BUCKWHEAT APPLE SKILLET CAKE
Spring is just around the corner — this time of year is wet and damp and is known as “Kapha season” in Ayurveda. After all that winter heaviness and hibernation the body needs lighter, drier, astringent pick-me-ups to refresh and get our systems ready for the warmer weather.
Buckwheat is one of my favourite flours to cook with — naturally gluten-free, the dense nutty flavour is a delicious base for cakes, and of course apples are totally in season. If you’ve tried and loved my buckwheat banana bread then you have to give this one a go.
This cake is lovely, light, wholesome and moist. It doesn’t have any eggs in and if you use coconut oil or extra virgin olive-oil instead of ghee it’s completely vegan. Blend the apples straight into the batter for a moist, malty cake and then top with more apples and a scattering of raisins. Delicious for brekkie or any time you fancy something sweet and wholesome.
250g peeled and cored apple chunks (approx 2-3 apples), equivalent to 1½ cups once finely diced, plus 2 apples sliced into half-moons/8ths
4 tbsp ground flax seeds
3 tbsp jaggery or maple syrup
2 tbsp blackstrap unsulfured molasses or use more jaggery
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp ghee, extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil, melted
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
⅓ cup (80ml) water
⅓ cup of packed raisins
Coconut oil or butter for skillet
Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan).
Add the buckwheat, ground almonds, spices and baking powder into a bowl and mix well.
Add the apple chunks to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, scraping down the sides as you go. Add the jaggery, flaxseed, water, vanilla, ghee and molasses and blend well.
Add the dry ingredients and blend again until everything is well incorporated, adding another tablespoon of water if it’s too sticky. Taste a tiny bit and see if it’s sweet enough for you, remembering that fresh apple and raisins will be added.
Heat a 9-inch skillet or frying pan and melt 1½ teaspoons of ghee to generously grease the bottom and sides well. Arrange the apple half moons into the base of the pan and allow to caramelise for 5 mins on a medium heat. Distribute the raisins evenly around the rest of the pan.
Spoon the batter into the centre of the pan and gently smooth out to the edges using the back of a wet spoon or spatula.
Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until firm and lightly browned on top.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then using a pallet knife or spatula gently ease up and loosen the edges and then the bottom of the cake from the pan. Top with a plate, turn over to turn it out onto the plate, then slide it back into the pan, apple side.
Dust with cinnamon and serve warm.
NB: You can also bake this as a cake: smooth the batter into a well greased cake tin and arrange the apple slices on top and then brush melted ghee/coconut oil over the apples.
If using a frying pan, check that the handle is ok to go into the oven - i.e. plastic will melt!
East by West tip: also lovely sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds to add some crunch.