Updating mom’s Bible-cake:
I grew up in a small town in the middle of nowhere, the kind of town where the church to resident ratio is about 5 to 1. In such a town church somehow gets ameliorated to a social gathering, rather than actual religious experience, well I can only speak of what I saw. Every Monday morning my mom used to host her Bible study group in our house. Now this was a gathering of about 10 other housewives who came together mostly to eat cake, drink tea, gossip and read a bit of scripture in between. Competition was quite fierce of course on the baking side. I remember my mom’s biggest rival was a lady with blonde permed hair that always wore a big purple windbreaker (oh the early 90s, you fashion icon you). She apparently made a killer quiche (always trusty chicken and onion, this is a Bible study remember). My mom, however countered with a cinnamon cake that was to die for. I can still remember the pieces she snuck to me as I tried to sneak into the group. Having a craving for cinnamon after a Cinnabon opened in a nearby mall, I decided it was time to go back to my good ole, old country roots, with a bit of zing of course…
What I love about this recipe is that it is incredibly flexible. I like it for tea, but it can just as easily be eaten as a dessert after a giant meal. As the cakey-pudding is soft, juicy and moist, the secondary elements can be easily changed, for example the peppered apples can be swopped for banana or berries or even be cut out completely. The butterscotch is the same, if you’re feeling lazy, I give you my blessing to use store-bought custard.
60ml Butter (I always use salted), plus some for apples
125ml Sugar, plus some more for the apples
250 Cake flour
15ml baking powder
A grain or two of Salt
A dash of Vanilla
Lots of cinnamon (depending how strong you want the flavour)
A swig of cayenne pepper
A turn of black pepper
A handful of dates
200ml Sugar (preferably brown)
A swish of fresh cream
Chop the dates and apples in thin strips (about 3mm thick), add to a pan with a stick of butter and sugar (don’t be shy) and stir to caramelise till soft. With the sugar and a swish of pepper, cinnamon and cayenne (depending how strong you want it, but be careful not to add too much). The hot spices will add a delicious smoky flavour to the pudding. Mix the rest of the pudding ingredients together. You can bake the dish in a baking dish to make one big pudding, I prefer using singular bowls for each person. To assemble, the caramelised apples and dates go in the bottom. Be sure to leave about a quarter of the mix for the topping. If you are using individual bowls, you need to put the bowls in a dish filled with water so that the bowls bake evenly. Bake for about 20 minutes at 180 degrees until light brown. Three minutes before you take it out of the oven, add the remaining apples and dates on top. This will give the pudding some texture. Add together the syrup ingredients in a medium heated pot, use your instinct with the cream, I prefer a 2 second pour. Stir continuously until the mixture is dark and slightly thickened. Drip over puddings as soon as they come out of the oven. Caution, don’t leave the syrup out cold too long as it will harden. Stab a few holes in the pudding and pour the cream or mascarpone over just before serving to break the sweetness of the butterscotch.
Serve hot either as they come out of the oven, or reheated.
Happy eating! 😉
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes