For our cake club meeting last month I decided to try a recipe that I had had my eye on for quite a while. It’s called “country apple cake” and you can see it on the BBC Good Food website here. For the meeting I called it “scrumpy apple cake” because the apples in it were scrumped from a friend’s garden. (Actually she invited me round to pick them but that’s by the by.)
The recipe had intrigued me because it contains chocolate in the form of cocoa powder as well as spices and of course the apples. Having found my coffee apple cake a great success I assumed this would be just as good, but what a disappointment. It had a lovely texture and held together well for a cake containing plenty of chunks of apple but the flavour was extremely bland.
I had my doubts when I licked the spoon after putting it in the oven so I attempted to perk up the finished cake by adding a cream cheese topping and some apple leaves and chocolate raisins for decoration. Unfortunately even that was not enough to rescue a really average cake. Another recipe I should revisit and tweak?………maybe, one day when I have run out of recipes to try……..although it did have a lovely texture.
Now enter stage left, this cake to a recipe by Mary Berry. She calls it “American apple and apricot cake” and it appears on the internet in numerous places as well as in her “Baking Bible” and “100 cakes and bakes”.
In my quest to find the perfect apple cake recipe, this would have to be the strongest contender so far. It was dead easy to make, essentially an all-in-one method. I snipped the dried apricots quite roughly and sliced the apples directly from my hand into the cake mixture.
My cake sank a bit in the middle but tasted divine. The combination of apricots, apples and almonds is one that really works well it seems – and in fact most of the almond flavour comes from a splash of almond essence rather than ground almonds.
I don’t know what it is about it that makes it “American” but I would just call it “apple, apricot and almond cake”.
Mary suggests it’s best served warm but I served it at room temperature and didn’t fall apart like some apple cakes do. It kept well in a tin for a couple of days, too. Definitely a cake I shall be making again and again.
Apple, apricot and almond cake
250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
225g caster sugar
½ tsp almond extract
150g butter, melted
225g apples, peeled*
100g ready to eat dried apricots
25g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 160 C / 140 Fan / gas mk 3. Butter and line the base of a 20cm round loose bottomed tin.
Put all the ingredients except for the fruit into a large bowl and mix well together to combine then beat for one minute. Snip the apricots and slice the apples into the bowl and gently mix them in. Spoon into the tin and level the top. Sprinkle over the almonds and bake for 1-1½ hours until done.
Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*The recipe says cooking apples but I used some more of my scrumped dessert apples from my friend’s tree and they were fine.
Cuts into 10-12 slices.