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Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

Apple, ginger and almond cake


You'll need

3 Braeburn apples 30 ml lemon juice 200 gm almond meal 165 gm unblanched almonds 3 eggs 175 gm raw caster sugar 110 gm honey, plus extra for drizzling 2½ tsp ground ginger ¼ tsp baking powder To serve: crème fraîche (optional)

Method

  • 01
  • Peel and coarsely chop one apple, combine in a small saucepan with lemon juice and 1½ cups water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and cook for 25 minutes or until apple is very soft and water has evaporated. Press through a fine sieve and set aside.
  • 02
  • Preheat oven to 160C. Process almond meal and 155gm whole almonds in a food processor until finely ground, set aside. Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs, 165gm sugar and honey for 4-5 minutes or until thick and pale, then add apple purée, almond mixture, 2 tsp ginger and baking powder and mix to combine. Spoon mixture into a greased and baking paper-lined 22cm-diameter springform pan, smoothing top.
  • 03
  • Using a mandolin, thinly slice remaining apples and arrange over cake mixture in concentric circles, overlapping slightly, then brush apples with melted butter.
  • 04
  • Coarsely chop remaining almonds, combine in a small bowl with remaining sugar and ginger then scatter over cake. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and a skewer withdraws clean (cover with foil if cake browns before cooking time is completed). Cool for 20 minutes then remove, drizzle with honey and serve with crème fraîche.

Cooking apples
When it comes to cooking, all apples (and there are lots of 'em!) aren't created equal. The glossy green Granny smith is arguably the best apple for cooking, especially in purées and sauces. Its natural tartness makes it ideal for relishes. golden delicious apples have juicy, aromatic flesh and are perfect to use when you want apples to hold their shape after cooking (as in our cider-roasted spatchcock). They are also suited to apple tarts and could be used in place of Braeburns in the apple, ginger and almond cake. Crisp and juicy braeburns, with a pink-red blush against green skin, are great baking apples, although some would argue they are best enjoyed when eaten raw. Another blushing variety is the pink lady, a cross between golden delicious and Lady Williams. A very popular eating apple, its firm dense flesh also holds up well to caramelising, baking and for use in pies. Dark red and elongated, red delicious are the least suited to cooking. They're best put to use thinly sliced raw through salads, where their sweetness is beautifully offset with a piquant dressing. Other great cooking apples include cox's orange pippin, lady williams and, if you can get your hands on them, crabapples, which make the finest tarte Tatin you could hope to eat (look out for the John Downie variety).

At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 10 people

Featured in

Aug 2007

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