This oh-so-moist cake is spiced with the Tonka bean; an oval and rather elegantly shaped black bean (see picture here, plus another recipe laced with the spice). Some say it is a nice substitute for vanilla, but don't be fooled. Many other spicy notes float within this genie of a bean.
I smell with my little nose, almonds which reminds me of the liquor, Amaretto, and a soupcon of allspice berries.
I used Ariane apples for this cake which are a crunchy, sweet yet slightly tart variety. They are the perfect size, colour and taste to pair with this spice. So go on, be adventurous; try something different. You can have your cake and eat it.
220g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 medium eggs
100g brown sugar
Plus extra sugar for sprinkling on top of cake
3 tbsp milk
10-15 dates pitted
1 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tsp Tonka bean shavings
3 apples Ariane variety
Preheat oven at 180°. Prepare the apples. Wash, core and slice them thinly and evenly. Squeeze lemon juice over slices to prevent them from discolouring. Chop dates and cranberries into bits in a food processor. Add the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and eggs to the bowl and blitz until batter comes together. Don't overdo it. Pour batter into a bowl and add Tonka shavings. Combine well. Give batter a good stir smoothing out all the butter. Then pour into a greased and lined baking tray. Shake to spread batter evenly. Place the apple slices on top of the batter in a row. You should be able to make three rows. Sprinkle lightly with some brown sugar and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.