Sunday, 30 October 2011

Coble cake

Mr CC and I have just returned from a splendid jaunt to Whitby
; a beautiful town on the rugged North York coast. It is also the inspiration and setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

My cake this week is therefore Yorkshire-themed. Cobles are open fishing boats, with flat bottoms, commonly sighted on the North York coast. This cake is named after them but doesn’t seem well documented – there are some mentions but I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere on the internet. The cake is a spiced sponge, filled with apple puree and served with cream. This was all the detail I needed to produce my own version!

I was tempted to whip the cream and fill the sponge with it, along with the apple puree but I think this wouldn’t have produced such an elegant finish. I also considered stirring the apple puree through the cream but again, I wanted to keep the flavours distinct.

The one thing that the internet seems in agreement about re: Coble cake is that it needs to be served with cream. I was happy to oblige:

There were some lovely tea rooms in Whitby; one thing we noticed very quickly was that the region hasn’t got much time for fancy patisserie, favouring good hearty cakes in – and remember this is me saying this – hearty portions! We enjoyed, amongst other things, a toasted teacake so huge it took both hands to lift it to my mouth! I took the biggest bite I could out of one half (f
or photographic purposes only, obviously) – it barely made an indent:

I think our serving of chocolate cake and flapjacks highlights the generosity of Yorkshire portions. There aren’t many places where TWO flapjacks are considered the standard serving! Also notice how the chocolate cake is only just contained within the boundaries of the plate:

Another highlight was this toffee apple betty cake – the flavours were a delight and I loved how the apple was layered in the middle section:

This scone was lovely – unusually for me I chose to have it with butter and jam rather than cream and jam:

Mr CC was pleased with his carrot cake...and who wouldn’t be, having a triple-decker slice like this put in front of them?


For the cake:
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
220g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
80ml milk
300g self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ teaspoon mixed spice

For the apple puree (puree is never an exact science so make whatever quantity you wish – it freezes brilliantly); however for this cake I used:
1-2 Bramley apples
10 tablespoons caster sugar – or to taste

To serve: thick or whipped cream


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/Gas mark 4.

Line two 20cm round loose bottomed sandwich tins with baking paper.

Start by making the sponge: Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Don’t skimp on this stage as this is when you get lots of lovely air into your sponge.

Beat in the eggs gradually, adding some of the flour if it looks like it might curdle.

Beat in the milk.

Fold in the flour and all the spices until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

Spoon into the prepared tins and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the sponge comes out clean. Another good sign is if the sponge is just pulling away from the edge of the tin.

Leave to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the apple puree. Take a saucepan of appropriate size – roughly so that the apples will half fill the pan.

Cover the bottom of the pan with water – ideally about 2cm deep.

Peel, core and thinly slice the cooking apples.

Slowly simmer until the apples break down and you have a puree; if the pan looks dry add some more water. You can speed this up placing the pan lid 3/4s over the pan.

Personally, I like my puree with some apple chunks still in it; if you don’t cook until smooth.

Add the sugar right at the end – this is totally to taste so add gradually until you have the right sweetness for you.

When you are ready to assemble the cake place one sponge layer, flat side up, on the serving plate.

Spread the apple puree over the sponge and then sandwich with the second sponge, flat side down.

If you wish, dust the top sponge with icing sugar.

Serve in generous slices with whipped cream.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



C said...

Glad to hear you had a good time in Whitby - those cakes all look amazing, and I can see what you mean by the generous portion sizes - very satisfying!

This cake sounds right up my street - apples and spices are perfect together and perfectly in season too. Wish I had a big slab beside me right now!

Victoria said...

Whitby is one of my all time fave places to visit. I have a jet pendant that i wear pretty much every day, keeps away evil spirits and vampires :) your cake looks fab! mmmmmmmm

LandGirl1980 said...

Ha!! I read that as Goble Cake and thought "I don't need asking twice" *must get eyes checked*

LPATRI11 said...

Those cakes all look delicious - especially the toffee apple betty and flapjacks x

Choclette said...

Sounds like you had a good trip and got to eat lots of cake! Your cake looks delicious. I don't know how you always manage to get such deep cakes, but it does make them look particularly appealing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful trip - am drooling over those photos! My boyfriend is from Yorkshire so think I'm going to have to bake this coble cake as a special treat - I love how you discover all these interesting and unusual recipes. Great post!

Soo said...

I've never heard of Coble Cake -- but anything that has apple and cream is a winner with me!!

Maggie said...

Which tea room did you go to CC? My daughter went to Falling Foss tea room recently and really enjoyed it.
The Coble cake looks huge and a good slice of this would set me up for colder days ahead.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Maggie

We went to Marie-Antoinettes and W Hamond in town, and the giant teacake was at Wit's End in Sandsend

Happy baking!

At Anna's kitchen table said...

Wow. Great pics. You're making me so hungry!

Lisa Marie said...

I'm from the US and I need a little extra help with the wonders of UK baking. Would one not serve this cake with custard? Would that be wrong? And is there a rule about custard and cream?

This is, of course, purely academic. I cannot find a recipe for custard. And oh, I know better than to sub creme anglaise! I read the commandments!!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Lisa Marie

My first answer would be that anyone should serve there cake with whatever makes them happy (within reason!)

The general convention is that custard would be served with this cake if the cake were warm i.e. more of a pudding, than tea time treat.
If the cake is at room temperature, as this was, then cream all the way!

Hope this helps

Happy baking!

Pauline said...

I just love Whitby which is obviously twinned with Transylvania :-)) I missed a photo opportunity there last spring of a house with a 'life size' plastic Dracula in amongst the daffodils outside their front door. We had cake off course too, it was so cold we had to warm up. Love the cake too. Apple seems to carry it's flavour well through cake. I've had to have mine with toffee lately, yum!

Lisa Marie said...

Ah. Well, of course. THAT makes sense to me, depite the sad oversight in our meals. We don't have tea time here, at least not in my part of the country. [Cue sad violin music.]

Is there a recipe for custard that I have missed?

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

cake fest!! Love this

Nom! x

Baking Addict said...

Amazing selection here, looks like you had a good holiday. I love how tall your sponges always turn out.

Gloria said...

Those cakes look amazing!!! gloria

Lady Chutney said...

Coble cake is definately going into my recipes to make soon folder as I have been given loads of apples and need to use them up (currently taking up too much freezer space). Loved the cake photos. There is a tiny little tea room in Rye, Sussex that sells the most divine chocolate cake in humungous portions and looks a lot like the chocolate cake you pictured. I haven't been to Rye for a while so don't know if it's still there. It'a worth a trip just to find out after looking at your photos.

Christy said...

Gosh, there were just so many cakes that I didn't know which one to comment on! But your Yorkshire-inspired cake was awesome! Apple puree and sponge makes it sound so appealing, I am tempted!:D

Lady Chutney said...

Hi Caked Crusader - thanks for your comment but for some reason my blog does not allow me to reply to other people on it (I am not recognised???) but I agree totally with your comments. So not too mushy at all. At one job I had we were raising money by various means (fancy dress, quizes etc) to send people on the 3 peaks challenge and the most successful venture by far was the Friday Cake Bake. Most people baked a cake (or got someone else to do it for them - like their Mum/partner/child) and most people paid to eat cake each friday. The tea room was full to bursting each friday with people who usually didn't have the time stopping to chat while eating cake, swapping recipes etc. So, for the next summit of world leaders, I suggest you and I, and as there seem to be a lot of world leaders, a few others possibly Choclette and Kate, take much homemade cake along to bring them together and the world may well become a better place. A new career opportunitiy arises.

Cakelaw said...

I have never heard of coble cake before, but it certainly looks like it deserves more recognition. I want the toffee apple brown betty - how good does that look!

Hazel at Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

Wow what a tasty trip! Love all the large portions, especially the giant teacake. Yum! Tasty apple cake too. I am currently experimenting with apple puree in pastry as part of my group project at uni and have been dying to eat some of it (the puree) with cake!

Alison said...

Mmmmm what a delicious looking post, so many lovely cakes!! It's also nice to see a post about Whitby that doesn't go on about fish and chips lol!!! Well, it's been a CC inspired day here at Alison's Bakery. I've made the ginger & chilli biscuits and they are beginning to disappear already and I have a lovely looking Coble Cake waiting to be devoured after tea, it smells divine. Thanks for all your lovely recipes!!

Lucy said...

I've never heard of cobble cake before but it looks delicious - love the apple puree filling idea. The Whitby treats look delicious - the toffee apple betty cake is my favourite.

sensibilia said...

We love Whitby. Have been to "Wits End" too. And The Magpie cafe for very delicious fish.

That carrot cake looks wicked. One of my favourite cakes.

The coble cake looks authentic Yorkshire.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you made coble cake! I saw a tea rooms serving it in Staithes when I was on holiday there earlier this year but never got a chance to try it and you're right, there are absolutely no recipes on the internet. So thank you so much - now I can finally try this delicious looking cake1

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love your blog and often follow your recipes but i never get the amazing height you seem to get in your sponges!! Any reccomendations? Thanks, H x

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Anonymous

I think the two key things to getting a tall sponge are:
1. All ingredients at room temperature before you start
2. Spend as long as you can whipping up the butter and sugar. I whip it, with my Kitchenaid on a high speed, sometimes for 10 mins or more - it ends up looking like whipped cream.
If you follow stage 2, it should mean you can beat in your eggs without needing any flour to stop it curdling - I think this is important because any curdling is a loss of volume/air

Hope this helps

Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Thnak you!! I can certainly see where I may be going wrong now! I started with your Cherry Bakewell Tarts a few months ago and now instead of trawling the internet for a recipe i come straight here and always find something within minutes :) H X

Sumaiyyah said...

Oh, CC, could you possibly, possibly use your superpowers and recreate that toffee betty apple cake? It's such an elegant looking thing, and I can positively imagine savouring every bite... ooohh!!!

morri said...

All right! After a brief diversion in the form of oatmeal-caramel-hazelnut-chocolate bars, I finally managed to try out your coble cake recipe, just like I promised.

What can I say? Tha cake is Awesome, with a capital 'A', no less. I followed your instructions regarding the sponge - beating the butter for 10 minutes, room-temperature ingredients, adding some flour - but it still curdled! Darn! However, when I took it out of the oven, the cake was light and pleasant to bite, so maybe I lucked out after all. And I sheepishly admit that we ate half of it without whipped cream, because no one could be bothered to make it when there was such a warm, tasty apple cake up for grabs. The spicy sponge combined with mushy sweet-and-tart apples is just heavenly. It's such a simple, hearty, homely bake - probably one of my favourite recipes ever.

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Morri

You've made my day! I am sooooo pleased you and your family enjoyed this cake - it's a belter, isn't it!