During the Autumn holidays we went for a drive down to Canberra. We had a little shopping to do, and we also wanted to check out the National Arboretum, which we have driven past several times, but have not actually visited. After a morning spent in a large shopping center, the Arboretum was just what we needed. Space and quiet for the kids to run around after being cooped up shopping.
While the trees are still being established, it was still spectacular to see all the different types arranged over the hills, and imagine what it will look like in a few years. The Arboretum also had an amazing playground which the kids ran wild in for an hour, as well as fantastic views across Canberra, several great sculptures, a bonsai area that fascinated the kids, and at the end of our visit, a cafe that makes all it’s food on site.
After 2 hours or so of exploring, the kids were ravenous so they had milkshakes and home made biscuits from the cafe, and I had a slice of Apple, Cranberry, and Dark Chocolate loaf. Oh my! Delicious, moist, and spicy with bursts of sweet apple and tart cranberries balanced out with the rich dark chocolate chunks. Country Boy and I studied it closely, trying to work out what was in it so that we could have a try at making one ourselves.
Since then I have been researching recipes online, trying to find one that I thought would be like the delicious Arboretum loaf. I couldn’t find one which was close enough, so I have made up my own. It’s also delicious! So if you’re near Canberra, definitely check out the Arboretum and it’s cafe (their Canberra cake is legendary), but if you’re not near by, make this loaf and enjoy it at leisure in your own home. It tastes like Autumn to me!
- ½ c brown sugar
- ¼c sugar
- 1t vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- ½ c apple puree
- 100g melted butter
- ⅓c sour cream
- 1 apple - peeled and grated
- 2 c plain flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 2t cinnamon
- 1t nutmeg
- 1 apple - peeled and finely diced
- ⅓ c dried cranberries - soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and drained
- ⅓ c dark chocolate chunks - roughly chopped
- In a bowl stir together the sugars, vanilla, egg, apple puree, melted butter, sour cream, and grated apple.
- Stir through the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
- Stir through the diced apple, cranberries, and chocolate.
- Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin.
- Bake for 1 hour or until a knife comes out clean when poked into the center.
- Allow to cool before serving.
If you’re planning a visit to the Arboretum there is a great area for flying kites, so bring some if you have them. You do need to pay for parking but it is only a couple of dollars an hour. The views, play area, and cafe make a great family friendly outing.
Have you been to the National Arboretum? Ever tried something in a cafe, and then just had to have a go at making it at home?