By Louise Liebenberg
I’VE never been much of a baker and so the new edition of You: Let’s Bake which was sent to me by Human & Rousseau (an imprint of NB Publishers) some months ago has been lying perfectly pristine for all that time. It is packed with great recipes though and so I finally decided this week to try out the apple loaf on Page 49, as it looked fairly easy to prepare. “Grated apple and nuts add extra fibre to this buttermilk loaf,” writes author Carmen Niehaus, who has been in charge of the You/Huisgenoot test kitchen since 1989 and has more than 20 best-selling cookery titles to her name. The recipe was originally sent in by Ellen Ritter of George.
Makes 1 medium-sized loaf.
500ml (2 cups) cake flour, 1ml (1/4 tsp) salt, 5ml (1 tsp) bicarbonate of soda; 125ml (1/2 cup) butter or margarine; 250ml (1 cup) sugar; 2 extra-large eggs; 60ml (1/4 cup) buttermilk; 60ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped pecan nuts; 250ml (1 cup) finely grated apple; 5ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20 x 10cm loaf tin with butter, margarine or non-stick spray. Sift the cake flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda together. Set aside.
Cream the butter or margarine (I used butter) and sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk. Add the pecan nuts, grated apple and vanilla essence.
Mix gently, turn the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 1 hour or until golden and a testing skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the loaf. Leave the loaf to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.
The Global Table verdict
I followed the recipe to the letter, right down to the baking time, and it came out perfectly, if a little cracked on top, which in my very limited experience of baking fruit loaves like banana bread seems to be rather hard to avoid. Also, when sliced the loaf did look a bit patchy in colour. However it tasted fantastic with some nice farm butter spread on top, and was so much nicer than the age-old banana loaf we’ve all grown thoroughly sick of. It reminding me how versatile a fruit loaf can be for either a breakfast spread or at tea time. I especially liked the fruity flavour which wasn’t overly sweet and will definitely bake this loaf again.
Let’s Bake is the latest in the hugely successful You cookery series. It was published last July and is practical, useful and very South African. There are more than 230 tested recipes ranging from the traditional to the innovative – everything from everyday loaves, muffins and cookies to brownies, cakes of every description and for every occasion, pancakes and cream puffs… and even Italian panforte which I can’t wait to try my hand at next. There are also recipes for icings and cake fillings. Let’s Bake is available at leading bookstores throughout South Africa at around R220 and the ISBN number is 978-0-7981-5125-2.