If you follow me over on Instagram, you may know that back in early September I spent some time visiting Israel. I somehow was granted the great privilege to travel there with Vibe Israel, a non profit organization dedicated to providing the world a look into what the country truly is.
Every second I spent in that country was truly magnificent and I really can’t even think about the trip without wanting to burst into tears because I had such an incredible experience. I was immersed in the culture for 8 days of heaven where we toured historical sights, shopped the colorful markets, visited different cities, learned to cook all sorts of incredible meals, toured goat farms and ate amazing cheese, gazed out over the Galilean hillsides at the award winning Shirat Roim and Lotem winery, and ate more food than I ever thought possible.
We ate the best hummus, falafel, and kabob of my life, walked the Via Dolorosa, made ice cream with market fresh spices and produce at Buza, one of the most popular ice cream shops in the country, watched and prepared the most incredible baba ganoush I think I’ll ever have (the rest of the group loved the moussaka) with chef Nadav Malin, watched bread being made by slapping risen dough rounds on a vertical oven WALL. We prepared an unforgettable vegan lunch with Hagit Lidror and Insaf Nator, and I personally got to spend a morning with an outrageously talented pastry chef, watching her prepare STUNNING desserts for the restaurant Messa. I don’t know how I got so lucky.
I’ll share more details of the trip in future posts, but today’s takeaway?
EAT MORE TAHINI.
Tahini is a STAPLE in Israel. It’s like ketchup to Americans. They put it on everything. I quickly realized within a day of being there that I was not including tahini in my diet anywhere near the level that I should be. It can and should be incorporated into so many things. I mean, my favorite treat in the world is tahini based (I’m talking about halva folks, and if you don’t know what that is I suggest you find yourself some STAT). By the way, I bought another suitcase before leaving Israel and stuffed that thing full of halva and tahini. The tahini bottles all busted in transit, but the halva made it home just fine. Quite the mess when I unpacked, though.
Today I’m sharing a recipe with you that is based on that tahini love – this spiced apple cake with a tahini maple.
The cake itself is gluten free, super soft, and ginger scented, with fresh apples thinly sliced and baked all through the batter. The tahini maple that is drizzled on top really makes it pop, though. And that’s literally all the sauce is, tahini and maple. Its nutty and sweet, smooth and creamy, and guaranteed to be different from anything you’ve ever tried before. I’ve had a lot of apple cakes in my day, but this middle eastern-inspired version is really pulling at my heart strings (and taste buds)!
You’ll want to eat this apple cake within a day or two of making it (not that that will be difficult) as the fresh fruit baked into it will cause it to become soggy after awhile.
Happy Fall baking and here’s to trying new flavors and visiting new places!
- FOR THE CAKE:
- ⅓ cup Oat Flour (make sure package states that it's gluten free, if needed)
- ½ cup Coconut Yogurt (if dairy is not a concern, regular yogurt can be used)
- ½ cup Millet Flour
- ⅓ cup Sweet Rice Flour
- 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ tablespoon Xanthan Gum
- 1½ teaspoons Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
- ½ cup Coconut Palm Sugar
- ¼ cup Maple Syrup
- 2 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- ½ cup Coconut Oil, melted
- ½ cup Applesauce (unsweetened)
- 3 Small Apples
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- ⅓ cup Maple Syrup
- 2 tablespoons Tahini
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour a 9" round baking pan.
- Place the oat flour and yogurt in a bowl and whisk together. Let sit for 15 minutes (I find that hydrating oat flour before using in recipes helps to cut down on the somewhat gritty texture found in gluten free baking).
- Add the millet flour, rice flour, baking powder, salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon, and ground ginger to the hydrated oat flour along with the eggs, vanilla, coconut oil, and applesauce. Whisk together until a smooth batter forms.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Peel and core the apples(skin can be left on, if desired), then cut in half. Thinly slice each half, Then press each half into the batter (I placed one half in the center of the cake, then fit the other five halves in a circle around that center apple.
- Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove and place on a platter. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Slice, and drizzle servings with the maple tahini sauce.
- FOR THE SAUCE:
- Place the maple syrup and tahini in a bowl and whisk together until smooth. Drizzle over the finished apple cake. Can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.