You may have noticed something of a recurring theme on the blog recently – apples!
I’ve gone a little apple crazy. And thats because everywhere I look, there are lovely, juicy, tangy specimens of all shapes and sizes, just begging to be celebrated. Every house in my street seems to have an offering on their front wall, free to a good home, before the last of the crop falls from the tree and goes to waste among auburn leaves.
So far, my apple-tastic explorations have proved rather fruitful. I made a beautiful spiced apple chutney last weekend that I know will be delicious on Christmas day with a big hunk of cheese. On the same day, however, I tried my hand at a little cake-xperiment that – despite lot of effort and frustration – just didn’t work out how I’d hoped.
I could have written it off as a failure, but I decided to bite the bullet in the name of self-improvement and try again.
This new-and-improved recipe has been specially created to celebrate the launch of the new-and-improved Bristol Bites website, run by the very lovely Emily. Tying in the ‘Bites’ to the apples, I had planned to tie in the West Country element with a cider frosting, but it seems my cider had other ideas and didn’t want to give its lovely flavour to a cream cheese frosting. Cinnamon, it seems, was much more willing to cooperate.
I will be the first to admit that this cake looks disconcerting when it comes out of the oven. The top cracks a little and looks almost scone or muffin-like. But don’t let that put you off – I have a feeling that’s because I used a ‘half-butter-half-olive-oil’ butter/spread type malarky, so stick to full-fat butter or a margarine that’s suitable for baking and you’ll be just fine.
I chose to sandwich the cake with tangy lemon curd to add a gorgeous bit of zing, and topped it with a silky-smooth cinnamon buttercream – a match made in heaven. I used shop-bought lemon curd (for shame!) as I was making it up on the hoof, but homemade is surprisingly simple and absolutely divine. You could also grate a little lemon zest into the sponge if you like to notch up the citrus flavour.
A slice of this little beauty is just perfect snuggled on the sofa with a mug of tea, and is sure to help you welcome in the autumn with open arms.
Spiced apple cake with cinnamon frosting
Makes 8-10 slices
- 300g plain flour
- 100g butter
- 140g light muscovado sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 2 medium cooking apples, peeled, chopped and finely grated
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon curd
- Handful of hazelnuts or walnuts to decorate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line two 20cm circular cake tins.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, before sifting in the flour, mixed spice, ginger, and baking powder and mixing until combined. Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time as needed to bring the mixture together.
- Fold in the grated apples and combine, then bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Allow to cool for a few minutes, before transferring to a rack to cool. Trim the top to make it even using a pallet knife or long serrated knife.
- Once cool, smooth the lemon curd over the bottom layer using a pallet knife or the back of a spoon, and ice the top of the cake with the buttercream. Finish with hazelnuts to decorate if using.
Makes enough to ice the top of the cake
- 85g butter, softened and cubed
- 85g icing sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp milk
- Cream the butter with the back of the wooden spoon in or an electric whisk with paddle attachment
- Sift in the icing sugar, and work it with the spoon until combined. Add milk to bring it together. Add the cinamon, and mix until completely smooth.