Category Archives: Baking

Super fast Apple Crumble

Moving on from yesterday’s “What do I do with excess applesauce?” theme…

If you have lots of apple sauce but little time and are looking for a tasty dessert that’s quick to make, an apple crumble is the answer.

My apple sauce tends to be fairly chunky – I like big pieces of apple (and usually use a combination of apples such that some fall apart but some don’t).  If your apple sauce is similar then this will be a doddle for you.   If yours is more sauce than apple chunks, you can always add some freshly chopped apples or pears to give it the additional texture. Alternatively, you can mix in other kinds of fruit such as frozen berries or rhubarb if you like.  If you add fruit that has a high-water content, mix in a tablespoon of corn starch, flour, or tapioca flour to absorb the moisture.

This dessert works great either in individual ramekins or a family sized dish that you scoop portions out of.

Topping :

  • 3 parts uncut oatmeal
  • 1 part wheat bran (optional)
  • 1 part flour
  • cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, to taste.
  • 2 parts brown sugar or maple syrup
  • 2 parts melted unsalted butter
  1. In a bowl, combine the oatmeal, spices, flour, and bran (if using).   In another large bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar or maple syrup.
  2. Add the flour mixture to the butter and mix well.
  3. Spoon as a layer over the fruit mixture.

Which ever presentation you opt for, start by laying down a thick layer of fruit, and then top with the crumble topping.   Bake until the topping is browned. Serve warm with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.


Upside down Tatin Cake

If you’re like me, fall means an apple picking day.  If you’re also like me, you get home and find that you’ve picked just enough to feed a family of twelve nothing but apples.  Every meal.  For a year.  (One year we came home and found that we had upwards of a 100kg of apples.   Lesson one, don’t take a large group of children with you 🙂 )

Annnnnnnny ways… The first step to preserve the apples is usually a vat of apple sauce.  Great, but there’s only so jars of apple sauce that you’ll actually consume on its own.   For the rest, you’ll need something else to do.

With raw apples, my favourite option is a tarte tatin.   It’s not as much of an option with apple sauce.   Instead, I make a cake tatin of sorts.

  1. Make a caramel (this is simply burnt sugar.   Put it in a pot with just enough water to dampen the sugar and then turn on the heat.   Don’t stir it or it will crystallise.) It’s ready when it’s a rich brown colour.  Watch out – once it starts darkening, it’ll burn in less than one minute.   Once it’s a nice brown, pour it into the bottom of the pan and allow to cool.   It should harden.
  • Tip: if you have kids, keep them out of the kitchen for this part of the process.  You’ll want to be very careful because the slightest spatter can cause very nasty burns.
  1. Once the caramel has cooled, spread a generous layer of apple sauce over the caramel.
  2. Finally, make a basic sponge cake batter.  The BBC offers a few recipes for this here.  You may want to add some cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to the batter.
  3. Pour the batter over the apple sauce and bake the cake as per the recipe.
  4. When it is still warm, flip over onto the serving plate.   The liquid and heat should have made the caramel soak into the apples.  If there’s quite a bit of liquid, all to the better!  Pour it over the cake and it’ll soak into the sponge.
  5. Serve warm with a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream.

Bananas Foster Oatmeal Bread

I have a bunch of bananas that are going off on my counter – and I have no room in the freezer.

What I want is a recipe that will use up as many bananas as possible, preferably without the guilt that comes with adding lots of sugar or fat.    So I started from this recipe for Banana Oatmeal Bread.    From the get-go, I know that I want far less sugar in this loaf and I want it to be something a bit special.

So I’m going to modify this recipe somewhat.   I’m going to eliminate virtually all of the sugar except for 1 tablespoon of sugar that I’ll add to the butter/banana/egg mix to help with the creaming process and two tablespoons of dark brown sugar that I’ll mix with a tablespoon of rum, some ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.    I’ll pour that in the bottom of my loaf tin and then add my batter over it.

I wanted more fibre in this loaf, so I’ve used self-raising flour and halved the amount of baking powder.   I also added 2 tablespoons of wheat bran along with the oatmeal.   I used only 50g of butter.

I’ve skipped the nuts because they would add more fat that I actually want in this dish.

In the end, there’s less than 3 tablespoons of added sugar to this loaf and only 55g of butter (including what I used to grease the loaf tin).   By putting the rum/sugar/spice mix in the bottom, I’ve ensured that it will caramelize and the loaf will still be satisfyingly sweet and have a real treat quality to it – but without a whole lot of empty calories.

Here is the modified version:


For the cake:

  • 50g  butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed banana (approximately 2 bananas)
  • 1 cup self-raising whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned type oatmeal (do not use instant or quick cooking!)
  • 3 tablespoons of wheat bran
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons rum
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • Ground ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste
  • 2 tablespoons of dark sugar.
  • Cream butter, sugar, egg and bananas.
  • Add baking powder and salt, mix, then add oatmeal & flour.
  • Add the nuts.
  • In a separate bowl, mix all of the glaze ingredients and pour into the loaf tin.
  • Pour in the batter slowly.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Check middle with a toothpick, if toothpick comes out clean, it is done.
  • Take out of oven and turn out of pan.
  • Slice and serve.
  • This is quite a dense loaf.   I’m having it for breakfast on Day 2 and it’s quite hearty.   I’ve toasted two slices of it and am having it with a touch of butter and it’s as filling as my usual bowl of porridge.
  • If I was making it again, I might double the recipe as it’s only about half the height of a regular loaf. 
  • If you don’t want a lighter version, you might prefer to use 1/2 whole wheat, 1/2 plain flour.