I made apple cakes this week! Now that I’ve handed in my essay and things are temporarily slightly less crazy, I managed to spend time baking, and it has been lovely. The first cake I made was a Peyton & Byrne ‘Discovery Apple Cake’ which was delicious and moist, with a hint of cinnamon. The second cake (which literally just came out of the oven) is a Nigel Slater recipe, with raisins and marmalade, which is richer and has a more fruitcake-y flavour, rather than overwhelmingly apple. My house smells of freshly baked cake. Nothing quite like it. Unfortunately my enthusiasm resulted in me taking it out of its tin too soon after it came out of the oven, and it split it half :(. But it is truly delicious, a proper autumnal cake.
I used whisky marmalade in the Nigel Slater cake, which gives it the slight hint of alcohol you get from Christmas cake. If you don’t have some whisky marmalade lying about (kind of unlikely…), then I can definitely recommend you soak the fruit in a shot or two of whisky or rum if you want that extra flavour. Also I find apple cakes are way better made with brown sugar or dark muscavado sugar, because it gives them a more caramel-y flavour that is great with apple.
Christmas is looming now, which means I’m starting to think about all the things I want to bake – I always make gingerbread, because it’s awesome, but I’ve just been looking through Peyton and Byrne and I saw a recipe for honeycomb I’d really like to try. I’m still a little weary of boiling sugar on the hob in this house after my experience making toffee sauce the other week, but maybe I’ll be brave and give it a go. There are a bunch of Christmas themed recipes in Scandilicious as well, which I might write about in the coming weeks.
Wholemeal apple and marmalade cake (adapted from ‘Tender, vol.II’ by Nigel Slater)
210g dark muscovado sugar
250g wholemeal flour (or a mix of wholemeal and plain)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 apples (approx. 250-300g before peeling)
125g orange marmalade (with whisky if you’ve got it)
50ml whisky or rum (optional, if you want to soak the fruit)
demerara sugar, for sprinkling
1. Set the oven to 160C/Gas 3. Grease and line a reasonably deep 20cm cake tin.
2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs with a fork in a separate bowl. Sift together the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Core and chop the apples into approx. 1cm square pieces. Mix together the apples with the raisins and marmalade (add spirit if using).
3. Add the beaten eggs a little at a time to the butter mixture, adding a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle. Gently fold in the rest of the flour. Fold in the fruit and marmalade mixture.
4. Pour mixture into the tin, and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake for around 1 hour 15 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Discovery Apple Cake (from ‘British Baking’ by Peyton & Byrne)
4 Discovery or other small English apples
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
125ml vegetable oil
125g brown sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
150g self-raising flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.
2. Peel and core the apples, chop them finely, place in a bowl and toss with lemon juice and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Whisk together the sugar and oil in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then stir in the chopped apple. Sift in the flour and mix until just combined. Pour the mixture into the tin and sprinkle the top with brown sugar.
4. Bake for 45-60 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins – then serve warm with creme fraiche.