Provencal cooks often bake with the indigenous olive oil, producing simple, dense cakes, laced with season fruits, herbs, and spices. These sweets would not be served as dessert but rather as a mid-morning snack with coffee or after supper with a glass of wine.
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Gala or Golden Delicious apple
2 large eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
Candied Orange Rind and/or whipped cream for garnish (optional; recipe
Candied Orange Rind
With vegetable peeler, carefully remove rind of an orange in wide strips, avoiding the bitter white part underneath. Cut strips into 1/8-thick strips and place in small pan with enough water to cover. Heat to boiling and cook 2 minutes. Drain orange strips and return to pan. Add 3 tablespoons sugar and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves into a thick syrup that coats orange strips. Cool before using.
1. Heat oven to 350° degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan. In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, allspice, cloves, and salt; set aside.
2. In large bowl, beat eggs, applesauce, brown sugar, olive oil, and orange rind until well blended. Stir in flour, mixing gently, until combined.
3. Pour cake batter into pan. Peel and core apple; cut lengthwise into 3/4-inch thick slices. Arrange slices in batter in a concentric circle like the spokes of a wheel. Bake until brown and firm, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, if desired, prepare Candied Orange Rind.
4. To serve, invert pan to remove cake and place cake right side up on serving. (This cake is sturdy and easy to handle.) If desired, garnish center of cake with candied orange rind and/or whipped cream.