There are hundreds of versions of apple cake in the UK but I prefer one that is full of apples. In this version, the cooking apple breaks down while the eating apples keep their texture. It’s a good balance. I like this warm with the cream or custard, so it’s good after Sunday lunch as well as for afternoon tea. 


Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour




For the cake

  • 175g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the tin
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • a generous amount of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 175g soft light-brown sugar
  • finely grated zest of  ½ orange
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g apples (1 Bramley and the rest eating apples –  I like Granny Smith because they’re tart but you can use whichever you want), peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • demerara sugar, to sprinkle

For the cream

  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp soft light-brown sugar (or icing sugar if you prefer)
  • 2 tbsp Somerset Cider Brandy or French Calvados


1. Butter a 22cm springform cake tin and line the base. Heat the oven to 180C/170C fan/gas mark 4.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices together. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the zest. Gradually add the egg a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla.

3. Toss the apple slices with two tablespoons of the flour mixture, then fold the apples and the flour into the eggs, butter and sugar. Add the milk – you’ll need it by this point – and carefully mix. Scrape this mixture into the cake tin. Sprinkle the top with some demerara sugar and bake for an hour, then test for doneness – a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.

4. Leave for 10-15 minutes before undoing the clasp and removing the cake ring.

5. To prepare the cream, whip it, adding the sugar and the cider brandy once it’s holding its shape well. Add the alcohol slowly – if you see the cream beginning to split, stop. I am always trying to get too much booze into whipped cream and buttercream.

6. I think this cake is best eaten warm the day it’s made, with a dollop of the cream.

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2023-03-17T11:29:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd