I love wild apples. They are usually just wasted and left to rot, with the exception of those the deer (or I) get to first. There is nothing like wild apples when baking. Almost every tree has a different variety, ranging from a tangy mac, to a sugar sweet golden, to a super-solid spy, to those with hints of rose reminiscent of a not-to-distant ancestry… Nature has some of the best foods to offer.
Despite these apples having originally been planted, they were so by settlers about 200 or so years ago and have certainly gone wild, or even crossed, over the past two centuries. Although they aren’t always ‘grocery-store pretty’, wild apples almost always taste amazing, are completely free, and you know they are chemical-free as well. Conventionally grown apples are one of the most heavily sprayed crops out there; but a little scab won’t hurt you.
If you don’t have any wild apples you can always use store-bought ones (I won’t tell), but try to get them from somewhere as local as possible. Apples are a great winter food that store all season, until spring brings new fresh delights. It’s no wonder that apples and apple trees appear so often in folklore—they are truly a sacred staple.
This is a moist, rich and very apply cake that is quickly becoming my favourite (especially with the fridge full of wild apples I have). It goes well with strong coffee or tea, whipped coconut cream, vanilla ice “cream”, after dinner, or for breakfast… The ginger adds a bit of spice; the whole grain spelt is high in protein, fibre and many essential nutrients; and the apple overload gives you at least a full serving of fruit in every slice.
This cake is super easy to make (especially if you get someone else to cut the apples for you) and looks beautiful on the table. Add this seasonal cake to your holiday repertoire!
Note: This is not a very deep cake. If you want a deeper, thicker cake, double the recipe but only double the chopped apples not the sliced ones (because you still have the same size of pan bottom to cover).
2 lbs of mixed wild apples (10-12 small wild apples, 4-5 if using large store-bought apples)
2 medium-sized bowls of cold water
2 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. (heaping) ground chia seed soaked in 5 tbs of cool water and set aside
¼ c. soft (or softened) vegan non-hydrogenated margarine (plus some to grease the pan)
¼ c. vegetable oil
1 c. evaporate cane juice or other raw granulated sugar
¼ ts. pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ c. whole grain (or lightly sifted) spelt flour
1 ts. (flat) baking soda
½ ts. ground dry ginger (you can also use cinnamon, but…)
¼ ts. sea salt
Large mixing bowl
Spring-form cake pan
Core and thinly slice (0.5 cm) half of the apples, the nicest ones (do not peel, but cut out bruises or other bad parts, ignore surface spots).
Core and finely chop the other half of the apples (do not peel, but cut out bruises or other bad parts, ignore surface spots).
Put both types of apple aside in separate bowls each filled with cold water and a table spoon of lemon juice. This keeps them from browning while you prepare the batter
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C)
Grease a spring-form pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine, oil and sugar using a rubber or silicone spatula until light and fluffy in texture.
Beat in chia seed mixture adding half at a time.
Stir in vanilla. Then add flour, baking soda, ginger and salt. Mix well. The batter will be thick, more like cookie dough, but don’t let it fool you.
Drain prepped apples and fold the chopped ones into the batter.
Arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern, overlapping on the bottom of the pan.
Carefully smooth batter over layered apples. Bake in the oven for 40 – 45 min (or until a toothpick comes clean). Allow cake to cool a few minutes before running a knife around the edge and removing it. Flip onto a cake plate and carefully remove bottom layer.
Serve warm or at room temperature in slices (6-10). Will last 2-3 days covered on the counter-top (if you don’t eat it all before then).