This is a really really good cake recipe, it's from Ottolenghi like most of all my favourite recipes and its a perfect winter cake, you could always swap the apples for pears if you like.
makes one cake or around 25-30 cupcakes
4 tbsp water
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
120ml olive oil
160g caster sugar
½ vanilla pod
2 eggs lightly beaten
3 brambly apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm dice
grated zest 1 lemon
2 egg whites
100g unsalted butter at room temp
100g light muscavado sugar
85ml maple syrup
220g cream cheese room temp
Prepare your cupcake trays and put cases inside them, or if your making it into a cake grease a springform cake tin and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
Place the sultanas in 4 tbsp of water and simmer on a medium heat until all the water has been absorbed and then leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and set aside.
Put the oil and sugar in a bowl, and slit the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds in. Using an electric whisk beat the oil, sugar and vanilla together and gradually add the eggs. The mix should be smooth and thick, add the diced apples, sultanas and lemon zest then fold in the sifted dry ingredients.
Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks, and fold in two batches into the rest of the mixture, trying to keep as much air in as possible.
Spoon the batter into the cupcake cases or a cake tin and if baking a cake cook for 1½ hours until a skewer comes out clean, for cupcakes cook for 20-25 mins and also test with a skewer. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing, beat together the butter and sugar and maple syrup until light and airy with an electric whisk. Then add the cream cheese and beat until totally smooth. This can be made a day or so in advance and keeps in the fridge.
Either using a pallet knife smooth on the icing or if your feeling fancy spoon into a piping bag and pipe away.