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:
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
50g/2oz/4 tbsp butter, melted
5ml/1tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
75g/3oz/6tbsp butter, at room temperature
115g/4oz/a half cup caster sugar
5ml/1tsp vanilla essence
- 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!