste
grated zest of one unwaxed lemon
1/4 cup sultanas
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 180C fan forced. Grease and line a rectangular non stick pan with baking paper. Make sure the paper extends at least 2 cm over both long sides, so you can grip and pull out the baked loaf. Using an electric beater, whisk together yoghurt, raw caster sugar and eggs until they are increased in volume, light and frothy.
Add the vanilla, lemon zest, sifted flour and beat to a smooth batter: do not overwork the mixture. Gently fold in the floured apples and sultanas evenly through the batter. Pour mixture into the baking pan and level off. Generously sprinkle over the flaked almonds and soft brown sugar.
Bake on the centre shelf for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 170C and cook for a further 15 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly and the almonds are golden brown. Allow to cool completely in the pan then lift out by gripping the baking paper on the long sides. Top with washed and hulled fresh strawberries. Serve sliced: on its own, with créme fraiche, vanilla yoghurt, or dollop cream and extra fresh strawberries.