Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My name is Sharon and I believe in cake

I'm a life-long believer in the power of cake. A slice of cake, with or without cream or ice cream, always makes me feel better, no matter what the situation.

If you stop to think about it, you'll realise that there's a cake for every occasion. There are birthday cakes with their crowns of flickering candles. There are show-stopper cakes that serve as grand finales at special dinner parties. And there are cakes for days like today, days that are crisp with the onset of winter and that seem made for the indulgence of afternoon tea.

Cakes like this French apple cake which is bursting with seasonal flavour. Its comforting sweetness is balanced by the slight sourness of the Bramley apples and the gentle spice of the nutmeg. I can't think of a better cake to accompany a cup of tea on an afternoon in November.

Here's what you need to make this cake:

First layer:
450g/1lb Bramley apples or other cooking apples, peeled and cored
115g/4oz/1 cup self-raising flour

5ml/1tsp baking powder

115g caster sugar

90ml/6tbsp milk

50g/2oz/4 tbsp butter, melted

2 eggs

5ml/1tsp fresh nutmeg, grated

Second layer:
75g/3oz/6tbsp butter, at room temperature 

115g/4oz/a half cup caster sugar

5ml/1tsp vanilla essence 

1 egg


  • Preheat the oven to 160 C/325 F/Gas 3.
  • Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9in round cake tin

  • Weigh your ingredients and chop your apples into chunks. Lay them on the bottom of the lined tin.

  • Put all of the remaining ingredients for the first layer of your cake into a bowl or food processor and beat to a smooth batter.
  • Pour the batter over the apples in the tin and level the top with a spoon.
  • Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top has become golden.
  • Meanwhile, cream the ingredients for the second layer together.  
  • Remove the cake from the oven and spoon over the creamed mixture.
  • Return to the oven and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin and when it's ready to eat, you'll have all you need for the perfect afternoon tea. A soft luscious layer of apple sponge topped with a crispy layer that has become deliciously chewy around the edges.
  • Serve with cream, ice cream or even just a cup of tea. Sit back and savour what might just be a perfect moment.

This cake keeps well for a few days; its sponge layer becoming denser and more custard like while its top layer retains that sugary crunch. Yum!


  1. Your view just makes me cry! So, so beautiful. Perfect accompaniment to apple cake.

  2. Aw! Such a nice thing to say. Would you believe that I can't see any of it today though as it's dark, foggy and raining - that's Ireland for you!

  3. I believe in cake also, but I have done the previously unthinkable: I've given up sugar for the next 6-9 months, barring holiday meals. My energy better come up and weight should start dropping or else I am going to be one cranky & deprived woman!

  4. Wow, Sharon! That's great. I hope you succeed and that you're not too cranky!