UPDATED! GLUTEN-FREE APPLE AND PARSNIP CAKE (V+, GF, NF, ChF)

Before the arrival of 3-layered pistachio and pomegranate cake with buckwheat crunchies, before triple chocolate, gold-swirled brownies with salted caramel frosting and even before raw vegan cheesecake with popcorn flavoured fruit layers, there was the good old apple pie. (Please note I am using 'apple pie' as an umbrella term here. It in fact covers the following: apple cake, apple crumble, apple turnover, apple muffins and aything else apple/dessert related). Yup, this post is all about the humble apple pie, which has been so cruelly overlooked as things have become more and more extravagant in our kitchens of late. But I'm determined to change all that and take us back to the good old days.  

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However, honesty is always the best olicy and I must admit, that I too nearly forgot all about her. That was until I got my fruit and veg box delivery the other day and found several dessert apples hidden inside. Gosh, yes, why not make an apple pie, I though! Now all I needed was a lovely recipe.

With that in mind I made myself comforty in front of my (brand new) computer and searched the net high and low for the best apple pie inspirations I could find... 

And OMG what I found was so drool-worthy, I knew I needed to create a blog post dedicated to all things apple pie related. And - lucky you! - here it is, a compilation of some of the best apple creations out there just waiting for you to put the oven on and start baking:

1. My starting point was the super moist looking apple cake by the very talented Ksenia. I loved what she made so much that I tried out the recipe myself (see my veganised version here). We had a friend over at the time and together finished the cake in 1 weekend! Yup, it was THAT good. So, from Ksenia's recipe I took the idea of making my apple creation gluten-free.

2. Ksenia got her inspiration from Karin, the ''Baking Guru of Israel''. You know you're onto something good when the words guru and baking appear in the same sentence, right ;)? Personally, I just loved the simplicity of Karin's cake. So from her I took the idea of making my creation rectangular and uncomplicated. 

3. Next, I saw this to-die-for apple tart recipe by Yossy Arefi, the blogger and baker behind Apartment 2B Baking Company. I just loved how beautiful, yet understated and unpretentious the tart was. I couldn't help but want a piece of what she was having (*gush*). From Yossy I got the idea of sprinkling my version with icing's sugar. 

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4. Next there was Laura and Nora, the boggers behind THIS apple pie which just took my breath away. Those stunning pictures of the most perfect pie eating setting I ever did see - need I say more? I mean, how can you see that table and not want to sit at it? 

5. Allison and her children's apple muffins hold a very, very special place in my heart. I love the muffins because I can just see my son and I in the kitchen making them together; that image alone makes me beyond happy. But there is more - what's the point of a nice blog post/recipe if the writing doesn't grab you? Well, Allison's blog entry certainly grabbed me. In fact it pulled pretty hard at my heart strings cuz it resonated with me as a woman and as a mother in a way that no other blog post had before. Thank you Allison. 

6. Last but certainly not least, I bought the pretty and inspirational book DECORATED by April Carter. In it is a recipe of an apple and parsnip cake which looked divine. Though my recipe is rather different, I did steal her idea of combining apples and parsnips for my apple creation ;).

So that leads us to my little bake: a simple, yet delicious vegan and gluten-free apple and parsnip cake. I am rather pleased with this moist and yummy number and hope you too will give this a try in your kitchen. Happy baking! 

UPDATED! GLUTEN-FREE APPLE AND PARSNIP CAKE (V+, GF, NF)

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 35- 40 minutes
Serves: 12

Ingredients:
225g (organic) sugar
300g gluten-free all purpose flour (see tips below for substitutions)
1tsp bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
1tsp (gluten-free) baking powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt (I used pink salt)
¼ tsp organic vanilla powder or vanilla extract
3tbs milled organic flaxseed (see tips below for substitutions)
9tbs water
250ml olive oil (plus a tiny bit extra for greasing)
100g grated (organic) parsnips (about 1 parsnip)
200g grated (organic) apple (about 1.5 apples) (see tips below)

To garnish
2 - 3 apples + juice of 1 lemon 
A sprinkle of icing sugar (optional)

IMPORTANT: Please check the tips at the end of the recipe before you start making it as this makes 1 very large cake (like this one here) or two littler ones as shown!

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Instructions:
Take out and measure/weigh all your ingredients and place them on your work surface.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C (356F) or 160C/fan (320F). Grease a 30cmx23cm (12¼ ‘’ x 8¾ ‘’) shallow cake tray with a table spoon or so of olive oil OR 2 round cake tins 20cm in diametre (around 8 inches). Line with non-stick, greaseproof baking paper. Set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, spices, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda). Set aside.

Mix the flaxseed and water together and set aside.

Wash , peel and remove the core of the parsnip and apple. Grate.

For the garnish wash, peel and core 2-3 apples. Cut into 4 pieces and slice the top finely, whilst still insuring the pieces hold together. Place the 1/4, sliced apple pieces in a small bowl and pour over the juice of a lemon. Mix the apple pieces in the juice until you are sure they are covered in lemon juice.

Next combine the flaxseed, water, oil and grated apple and parsnip. Combine nicely with the dry ingredients. Then place the cake mix into the lined and prepared cake tray or evenly distrubute into 2 trays if making 2 cakes. Spread evenly. Place the sliced apple on top as shown. 

Next, place the cake(s) in the oven. Bake for about 30-40 minutes. As you take the cake(s) from the oven, it should have a little bit of a bounce when you touch it.

Leave the cake(s) to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then remove the cake(s) from the tray and let it cool another 10 minutes or so. Garnish with icing sugar and... enjoy.


IMPORTANT: Please read the tips below for substitutions

Tip 1: If gluten-free flour is hard to come by, remember you can use regular (organic) all-purpose flour instead. Your cake just won't be gluten-free though.
Tip 2: You can use milled chia seed instead of milled flax seed OR if you prefer replace the 3tbs of flax seed and 9 tbs of water with 3 eggs, making this a vegetarian rather than a vegan cake. It’s up to you.
Tip 3: Which apples should you use? That’s a good one. Frankly, I’m pretty relaxed about these sorts of things but for the grated apple I used tart baking apples. For the slices I used sweet red apples. Rather random as I don’t think it matters that much. Use what’s local, affordable and in season. 
Tip 4: I updated this recipe in November 2015. Originally I had made 1 large cake, which is perfectly fine, but as I was re-shooting the pictures I tried using the cake mixture for 2 smaller round cakes (as shown) and found the recipe worked just as well.

Eat with... a glass of home-made seed milk or home-made almond milk. Perfect!