This recipe originally came from a National Trust magazine and has been tweaked to ensure the perfect bake every time. Everyone who has a slice wants the recipe and most members of my family already have it. This is where comfort food meets afternoon tea!
If you use Bramley apples, which aren’t too sweet, it works well in the cake which obviously has sugar in it. If you use eating apples that are sweet you can either put in a little less caster sugar or make a sweeter cake.
Useful Utensils: Loose bottomed tin approx. 23cm (9 inches). Microplane Zester. Teaspoon measure.
Prepare the cake mix:
Zest the lemon using the Microplane zester or use a second-rate tool if you must!
Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until they are pale and fluffy. If you use a stand mixer for this, start slowly then increase the speed to high. If you don’t have a stand mixer, it’s time for a wooden spoon and a workout for your biceps.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little flour each time (about a heaped dessert spoon full). This stops the mixture curdling.
Measure out your flour and to it, add 2 teaspoons of baking powder. It’s important to be accurate here; exactly 2 teaspoons. If you add too much your cake will be dry and if you add too little it won’t rise.
Sift the remaining flour, baking powder and ground almonds into your bowl. Then fold together gently, using a spoon. This keeps the air in the mixture and the cake light. You can also ‘fold’ using a stand mixer on a low setting, i.e. the lowest speed.
Greece and line a 23cm (approx.) loose bottom cake tin. To do this cut out a circle of baking paper (greaseproof paper) by drawing round the bottom of the tin. Greece the bottom of the tin, stick the paper to it and then grease the paper. This is very greasy but it makes life easier later.
Cut out a second piece of baking paper the same size as the first, which you can use later during the cooking should you need to. See more under Bake!
Peel and core the apples and then cut them into pieces about 1 cm.
Put the apple pieces into a bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Stir until the apple pieces are covered in juice. Then drain off the surplus juice, as you don’t want this to go in the cake.
Add the apple pieces to the cake mixture and fold in. Don’t over stir it, just enough to incorporate the apple into the mix.
Spoon the mix into your greased cake tin. I spoon it all into the middle of the tin. You may need to use the back of the spoon to level out the mixture but don’t smear too much on the sides of the tin (as it may burn during cooking).
Sprinkle the top of the cake with the demerara sugar. This makes the cake look more appealing when it’s baked!
Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
When it’s cooked it will be well-risen and brown. A skewer (or a knife) inserted into the centre of the cake will come out cleanly when the cake is baked. If you need to put it back in the oven and it is already brown on top, use the second piece of baking paper you cut earlier to put on top of the cake. This will allow the cake to continue cooking whilst stopping the top from over-browning or burning.
When cooked leave to cool in the tin for at least ten minutes before taking the cake out of the tin. (otherwise it will collapse.)
Leave the cake to cool on a wire rack.
Serve with a dollop of cream or Greek yoghurt! Yum!
Keep it in the fridge and it will last a week unless of course you scoff it all on the first day!