This really is one of my favourite times of year. Starbucks starts doing its Autumnal spiced lattes, the leaves start to turn a beautiful orange-brown and the fruit begins to fall from my nans sturdy apple tree. Each year she brings me some ripened apples, bright green and tart. One of her favourite recipes is a blackberry and apple crumble, it’s become somewhat of a signature desert of hers. She picks blackberries from behind her house and combines them with the apples, handfuls of sugar and a crumbly butter topping.
This year, I thought I’d try something different with the fruit and made my first apple cake. After researching some recipes – French apple cake, Dutch apple cake, Dorset apple cake (the list goes on) – I settled on one of the simplest recipes I found: Mary Berry’s Apple Cake. After watching her week after week on the Great British Bake Off, it seemed only fair that I should give Mary’s easy apple cake recipe a go. And a great decision it was.
Firstly, I loved the Mary Berry’s apple cake recipe used things I already had in my cupboard. Well, I actually ran out of sugar, so topped it up to the full 225g the recipe required with demerara sugar instead. You’ll find I’m not that precious with my measurements. I like a handful, a slosh or a rough spoonful…Probably not great when a recipe does requires outstanding precision. Still, this one was so forgiving I wouldn’t have changed it. I also used more apples than the original recipe needs. Purely because I had them and wasn’t sure when I’d next be cooking with them – I’d rather have a cake bursting with fruit than one or two left over apples that I can’t actually use. See what I mean about not being precious…
So, here goes the recipe. My additional apples actually came in handy for decoration purposes and I also swapped Mary’s almond extract for vanilla extract too…
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 225g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ½ tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 150g butter, melted
- 250g cooking apples, peeled and cored
- Mary’s recipe also uses flaked almonds but I switched mine out for an apple decoration instead
Preheat your oven to 160C or 140C for a fan assisted oven. Beat together the butter, sugar, 2 eggs, vanilla extract. Next, sieved the flour into the mixture until it’s all gently combined to form a basic cake mixture.
Peel and core your cooking apples. Then cut the apples into chunks, reserving one half of an apple for your decoration (don’t cut this one into chunks). Try to keep these all a similar size, this will make sure they all cook at a similar time during the cake baking.
Line and grease a deep cake tin. Pour half your cake batter into the bottom of the tin. Next topple your apples into the cake tin, where Mary suggest placing more apples in the middle of the cake. Next, pour the remainder or your cake mix over the top of the apples. Let it seep down in between the apple chunks making sure they’re nicely covered. This will even out during the bake so don’t worry how it looks too much here.
I decided to make an apple decoration instead of Mary’s traditional almond topping. This is a good alternative for anyone who may have a nut allergy. To do this, I used the reserved apple half and thinly sliced it. Separate these slightly and fan them around the top of the apple cake. To keep these set in place, I dolloped a little cake mixture in the middle of the cake and worked around it. I then sprinkled the whole cake with a smattering of demerara sugar.
Bake. The recipe suggests baking for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Mine took slightly longer, around 1hr 40 mins, because I had chopped the apples into quite sizeable chunks. But it gave me plenty of time for a cup of tea and play time with Leni – it’s one of her favourite morning rituals.
I checked my cake with a metal skewer through the middle to make sure it was cooked the whole way through. Then, once cooked, remove it from the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.
I was so happy with the result, it’s definitely a recipe I’d make again. As opposed to the more pudding-like apple cakes I’ve tried before, this one has a lovely moist, crumbly cake texture. The apples also stop the cake from drying out, so it’s a great easy recipe if want to prepare something a day or so in advance – if you can keep your hands off it that long – I could have easily eaten it all that day. It would have counted as one of my 5-a-day, no?
Do you have any great easy apple recipes?
See you soon,