Apple and Ginger Cake (with Coconut Sugar Caramel)
This apple and ginger cake first appeared on the Culinary Jumble. The recipe has been adapted to include spelt flour, and the images and post are completely new.
There’s something about the combo of apples and caramel that are so synonymous with autumn, and the cooling weather. Add a strong hit of ginger to the mix though, and we’re suddenly in real winter territory.
This apple and ginger cake got me in the feels for Christmas. I am not sure if that’s because I baked it on a very dark Saturday afternoon, and took the pictures when it was pitch black outside. Ginger always reminds me of Christmas, and I use it a lot in my baking around the festivities. Talking of which, yesterday I bought the year’s first tin of pepparkakor, and I thoroughly enjoyed them with my coffee this morning.
Made with Demerara and coconut sugar, this cake has the most amazing toffee undertones, which go so well with the ginger. The cake bakes for a fairly long time, and this causes the outsides to really darken (almost to the point of burning) which caramelizes the sugars to perfection. This creates a crusty outer edge with a gorgeous soft inside. A bite into this felt like heaven was calling. So glad I picked up. Several times!
What is coconut sugar?
Coconut sugar is the sweetener of choice in South East Asia, but its popularity is picking up speed other places. It is slightly paler than brown sugar, but it darkens as it cooks. Coconut sugar doesn’t come from the fruit of the palm tree (coconuts), but the sap from the actual tree itself. They remove the sap in a process similar to collecting maple syrup, add some water, and boil it up to make a syrup. They then allow the syrup to cool and crystallise. The last stage is to break it up into granules similar to other sugars.
Coconut sugar is often touted as a healthier alternative to regular sugar. Although coconut sugar is the least processed of all sugars (retaining its lovely amber hue), and is low on the glycemic index, it is still sugar. In fact, there is very little difference nutritionally, and the calorific content of both coconut and white sugar are similar.
In baking, brown sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar in most cases. Coconut sugar has a lower burning temperature than regular brown sugar, making it perfect for this apple and ginger cake, as it enhanced the caramel/toffee undertones. However, it is not recommended to use in place of brown sugar when making candy.
Can I substitute the Demerara and coconut sugar?
Yes! You can use any kind of brown sugar you like. Although not all sugar weighs the same (and this is more apparent when cups are used to measure it), the slight difference in amounts will not affect the cake at all. You could even use white sugar.
However, bear in mind that brown sugar already has caramel undertones, and coconut sugar is very molasses-like, so using white sugar will change the overall taste of the cake.
It is the chunkiest cake I’ve made in a long time. It’s a pretty substantial and can easily be cut into 10 slabs. If you’re not quite as greedy as me (or you have more mouths to feed), you will get more slices.
If you like this recipe for apple and ginger cake, you might enjoy my other apple recipes:
Apple and Ginger Cake (with Coconut Sugar Caramel)
- 1 large apple
- 100g (¼ cup + 3 tbsp) butter (softened)
- 30g (⅐ cup) Demerera sugar (see note 1)
- 70g (½ cup) coconut sugar (see note 1)
- 170g (6 oz) light syrup (see note 2)
- 3 medium eggs (weighing 150g / 5¼ oz in the shells)
- 175g (1½ cups) spelt flour (see note 3)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 3 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 50g (¼ cup) coconut sugar (see note 1)
- 30g (⅛ cup) butter
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Cut your apple in half. One half, cut into slices. The other half, cut into chunks. Set to one side for a moment.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF) and line or grease a fairly small loaf tin (mine is 9 x 5 inches).
- Using a stand mixer or wooden spoon, beat the butter together with the sugars and syrup. Work until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, just until they are well incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Gradually add to the wet ingredients, mixing just until everything is combined.
- Add the apple chunks and continue to mix, just until the apples are incorporated.
- Pour into the prepared pan and level off the top. Take the sliced apples and gently place in a line down the middle.
- Bake for around 60 minutes, in the lower part of the oven. The cake is ready when an inserted skewer comes out clean (or with a few crumbs). The cake is a very dark brown when ready, but you don't want it to burn. See how the cake is at around 35-40 minutes and cover with foil if you feel it is browning too much.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a while before turning out of the tin. Leave on a wire rack to cool further.
- Heat the three ingredients together in a small pan.
- Wait until it reaches a rolling boil, then turn down the heat a little and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes. You just want to melt the sugar - if you cook it too long, it will go very hard, very quickly (think stringy hard candy).
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a while (the longer you leave it, the thicker it will become).
- Drizzle or pour over the cake (while the cake is still a little warm), pushing some down over the sides. Cut into slices and serve with a nice cup of coffee or tea! Enjoy!
- You can use any brown sugar in place of the Demerara. The same applies for the coconut sugar. Just use whatever brown sugar you want as long as it is 1oog / 3½ oz in total.
- If you'd like a real gingerbread taste, use half treacle or molasses.
- You can use spelt or regular flour for this recipe (just use the same amount).