Sunday, 13 October 2013

The swing of autumn: Chocolate Crumb Cake with Whole Apples

Autumn: 5 °C, the sun breaking through the clouds in the sky and a strong wind the leaves off the trees and whirling them through the air, 'til they sink on the ground - silently. The season is in full swing.
I can't stress enough how much I like this season: crisp weather, sweaters and sweatpants symbolizing long comfy afternoons spent with tea and cake - much of it! (Don't get me wrong summer, spring and winter are all awesome too, but the time of autumn is so calming everytime after a rushed summer!)

Today some tiny feral apples meet warming chocolate and a crisp crumb topping - pure comfort for the soul! We have the situation here that everybody likes something different - crumbles and fruit or no fruit and all and just something cakey or everything in between...
Sooo... A hard task to bake a cake that turns a smile onto EVERY face!

In the end somewhere between a fruit cake with streusel or some plain marble cake these little feral apples crossed my mind, waiting on our balcony for two weeks now (each and everyone picked with love AND risk - have you ever climbed on a slightly rotting and cracking apple tree? Trust me it's only fun afterwards!). With the inspiration of whole pear cake recipes, who can be found all over the web right now (e.g. this one) I instantly knew that this afternoon would be a great pleasure for everyone!
Whole apples baked into a simple chocolate cake and topped of with some cinnamon-hinted crumble!
Of course you can make this cake with regular store bought apples, but in my opinion you should use feral ones if you can - such unique, natural flavours!

As the cake was cooling off I even managed to visit a local farmers market to choose this year's pumpkin - pumpkin soup freak over here!

The rest of the weekend was well spend on working around in the house, enjoying the sunny weather and testing out some photography in the kitchen. This cake turned out to be the perfect "model" featuring it's different textures (varying from crisp crumble to fudgy chocolate and almost velvety apples) - such a poser! I've re-discovered my tripod and it's endless possibilities so my family ended up hungry at the table waiting for the cake to be served after the shoot ;-) (btw: they found some shortbread on the shelve from our last Britain trip so it wasn't to cruel!!)
But after all it was time to serve and I can tell you everybody left satisfied!

What about you? Any picky cake eaters at home?

Chocolate Crumb Cake with whole Apples
For the crumble:
-1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 1/4 cup Butter
- 3 Tbsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Salt

For the cake:
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Honey
- 2 Tbsp Applesauce (unsweetened)
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 1 Egg
- 1 Packet/1 Tbsp Vanilla Bean Sugar
- 2 and 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 and 1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
- 4 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 cup Milk
- 2 Tbsp Yogurt
- 5 small (feral) Apples (about 5-7 cm in diameter)

1. Heat the oven to 170 °C - Line a small pan (about 9 inch) with parchment paper.
2. Core and peel your apples - put them in the microwave for about 1:30 min until slightly cooked and pat them dry.
3. Make the crumble: Combine the flour with the sugar, cinnamon and salt, then work in the butter with a fork or your hands until the mixture resemles small crumbles - set aside.
4. Make the cake: Cream the brown sugar, honey, applesauce and butter together until slightly fluffy. Add in the egg and beat well. Mix the vanilla bean sugar, flour, baking powder and cocoa in a seperate bowl and add it in 2-3 batches to the butter mixture. Add in the milk and yogurt and mix until just combined.
5. Assemble the cake: Put the dough into the prepared pan, then press in the apples until they seem to touch the bottom. Top it all off with the crumble, pressing it slightly into the chocolate dough for "fixation".
6. Bake the cake for about 45-60 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
7. Serve with some whipped cream and enjoy!


  1. Hi Sabrina, thanks for commenting on my site. This cake looks simply scrumptious! I'm gonna have to try it. And I love your cake platter - beautiful.

  2. Sounds great...except...feral apples often contain worms. A unique taste, for sure. LOL

    1. Oh, I see now you do core them. So hopefully you would see anything weird. :)

    2. Why not, some meat hasn't killed anyone, heh? - Just kidding, of course I'm only choosing apples without worm indications :) And yes, I'm coring them, even when that's more because I just don't like having the seeds in the cake ;-) But if you're worried you easily can sub feral with regular storebought apples, won't do this cake any bad. I personally just love feral apples because they have such a subtle apple flavour instead of the bursting tart or sweet flavours of storebought apples (but don't get me wrong, loving those too!) :)

  3. What is a "packet" of vanilla bean sugar? I mean, I know what vanilla sugar is but the measurement means nothing to an American.

    1. Oh, I'm sorry, didn't know that - you're right, that's quite misleading. I've corrected it now: 1 packet Vanilla Sugar equals a Tablespoon. Thanks for the hint! ;)