Sometimes you just get a hankering for a flavour and I’ve had apple cake on my mind all week – I think it’s something to do with Autumn; for me the season of mellow mists and fruitfulness epitomises apples. Here it is in the very brief moment of late afternoon sun that we got today:
This is a Scandinavian apple cake recipe but I’ve tweaked it and replaced some of the apple with sultanas. Apple and sultana is one of my all-time favourite combinations; it also helps that there’s a bit of cinnamon in there too. The cake reminds me of a much lighter and apple-y bread pudding.
I’ve used Granny Smith apples as I like their tartness in a cake – they contrast nicely with the sugar and stop the result being too sweet. They also hold their shape well and brown slower than other kinds of apple on peeling. While you can stop apples browning with some lemon juice, regular readers will know my aversion to lemon so I leave my apples au natural and just cut them at the last minute.
From the minute I devised this cake, I was unwavering that I would serve it with clotted cream. It works so well. The cake is flexible (no, it doesn’t do pilates) and can be served warm for dessert with ice cream or custard or at room temperature with a cup of tea and some clotted cream.
Unpretentious, rustic and utterly delicious – this cake screams Autumn and I could happily eat it every day (including Winter, Spring and Summer)!
I was chatting to my friend Jasmin this week and the conversation turned to how we would go about building our ‘perfect world’. As with most of our discussions, it took about 20 seconds for the conversation to turn to food (she is one of the few people I know who is as obsessed with eating cake as I am). Jasmin decided that in her perfect world cake would have the nutritional benefit and calorific content of vegetables and celery would be the highest fat content food. In Jasmin’s world you would get your “five a day” by having to eat five different pieces of cake. I think we need to get some sort of petition going to make Jasmin the ruler of the universe….
This will be one of my “five a day”:
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g caster sugar
280g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 apples, peeled and cored – I used Granny Smiths
150g sultanas (if you wish to leave these out you can, but add an extra apple to the batter i.e. 6 in total)
3 tablespoons golden caster sugar, for sprinkling
To serve: ice cream, custard, whipped cream, clotted cream – take your pick!
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.
- Line a 20cm springform round tin with baking paper.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Add the eggs a little at a time and add some of the flour if the mixture starts to curdle.
- Gently stir in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Cut 2 of the apples into small cubes – about the size of a raisin.
- Stir into the batter along with the sultanas. If you’re not using sultanas stir 3 chopped apples into the batter.
- Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Take the remaining three apples and slice.
- Arrange the slices on top of the cake and then sprinkle with the golden caster sugar.
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Mine took 1 hour and 10 minutes but I was baking two at the same time and this always extends the baking time required.
- Leave to cool in the tin until cool enough to handle safely.
- Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- The cake will keep well in an airtight tin for several days.
- Serve either warm with ice cream or custard, or at room temperature with cream.
- Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.