The hot UK summer has led to a bumper crop of gorgeous apples this autumn, and what better way to celebrate them than in a deliciously spiced apple cake. Farmdrop’s resident baker, Meg Weal, shares her best apple cake recipe.
Apples are wonderful to bake with. Their hard texture means they hold their own in the oven, they add a gorgeous tangy sweetness to any dish and hold a warming nostalgia that sends me back to my apple-picking days as a kid in Norfolk.
Baking can sometimes be a minefield of timings, measurements and ingredients, especially when adding fruit into the mix. The extra sugar and moisture present in fruit will change how your cake bakes, and if you’re not careful, you could be pulling a liquidy mess out of the oven. To make sure there are no soggy bottoms in sight, longer cooking times are your best friend. Insert a skewer into the middle of your cake, and when it comes out clean, you’ll know it’s ready.
This Spiced Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Crumb is the perfect way to use up apples this autumn. I’ve thinly sliced the apples to make sure they cook all the way through, while still holding their flavour when paired with rich, brown sugar. Apples and brown sugar is a combo to make your tastebuds sing. I’ve balanced it with a good helping of spice to stop it teetering into too-sweet-for-me territory.
The perfect apple cake recipe to eat this autumn
Spiced Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Crumb
The perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Spend your morning pulling this one together, sit down with a good book and enjoy the smells that waft from your kitchen. Get it out of the oven by 3pm to really enjoy a still-warm slice at peak hunger.
For the brown sugar crumb
– 85g dark brown sugar
– 60g plain flour
– ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 pinch of nutmeg
– 55g cold butter
– 70g pecans, roughly chopped
For the apple cake
– 110g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
– 215g dark brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon lemon zest
– 2 large eggs
– 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
– 235g Greek-style yoghurt
– 150ml milk
– 250g plain flour
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– ¼ teaspoon baking powder
– 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
– ¼ teaspoon ginger
– ½ teaspoon salt
– 1 apple, peeled, cored and grated
– 3-4 apples, cored and sliced into 2cm-thick
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line a 20cm, deep, round baking tin with butter and greaseproof paper.
2. Start by making your brown sugar crumb. Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Work in the cold butter using your fingertips to create a crumb consistency. Mix in the pecans and set aside while you make the cake.
3. To make the cake, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until well combined and pale. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the vanilla until fluffy.
4. In a separate jug, whisk together the yoghurt and milk and set aside. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt in a separate bowl.
5. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients and the yoghurt mixture into the butter mix, alternating between the two, until smooth and combined. Gently fold in the grated apple, then pour the whole lot into your prepared baking tin.
6. Arrange the apple slices onto top and sprinkle over the brown sugar crumb. Bake in the hot oven for 50 minutes, or until an inserted knife or skewer comes out clean.