Afternooon tea, anyone?

I’m afraid I have to admit to something of a regression in recent times. In my last year of art school I was putting in long hours, not eating properly, not getting enough sleep, fresh air or exercise yadda yadda yadda. Every afternoon at around 3:30pm I (and a fair few of my classmates) would faaaaade and need a large sugar hit to keep ourselves going into the evening. Every afternoon the art school supplies shop did a roaring trade in lemonade icy poles and  lollies-including some disturbing strawberry-flavoured, peach-coloured gummy ears. Yes, ears. How very Van Gogh of them.

But I digress. Over the last few months of new parent sleep deprivation, I have noticed the same hankering for a sugar hit popping up regularly in the afternoon. And I have succumbed, many a time of late. I am trying to get back to an adequate exercise regime to compensate for occasional-and not-so-occasional-treats, but that is another story. Besides, I have way too many nice things happening right now to allow myself to be consumed with guilt about afternoon tea 🙂

My mum doesn’t seem to have ever been into baking, although she and my grandma are the best scone makers I know. Mum has a couple of recipes that she knows work well, and one of those is her sour cream and apple cake-a beautiful, moist, flat cake, cooked in a slice pan. For some reason I thought of this cake the other day and realised I didn’t have a copy of the recipe. Mum moved up north a little while ago and many of her belongings are still in storage, including her recipes. So she gave me another recipe to try, which she said was a close approximation of her apple cake-this one was apparently a Bill Granger recipe(?) for a yoghurt and peach cake. Mum usually substituted yoghurt for sour cream in her apple cakes and she said it would work to use apples instead of peaches in this recipe…

I decided to substitute light olive oil for the butter in this cake (less saturated fat as a token nod to health…I used this butter to oil conversion chart for amounts), and also used tinned pears instead of apples (or peaches). And instead of the icing sugar and flaked almonds for topping, I used brown sugar, walnuts and some allspice, as that is what Mum’s original version used to have and the spiciness and the nuts was what I like best.

An average pic-but you get the idea (& it hides the slightly dark edge!)

An average pic-but you get the idea (& it hides the slightly dark edge!)

Yoghurt and Pear Cake

220g butter

250 g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

2 1/2 cups SR flour, sifted

50 ml milk

1 cup plain yoghurt

1 small tin pears, drained and chopped into small-ish chunks

50g flaked almonds

icing sugar to dust


Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, and then vanilla and yoghurt. Gradually add the sifted flour and then the milk, mix until well incorporated.

Lastly, stir in the pears gently (you don’t want them to break up, the pieces are nice), pour into a floured and lined slice tin, scatter almonds over the top and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. When cool, sift icing sugar over the top.

**I found the cooking time a little long for our volcanically hot oven, and probably should have put a bit of foil over the top for the last half hour/twenty mins. This would be especially good if you were worried about the almonds burning.

As I said, I also substituted about 1/2 cup brown sugar, a 1/2 tsp pf mixed spice and about 1/2 cup of walnuts for the topping-I spread this over the top about 30 minutes before the end of cooking.

It wasn’t as nice as Mum’s original apple cake recipe-I think maybe the olive oil substitution was not quite right, or maybe it needed a few more pears. But the cake was eaten and enjoyed, and that’s the main thing!


~ by Little Red Hen on March 20, 2009.

3 Responses to “Afternooon tea, anyone?”

  1. Olive oil has quite a strong taste, as well as quite a lot of body. You could try rice bran oil, or
    perhaps a mixture of rice bran and some other, lighter oil. Don’t know if it would work, but I have a muffin recipe that uses it. Might take a bit of work to get the proportions right. I have no idea if rice bran oil is good for you or not – it could be liquid cholesterol, as far as I know. 🙂

    • Rightio-will try it! I used extra virgin so it wasn’t olive-ey, just strangely…not dry, but not as moist as the cake I was used to with Mum’s recipe.

  2. Looks yummo!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: