A sweet victory

[Recipe 1] POACHED APPLE and FEIJOA with HONEYED NUTS transforms into
[Recipe 2] GLUTEN-FREE UPSIDE-DOWN APPLE and FEIJOA GINGER CAKE
……………..
I was given a bag of feijoas by my mum recently, and at first I had absolutely no idea what to do with them. I’ve seen the lady at our local fruit shop scoffing them raw, skin and all; but after a bit of experimenting, I’ve decided I prefer them stewed. They’re particularly yum poached together with green apples. I’d say feijoas are a cross between pineapple, guava and kiwi; so they lend a lovely exotic flavour to good old stewed apples, and their slightly odd pulpy texture magically disappears when cooked.
Oh, if you can’t find feijoas, or they’re out of season, you can omit them from these recipes and just use apples; or a mixture of apple and pear.
My first recipe is for yum Poached apple and feijoa with honeyed nuts. I’ve been making these nuts for years. We had a weekend away with friends a while ago and the husband and I were on brekkie duty. We plopped some good-quality yoghurt (I’m addicted to Evia) and poached fruit in big serving bowls in the middle of the table, and warmed some nuts on the stove-top with a dash of butter and honey. Pretty damn nice, and so much easier than cooking eggs and bacon for an army.
By reserving two cups of the poached apple and feijoa, you can also whip up a fab Gluten-free upside-down apple and feijoa ginger cake. My niece and brother-in-law are gluten-intolerant; and this cake went down a treat with them. It’s dense, moist, and not too sweet. I’ve been trotting it out around town recently; and have tested it on my parents, our workmate and a girlfriend; and also swapped a chunk with my neighbours for some home-made lemon cordial. Thanks for being my guinea pigs folks! The cooking time is a bit annoying, but I found it really needs a long bake on a low temperature to retain its moisture. Enjoy.

Poached feijoia with honeyed nutsPoached apple and feijoia

[Recipe 1] Poached apple and feijoa with honeyed nuts

Ingredients for the poached fruit (makes 8 cups):
3 tablespoons brown sugar
¾ cup water
10 large green apples (2 kilos/4 lb), peeled, sliced thickly into 1cm (½“) pieces
25 feijoas (1 kilo/2 lb), peeled, quartered
2 cinnamon sticks
For the honeyed nuts (makes 2 cups):
2 tablespoons honey
2–3 teaspoons butter
A good pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup pinenuts
½ cup walnuts (or raw cashews), roughly chopped
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds (black or white)

Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Add apple slices and cinnamon sticks and simmer, covered, over a low heat until almost tender, and still holding their shape, about 8–10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add feijoas and simmer a further 5 minutes uncovered. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks.
Using a slotted spoon or tongs, reserve 2 cups poached apple and feijoa for the Gluten-free upside-down apple and feijoa ginger cake.
Meanwhile, make the honeyed nuts. Warm the honey and butter in a small saucepan. Add salt, cinnamon, nuts and seeds and stir over a low heat until well coated and sticky, about 2–3 minutes. Serve sprinkled over poached apple and feijoa, with yogurt if desired.

  • Poached apple and feijoa will keep in the fridge, covered, for up to one week.
  • Store honeyed nuts in the fridge, for up to 3 days.

  • Poached apple and feijoa, pureed smooth, is great for kid’s lunchboxes. Keep it in little containers in the freezer and defrost overnight in the fridge.

Upside-down fejoia apple ginger cake

[Recipe 2] Gluten-free upside-down apple and feijoa ginger cake

Ingredients (serves 8-10):
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons (30g/1 oz) butter, melted
2 cups reserved poached apple and feijoa
180g (6 oz/1½ sticks) softened butter, extra
1¼ cups (200g) firmly-packed brown sugar, extra
4 large eggs
1 cup (360g) golden syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g (7 oz) Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 cups (300g) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons ground ginger

Preheat oven to 160°C (325ºF). Note: you’ll be covering the cake with foil part-way through cooking (see recipe).
Line a 25cm (10-inch) baking tin with baking paper.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoons brown sugar over base. Pour two tablespoons melted butter over brown sugar.
Arrange poached apple and feijoa in a single layer over butter and sugar.
Cream extra softened butter and extra brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing well before adding the next. Add golden syrup and vanilla and beat well.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ginger. Fold this into the cake batter, a little at a time, alternating with the yoghurt.
Spoon cake batter over the apple and fejoa and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Cover cake loosely with foil, return to oven, and bake for a further 30–40* minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake.
*Check it after 30 minutes, and if it’s still wobbly in the centre, pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and test again.
Leave cake to cool in tin for 15 minutes then carefully invert onto a large plate.
Serve warm or at room temperature with cream, yoghurt or ice cream.

  • I’ve used both Core Organic Foods gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour, and Orgran. Both contain starch (maize, tapioca), soya and rice flour.
  • My test kitchen (ie. my lovely friend Janet) made this cake with non-gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour, and it worked! So you can make it as a standard cake too.
  • The cake keeps well in a covered container for a few days. The flavour actually improves on standing, and it stays nice and moist.

16 thoughts on “A sweet victory

    • Bummer. The Season has ended now! It’s a short season in Australia, April/May. You can still get them through June/July in some places if you’re lucky. You could make the cake with apple only – I’ve done that and it’s still really good.

  1. Sas, you should enter this fabulous cake in a country woman’s bake-off competition for the most innovative cake.

  2. I can’t believe that this cake has made me break my sugar fast. I was lucky enough to be another guinea pig / taste tester ( such a hard job mmmmm) This cake is soooo good that I HAD to make it today. MMM warm, moist , ginger cake and a cup of tea on the coldest day of the year so far. I made it without the apple and feijoia topping and normal flour and it’s still a winner. This cake will definitely be in my repertoire from now on. Love your work Mama Sas.

  3. I am the lucky neighbour who lives next door to Sas, always excited by what turns up. We all enjoyed our slices of upside down feijoia cake last night, Kim’s comments were right on the money, rich and moist, if you can get your hands on some feijoia’s I would highly recomend this recipe. Thanks again, Tracey

  4. wow! i’ve never had or even heard of feijoias!!! looks delicious! wish you lived next door.. i have a tree full of loquats and another full of cumquats, so many that i don’t know what to do other than jam 😮
    ps your upside down cake is a dream, it looks so rich and moist! yum!!!

    • Thanks Kim. I don’t even know what a loquat looks like! Googling it now…
      We had cumquat trees for years too – there is only so much cumquat jam a human can eat isn’t there! The world is full of funny fruit. The most disgusting one I’ve tried is a bitter melon. Still makes me gag at the thought of it.

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