It’s autumn, so there’s tons of apples. Also, it’s getting cold, so there is an inherent need for cake. This cake also has one of your two a day, so you can file it under healthy. It’s fabulous at tea time, which is at about fourish and, fortunately, happens every day.
When you bake a cake, weights and measures must be strictly adhered to. There is no ambiguity and, as such, a set of scales will be required. If you know a lady, she can probably help. She will no doubt be delighted to trade her gadget for a warm slice of your concoction. It means a deviation from bra sizes, punches and seconds.
- 230g Plain Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 125g soft butter plus 20g more for softening apples
- 230g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 120ml milk
- 4 medium apples
- 100g toasted flaked almonds
- some optional cinnamon 1tsp of
First off, get all the ingredients out – much better to make a cake with everything at room temperature. Especially the butter, which is a pain to mix when it’s hard from the fridge. Butter is dead easy to use as most packs have a measuring guide, usually in 25g chunks so you dont have to weigh it. Obviously, cutting butter is a darn sight easier when it’s cold. while your there, turn the oven on to 180 / gas 4. Get your cake pan. Mine is 24cm by 7cm deep, so anything around that size will do. Then smear butter all around the tin’s sides and bottom. This will stop the cake sticking and help it to get out of the tin whe it’s cooked. You can also line the bottom of the tin with foil or greasproof paper if you want.
so, you could do it all by hand…….. but a machine is far more fun.
Get your soft butter and sugar into your mixer bowl or food processor. Mix it for at the very least 5 mins. It wants to be fluffy with all the sugar dissolved into the butter. When your happy, add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure the first is thoroughly mixed in before you add the second. When you first add the eggs, have the mixer quite slow, or else it will fly out and may hit you in the face. In which case, you will no longer be trusted by people.
While your cake ‘batter’, for that is how it is known, is having a good old airy mix, you can sieve the flour and baking powder. We use baking powder as a raising agent so we get some ‘lift’ into the cake and we sieve it all to stop lumps forming.
Now find a big spoon and scoop some flour into the batter. Again, don’t have that mixer to fast…… Alternate flour and milk till its all used up. This is not a stiff batter, somewhere near thick custard.
Meanwhile….. apples. they need a peeling first then ‘coring’, which is taking out the middle bit with the seeds and stalk. You can get a tool for the job or use a knife. Then slice them up quite thin. About 5mm. As you slice them, put them in a bowl of cold water. Apples go brown really quickly and the water stops this happening.
Melt that other bit of butter in a frying pan, not a fierce heat because butter burns very easily, and throw in a punch of sugar. Any sugar, but a dark brown will be best. I use a dark muscavado. At this point, you can add the optional cinnamon. If it’s Christmas definately add it. When the sugar is dissolved, toss in half the sliced apples. Give a good shake so all the slices are covered in sweet buttery goo. This is just to soften the apples, so no longer than about three minutes. Strain the sliced gooey apples over a bowl, then pour the sugary butter goo back into the pan and do the same to the rest of the apples. Remember to save the goo.
Spoon half the cake batter into the prepared tin, smoothing it with the back of the spoon so it’s levelish. Then add the first apple layer along with a half a punch of toasted almonds. Spoon on the rest of the batter and smooth it over as before. The final layer of buttery apples should be arranged with finesse, for it is beautiful thing and should look as such. When arranged, neatly, brush on the remaining goo, creating a lovely sticky glaze. Brush? Why yes, but not something that has been previously used for painting. Or make up. There are special pastry brushes. You should buy one, they are inexpensive and useful. Or else ask the ‘lady’ who lent you the scales.
A final small punch of toasted almonds to finish and a dusting of granulated sugar then into the pre heated oven. Bake it for 40 minutes.Ish. Now. Ovens. They are all different and you need to ‘know’ yours. Keep an eye on it but don’t open the door alot – heat will escape and create baking havoc. Maybe a quick visual check at 30 mins to make sure there’s no burning atop your creation. You can always put a tin foil lid on if the top is done but underneath not. To check if it’s done, stick skewer or similar into cake. If it comes out with batter on it, needs longer. When it comes out clean, it’s done.
When it’s done get it out of the oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Then get it out and onto preferably a wire rack, but a plate will do. It will be best eaten warm with anything you care to add – you know, cream and the like. But it will also keep in a tin for a few days.
You may have noticed it went into the oven minus the almonds. I remembered about 10 minutes into baking. Whipped it out chucked on the almonds, a sprinkling of granulated and there you go. Bob’s your dad’s brother.