Apple Cake

Method

There are countless apple cake recipes from all over the Western world, especially from apple-growing areas like France, the United States and New Zealand. The tang of the fruit balances well with a light toffee-like taste in this version. The fruit can be first peeled and chopped or cooked until fluffy and then mixed in.

This recipe has extra texture from the apple and crunchy streusel topping. It is moister than normal cakes and is nicest served warm with soured cream or crème fraîche. Try making it, too, with fresh, sweet pears or pitted and chopped fresh apricots or plums instead of apples. For extra flavouring add a little ground mixed spice with cinnamon or nutmeg.

Preheat the oven to 170°C, 325°F, Gas Mark 3. Grease and line the base of a 20 cm (8 in) springform tin with a disc of greaseproof paper to fit. Lightly grease the paper.

  1. Beat 125 g (4 oz) softened butter with 150 g (5 oz) soft brown sugar until pale and fluffy, then beat in 2 eggs. Sift 250 g (8 oz) plain flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder and fold in with 2 tablespoons orange juice, 2 teaspoons grated orange rind and a few drops vanilla essence.

  2. Peel 500 g (1 lb) Cox’s or Granny Smith apples, then core and chop into medium-sized chunks. Stir the apple chunks into the cake mixture. Turn into the tin and level the surface with a palette knife. Tap the tin gently on the work surface so the mixture works its way down.

  3. Rub 25 g (1 oz) butter into 50 g (2 oz) plain flour until the mixture resembles crumbs. Mix in 2 tablespoons demerara sugar, 1 pinch ground cinnamon and 1 tablespoon chopped hazelnuts. Sprinkle over the cake. Bake for 1-1¼ hours or until a fine skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out and peel off the paper. Place base-side down on a wire rack to cool.