This beautifully fragrant apple spice cake is the perfect excuse to sit down to afternoon tea.
There’s something so special about making time in the afternoon to sit down for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. It’s something I grew up with. My Nan or Mum would always be baking something, and we’d all take turns going to each other’s houses for tea and cake. Mum liked to make Victoria Sponge, Meringues (although these were more of a special occasion thing) and Apple Cakes.
These days the act of sitting down for afternoon tea is something that doesn’t happen as often as I would like, but in a way, that is what makes it all the more special. On those days I do bake a cake, I start baking in the morning so that in the afternoon (if we can wait that long) my husband and I can stop what we are doing and sit down and enjoy a slice of cake.
On those occasions, more often than not, this is the cake I make. It is my husbands favourite cake. Truth be told he likes any form of apple cake, but this cake is apples to the max, packed with 600g (1.3 pounds) of apples.
To add that rustic charm I’ve used a combination of rye flour and plain white flour, but if you only have regular white flour, simply use that, as I have done in the past, and it turns out just as well, although slightly lighter and fluffier. Personally I prefer the rye, but wholemeal spelt works well here too.
Tell me, do you sit down to afternoon tea now and again? What type of cake do you like for afternoon tea?
Apple Spice Cake
- 600 g pink lady apples peeled, 1 1/3 pounds, cripps pink
- 225 g butter at room temperature, 2 sticks/ 8 0z
- 250 g plus 1 tbs raw caster sugar 9 oz, golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 130 g plain flour 1 cup
- 200 g rye flour 2 cups
- 3 tsp baking powder
- a couple of pinches of salt
- 2 tsp heaped ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp gound ginger
- 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1 tbs raw sugar to sprinkle on top optional
Preheat oven to 170 celsius (340 fahrenheit).
Core and chop all but one of the apples. Use a mandolin to finely slice the remaining apple. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tbs of the raw caster sugar and toss to combine and leave for 20 to 30 minutes to soften.
In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter, vanilla and sugar until light and creamy. Switch the mixer to the lowest speed before gradually adding the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
Place the flours, baking powder and spices in a bowl and whisk to combine. Add to the egg, butter and sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
Remove the slices of apple you sliced on the mandolin and set aside to decorate the top. Add the remaining apples (and any liquid) to the cake mixture and use a wooden spoon to fold them through the mixture.
Grease a 20cm (8 inch) cake tin (I like to use spring form here) and line with baking paper. dollop the mixture into the tin and smooth to create an even top. Add the reserved apple slices and place on top of the cake, with one slice for the center and then place the remaining slices in a circular pattern around the rest of the cake. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a wire rack to cool completely
This cake freezes well. Wrap slices of the cake well in cling film and defrost on the kitchen bench overnight.