It feels almost as though everything I've been cooking and baking recently has involved apples. This year's crop has been spectacular not only for the quantity of the apples, but also the quality. There's been piles of huge, great, red-cheeked spheres all over the kitchen, awaiting their time to shine in chutneys, crumbles, pies, apple sauce. My fingers ache from peeling.
Although the crumbles and chutneys have all been wonderful, my favourite use for this fragrant fruit however is apple cake. This year I have veered away from my usual recipe, dispensing with the walnuts which sometimes give a slightly bitter flavour to the cake. Instead, I've added muscovado sugar for a deeper, more rounded flavour and have upped the spices. The result is a lightly spiced, incredibly moist, delicious cake. I can't think of a time during the day when you wouldn't want a slice of this - breakfast, mid-afternoon, supper time - perfect.
As apples are still in season, I'm sending this over to Katie from Feeding Boys who this month is hosting Ren Behan's Simple and in Season challenge.
The spicing in this cake makes it ideal for this time of year so I'm also sending it over to Janie from The Hedgecombers who is this month's host of Tea Time Treats (Bonfire Night), a challenge she runs alongside original creator and host Karen from Lavender and Lovage.
90g caster sugar
90g muscovado sugar
180g self raising flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 medium-sized apples or 2 big ones, peeled, cored and chopped into small dice.
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Grease and base line a round cake tin, 22cm diameter
Cream the butter and both kinds of sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Sieve the flour and spices and fold in to the batter.
Add the chopped apples, stirring well to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, smoothing the top.
If you want a slightly crunchy top, you can sprinkle over a spoon of demerara sugar just before it goes into the oven.
Put in the oven and bake for about 30-35 mins or until the cake is cooked and golden brown on top. It takes slightly longer to cook than a normal sponge cake because of the addition of moist apple.
Remove from the oven. Take the cake out of the tin as soon as possible (without burning yourself of course) and leave to cool on a wire rack.