Spiced Apple and Halvah Breakfast Cake
By Molly Reeder
I came up with this cake loosely based around a French cake that I adore that uses apricots instead of apples. Halvah is a sweetened sesame paste with origins in Middle Eastern cooking.
Delicious on its own like a candy, halvah is also delicious paired with apples and cinnamon. The nutty earthiness of the halvah plays with the ground walnuts, almonds and apples beautifully, creating a dense cake that is great for breakfast or tea time.
Enjoy this with good company, cozy blankets, and strong black tea or coffee.
2 granny smith apples, or any other variety of tart baking apple
6 oz/170g unsalted butter at room temp.
1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (125g) almond meal/ground almonds
1 cup (95g) ground walnuts
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest from one orange
3/4 cups (90g) unbleached all purpose flour or spelt flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (60g) plain sweetened halvah, chopped and crumbled into small pieces
5 dried dates, pitted and chopped into small pieces
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar and almond meal until fluffy and well mixed together, about five minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon and salt.
Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter mixture, beating in between each addition until smooth and shiny. Add the vanilla extract and orange zest.
Add the ground walnuts, followed by the flour mixture- incorporating into the butter in batches- make sure to not over mix at this point, adding a bit at a time until smooth and well blended together.
Slice the apples into quarters, removing the seeds and core. Slice the quarters into thin long slices.
Take 1 tablespoon of the halvah and 1 tablespoon of the dried dates and put them aside with the apple slices.
Pour the rest of the halvah and dates into the cake batter, folding in evenly.
Grease a 8- or 9-inch springform cake pan and line with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom, that is also well greased. Pour the cake batter into the pan, smoothing out the top.
Take your apple slices and begin arranging them on top of the batter, in a fan-like pattern, so that each apple slice lays slightly on top of the one before it, making a spiral of apples leading to the center of the cake. Sprinkle the remaining halvah and dates over the cake evenly.
Put in oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, checking around 35 minutes with a cake tester.
Remove from oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before attempting to remove from pan.
Once cool enough, remove from the pan and slice. Serve with a dollop of fresh plain yogurt and a cup of strong black coffee. Enjoy!
Originally published in Issue 3
Oapercut illustration by Anna Brones