Recipe: Kristina Jensen’s Crab Apple & Walnut Streusel Cake

It takes a little more work than the average cake, but this streusel-topped treat is well worth it.

Words and recipe: Kristina Jensen

Each morning Sally the pig waits hopefully at the gate for one of us to let her in, then making a beeline for the crab apples that have fallen overnight. Thankfully, she can only gobble those on the ground or lower branches of the tree, leaving plenty for the rest of us.

Kiwis are used to mainly eating crab apples in a jelly, but there’s no reason why they can’t be used to “tart up” other culinary delights. Frozen (and thawed) crab apple pulp can be added to muffins, cakes and winter crumbles.

A spoonful or two adds a delicious tangy flavour to a stew containing pork, or it can be spread over pork chops under the grill where it caramelizes into the meat.

Fruit pulp, when added to a cake batter, adds moistness and helps create a light crumb texture in the finished product. Combined with walnuts, this cake is the perfect autumn treat for harvesters.

And, BTW, despite being allowed to fatten herself on crab apples and walnuts (the traditional fattening fare for meat pigs in Europe), Sally won’t be eaten – she’s a pet. Smiling up at me in between mouthfuls, she acknowledges that there’s more than enough to go around.


(*Any type of crab apple can be used but see below for recommended varieties.)

Pick and wash roughly 2kgs of crab apples. Remove the stalks and discard any that are moth-infested. 2kgs makes about 3 to 4 cups of pulp.

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Note: Freeze the crab apples first for less work. This breaks down the cell membrane of the fruit and makes the initial cooking process faster.

Bring the crab apples to the boil in a big heavy-bottomed pot with ½ cup of water, stirring often. Then turn down the heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until the apples are mushy.

Mash thoroughly with a potato masher and let the mush cool down a bit. Squish the pulp through a sieve with a spoon. (This takes a while but is worth it.)

Crab Apple & Walnut Streusel Cake

Makes – one 22cm ring-tin cake


Streusel topping:
1 tablespoon melted butter
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cup coarsely chopped walnut pieces
pinch of salt

1.5 cups crab apple pulp
½ cup greek yoghurt or thick coconut cream
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup liquid honey
1 cup finely ground walnuts

2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt


Pre-heat oven to 180ºC.

Grease the ring tin with vegetable oil and line the bottom with a ring of baking paper.

Prepare the streusel topping first by melting the butter in a small pot or in the microwave. Once it has cooled down a bit, add the sugar, nuts and salt and stir rapidly till well mixed. Set aside while making the cake batter.

Put all ingredients in the “wet” list into a bowl and mix with a whisk or electric beater. Fold in the ground walnuts with a slotted or wooden spoon.

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Sift all the “dry” ingredients together and add to the wet, folding gently to mix. Pour the cake batter carefully into the ring tin and sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the surface of the cake batter. Press the topping down into the batter slightly with fingers.

Bake for 40 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if it is ready (it will come out clean). Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the tin for at least an hour.

Using a knife, carefully run around the outer edge and inside ring of the cake to loosen it. Place a plate on top of the cake and invert. The cake should slide out easily.

Remove the baking paper if it has stuck to the cake and place another plate on the bottom of the cake which is now facing upwards. Carefully reverse the cake, so it is the right way up.

Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours to firm up the cake.

*Recommended varieties for making lots of crab apple pulp: jelly king, jack humm, wright’s scarlet. These varieties are larger and tend to have less coddling moth.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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