Teisen Cariad is a traditional Welsh recipe for a ‘Love Cake’ a light apple and sponge cake – apples being the traditional symbol of love and desire in Celtic lands. Connla in Celtic mythology receives an apple which feeds him for a year, but each bite also gives him an irresistible desire to go off to the immortal lands with the beautiful and magical woman of the Faerie, who gave him the apple. In this, as well as many other cultures, and in many forms of art, the apple is often used as a symbol of love and sexuality.
In Wales ‘Teisen Cariad’ was baked for a special person, at valentines, or for weddings. It is a simple apple cake held in a thin shell of sweet, buttery, pastry. Served with a little whipped cream this cake is quite delightful.
Teisen Cariad (Love Cake) Recipe
Use a cake tin with a removable base so that you can easily pop the cake out and place it on a plate to cut and serve.
- 500g apples
- 50g sugar
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 85g caster sugar
- 85g butter (softened)
- 2 eggs
- 115g flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 lemon (finely grated rind)
- 225g flour
- 115g butter
- 115g caster sugar
- a little milk
- lemon zest (finely grated rind from 1/4 lemon)
- a little lemon juice (1/4 tsp)
- a little water (1/4 tsp)
- 70g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp strawberry jam
- a heart shaped cutter
- 75 ml double (thick) cream (whipped lightly to serve)
Peel, core and slice the apples, put them into a saucepan with the 50g sugar and a little water. Stew the apples until they become soft, then add the ground cinnamon and mix it in. Use the back of a spoon and push the stewed apples through a fine mesh sieve to make a puree.
Make the pastry by rubbing the softened butter into the flour, add the sugar, grated lemon zest, and mix with a little milk until a stiff paste is made which can be rolled out. Cover the pastry and chill in the fridge for twenty minutes, then roll out the pastry quite thinly.
Line a buttered, shallow 20cm cake tin with the rolled out pastry (bottom and sides of the tin). Spread the cooled apple puree all over the bottom of the tin on the pastry base.
In a mixing bowl cream the butter and caster sugar and grated lemon rind from the rest of the lemon, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and lastly fold in the flour and baking powder. Spread this batter mixture carefully over the apples.
Bake at 190C for 35 minutes, until the cake is springy but not dry – test it by inserting a skewer and see if it comes out clean. Take the cake out of the oven, (the sponge will continue to cook for a few minutes) and allow to cool. In a bowl blend the icing sugar with a little lemon juice and water to make an icing. Take the cake out of the tin and spread the thin icing over the top of the cake while it is still gently warm. Let this icing cool and set.
Take a heart shaped object, like a cookie cutter, place this on the cake and dab in a little strawberry jam to make the heart shape.
Serve slices of the cake with a spoonful of whipped cream.