Apple foraging season is over, but if you've still got some cooking apples in store then this is an ideal recipe to use a few.
I made this cake in October, and it was fabulous. I have been meaning to blog about it ever since. The recipe came from 'The Week' magazine, and is taken from Mary Berry's Baking Bible which I think is a new publication, bringing together recipes from several of Mary Berry's previous cookbooks. The official title for the recipe is Apple and Cinnamon Cake, but I renamed it Apple Spice Cake as I used a selection of spices instead of simply cinnamon.
We took the cake on holiday with us to Yorkshire (and I hasten to add that we were holidaying in a self-catering cottage... we don't make a habit of packing cakes into our suitcases!) and it kept fantastically well. We ate a generous slice each day along with a cup of tea on return from our hearty walks, and even when we finished it on day 5 or 6 it tasted as good as it had done at the start of the week.
Mary Berry's Apple and Cinnamon Cake
225g softened butter
225g light muscovado sugar (plus a little to finish)
3 large eggs
100g chopped walnuts (I omitted these as I had none in the cupboard!)
225g self-raising flour (I substituted 100g of this with Hemp Flour which gave it a lovely nutty flavour and texture)
2 level tsp baking powder (I added an extra tsp because of the Hemp Flour)
400g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 level tsp ground cinnamon (I used 'Pumpkin Pie Spice' which I had brought back from Canada. It contains a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc)
Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160/gas 4. Grease a 23cm deep round cake tin and line the base with parchment paper.
Put the butter, sugar, eggs, walnuts, sultanas, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended.
Spoon half the mixture into the tin, smooth it down, then tip the grated apple (which you have mixed with the spices) in an even layer on the top. Spoon over the remaining cake mixture, level the surface, then sprinkle over a generous amount of muscovado sugar.
Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until the cake is well-risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold. It's great either way.
I loved the way that the apple layer provided a slightly tart middle layer, which offset the sweetness of the cake. It also kept the cake deliciously moist.