There’s an apple tree in my garden, looking a little neglected and wistfully shedding its fruit on to the grass. I share my garden with the other residents in our little block of flats and there don’t seem to be many takers of the small, rough-around-the-edges, apples it has to offer. But I’m a little rough around the edges too and I hate to think of them going to waste, so I added ‘think of lots of things to do with a glut of apples’ to my ever-expanding to-do list. Never one to turn down a challenge, I’d like to make a hot chilli apple jam, apple sauce, apple pie, tarte tatin, blueberry and apple muffins, and a whole host of apple-licious treats. There may not be enough hours in the day, but I’ll keep you posted! This cake appealed to me as it’s super easy, and makes a nice change from a traditional crumble – don’t get me wrong, I love a good crumble, but sometimes it’s good to spice things up a little. And that’s what I was aiming for with the luxurious feel of the crumble that sits proudly atop this cake; I topped it with ground hazelnuts (whizzed quickly in the mill of my food processor, but chopping finely will do), and added in ground almonds and oats for a moreish texture. The crunch of the crumble is a wonderful juxtaposition with the baked apples and the soft, light sponge. I hesitated in layering up the full 3 apples as I thought they might make the cake soggy (you’ll see this in the picture of the slice below), but in hindsight, that was very silly; so once you’ve got one layer, keep on going until you use ‘em all up to get that lovely visible, soft shelf of appley loveliness.
Apple Hazelnut Crumble Cake
For the hazelnut crumble topping
- 50g plain flour
- 20g oats
- 40g margarine/butter
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 60g light brown sugar
- 30g hazelnuts, ground (keep these separate)
- 1 tbsp ground almonds
For the sponge
- 60g unsalted butter, softened
- 140g plain flour
- 100g caster sugar
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1 large egg
- few drops vanilla essence
- 80ml milk
- 3 medium apples
- Preheat oven to 170c, grease a 20cm springform tin.
- Prepare the crumble topping; sift the flour and cinnamon in a bowl. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub into a breadcrumb texture. Stir in the sugar, oats and ground almonds and set aside.
- Now, cream together your butter and sugar. I did this by hand ’cause I was feeling old school, but feel free to use an electric whisk/mixer.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract. Sift the flour and baking powder, and combine, gradually stirring in the milk. The mixture should be light and smooth. Pour into the prepared baking tin.
- Peel, core and slice your apples, arranging neatly on top of the sponge layer. Loosely and evenly sprinkle over the crumble mixture. Top with the ground hazelnuts and bake for 35-45 minutes.