Coming from the west country I have tried more than my fair share of ciders I can tell you but never have I tried a South African cider. SXOLLIE (pronounced Skolly) walked away from the International Cider Challenge recently with the title “Supreme Champion.” The Cider that won this prestigious award was SXOLLIE Cripps Pink Cider, made with pink lady apples.
More than 400 ciders were entered into the International Cider Challenge with leading British brands and others from as far afield as New Zealand, Australia and the United States so it was quite an achievement for SXOLLIE to come out tops.
SXOLLIE use freshly pressed apples – never concentrated or sugars, fermented with champagne yeasts in stainless steel tanks to preserve the fresh taste of the apples. After settling the juice, careful filtration and carbonation delivers a handcrafted cider free from flavours, colours or additives. It is suitable for gluten intolerant cider lovers as well as being vegan-friendly.
SXOLLIE is one of the pioneers of introducing single variety ciders into the UK market, and today their Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Cripps Pink have grown a cult-like following in UK bars and restaurants. You can pick up a bottle or two for yourself from Sainsbury’s.
I decided to work alongside SXOLLIE firstly because I was intrigued about the product and secondly because it is such a small company. SXOLLIE is made up of a team of three people who are passionate about what they are producing. That passion transferred to me when I was contacted by Laura Clacey, one of the founders.
My first reaction on being contacted by Laura was a flat “no”. My inner West Country girl was saying “don’t do it” but then on reading about the buzz behind the product I was intrigued. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and if it really was as good as it was presented. The answer is a big fat “yes”, SXOLLIE single variety ciders are as good as they say and the perfect summer drink.
In honour of turning this West Country girls head I created a delicious Spiced Apple Cider Cake using SXOLLIE cider.
- 330ml cider
- 150g dark brown sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 4 apples, grated
- 2 eggs
- 300g plain flour
- 2tsp baking soda
- 1tsp ground mixed spice
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 200g sultanas
- 100g chopped walnuts
- Icing sugar for decorating
- Preheat your oven to gas 4/180C/350F. Grease and line an 8 inch springform tin
- Boil the cider in a small pan until reduced by approximately two thirds. Set aside to cool
- In a large bowl beat together the butter and sugar until light in colour and fluffy
- Add the grated apple, eggs and cider and mix well
- Add in the flour, spices and baking soda and mix well to combine. Add in the sultanas and walnuts and gently mix again
- Transfer to your greased and lined cake tin and bake in your preheated oven for 55-65 minutes. Check after 55 minutes. If a skewer inserted comes out clean you know it's done. If not, put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes
- Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely
- Dust the cake lightly with icing sugar using a small sieve. Serve with pouring, whipped or clotted cream. For a lighter option try crème fraîche or Greek yoghurt.
Additional photos by SXOLLIE