An apple a day keeps eye disease away! Our best autumnal apple cake recipe to boost your eye health

09 November 2021

Author: Kate Green

Apples boost eye health

How much can apples really benefit your eye health?

 

We love this autumnal time of year for lots of reasons, one of them being getting to enjoy the wonderful fruits and vegetables that come into season. October is usually the month when British produce starts hitting supermarket shelves, so you’ve probably been able to get your hands on plenty of fresh fruit and veg by now. If you’ve got a few apples lying around, this apple cake recipe could be the perfect thing to whip up this week. Not only is it delicious and makes excellent use of seasonal produce, but you’ll actually be benefiting your eye health when you eat it!

 

Apples contain lutein which is proven to protect your eyes from ultraviolet damage. This reduces your risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), as these conditions are both exacerbated by too much sun exposure over the years. Apples also contain flavonoid compounds and antioxidant phytonutrients which are thought to ward off glaucoma, as well as boosting your night vision.

 

Apples pair particularly well with pecan nuts (especially when it comes to putting them both in a cake!) so you’ll be pleased to hear that nuts are also beneficial for your eye health. They contain omega-3 fatty acids to reduce your risk of AMD and glaucoma. Nuts also have high levels of vitamin E which protects against age-related damage to your vision. Legumes (which are technically what pecans are) tend to be high in zinc which is found in your retina and in the surrounding tissues. Increased levels of zinc are proven to reduce night blindness and to slow the progression of AMD. In fact, consuming 40-80 milligrams per day of zinc could slow AMD progression by up to 25%.

 

Apple and pecan cake recipe ft. zinc and lutein

 

Now that we know how two of our favourite autumnal dessert ingredients can benefit our eye health, let’s move onto finding out how to bake them into something delicious.

 

For this simple cake recipe, you’ll need...

 

Cake ingredients:

  • 125g margarine
  • 125g soft brown sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 level teaspoon ground sweet cinnamon
  • 160g apple, diced
  • 60g pecans, chopped small
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda

 

Decorative ingredients:

  • 290g icing sugar
  • 145g butter
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 40g chopped pecans

 

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and then grease or line a 20cm cake tin.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the margarine and soft brown sugar together until it’s light in colour and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs and maple syrup to the mixture and beat them in.
  4. Put your plain flour, ground sweet cinnamon, baking powder and bicarbonate soda in the bowl. Fold them in until they are thoroughly combined.
  5. Add your diced apple and chopped pecans and mix them in gently to ensure even dispersion.
  6. Pour your mixture into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes on the middle shelf.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack before icing.
  8. To make the buttercream icing, put your icing sugar, butter and maple syrup into a bowl and mix together.
  9. Slice the cake in half and spread some icing in the middle, before replacing the top layer and icing the top of the cake.
  10. Add the chopped pecan nuts as decoration to the top of the cake.

 

Recipe adapted from and inspired by Stork and BBC Good Food, as well as including some Optimax team member tips.


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