A cross between gingerbread and fruit cake, I can see these cake bars as a much simpler, easier-to-make alternative to a Christmas cake. Grab a glass of mulled wine and one of these, and your Christmas will get off to a great start!
This recipe started out with a recipe for a simple but delicious apple cake sent to me by a work colleague (= one of the many perks of being a food blogger – people want to share their yummy recipes with you!).
But then somehow, mostly in an effort to make the cake ‘more seasonal’, it morphed into these sticky apple and ginger cake bars!
A few years ago, you see, I found a Christmas cake recipe online that contained apple, dried fruit and ginger. It was gorgeously rich and moist, and a perfect much-easier-to-make alternative to a traditional Christmas cake. Now can I find this recipe again? Nope. I’ve searched online until my eyes ache and it seems to have just disappeared completely. I have a feeling I have a printed version hidden away somewhere in the boxes of books in our spare room that (blush blush) I haven’t managed to unpack in the two years since we moved to the UK.
One day I’ll dig out this recipe and make this amazing cake for you, but in the meantime these cake bars contain many of the same ingredients – so we’ll give them a go!
I was also attracted to this recipe as it’s one of those one bowl recipes that are really quick to throw together. You simply melt the wet ingredients together in a saucepan, and then briefly stir in the dry ingredients. You just need a few minutes to chop up your ingredients, but other than that it would be hard to come up with an easier cake.
This cake ends up as a sort of cross between gingerbread and a fruit cake. It’s moist with lovely apple pieces, a bit sticky from the syrup, and It’s got a nice gingery bite. It’s got a warming quality that’s perfect for handing around with cups of tea (or sneaky glasses of mulled wine) at Christmas.
Another thing I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t make too much. This might not sound like much of a selling point for you. Too much cake? Not possible! Most of the time though I find smaller batches to be better. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve taken ‘cake leftovers’ into work.
This makes you quite popular with your colleagues, of course, but I’d rather eat all the cake myself. LOL. Only kidding, oh wonderful work colleagues!
This is the sort of baking tin I used:
- 1 cup self-raising flour (125 grams / 4.5 ounces)
- 1 pinch baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¾ stick butter (85 grams / 3 ounces)
- ¼ cup soft brown sugar (55 grams / 2 ounces)
- 75 grams / 2.75 ounces (just under ¼ cup) golden syrup (dark corn syrup in USA)
- 40 grams / 1.5 ounces stem ginger, chopped (either in syrup or crystallized is fine)
- ½ cup (75 grams / 2.6 ounces) dried fruit e.g. prunes, apricots, cranberries, raisins (chopped)
- 1 medium apple, peeled and diced
- 1 egg, whisked
- 60 grams / 2 ounces white chocolate
- Pre-heat oven to 200C / 390F and line a 8 x 8 inch square baking pan with baking paper.
- Sift the flour, baking powder and ginger together in a medium bowl.
- Melt the butter, syrup and sugar together in a saucepan. Add to the flour together with the stem ginger, dried fruit, apple and egg. Stir it all together with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared tin, then bake for 30 minutes until risen and golden. Cover with foil half way through cooking to prevent over-browning.
- Optional: Melt the white chocolate in a jug in the microwave (in 30-second spurts – I find 3 times does it), then drizzle all over the cake.
- When cool (and the chocolate – if you’ve used it - is set), slice into 8 bars.
Will keep well in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
Rhubarb works as a good substitute for apple. Let me know if you try this recipe with rhubarb!
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