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Somerset Apple Cake

Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015

Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015

This Somerset Apple Cake is my “go to” comfort cake.  It’s not hard to make, and is soft, scrumptious and mouth-wateringly good whether you have it straight from the oven with cream or have it cold later.  I’ve been known to eat this for breakfast with a hot cup of coffee, it makes a lovely decadent start to the day.  However if you’re after a ‘pretty, knock-em dead sort of looking cake, this isn’t the way to go, this won’t provide your heart’s desire.  This Apple Cake is a rustic, wholesome fill you up and make you feel good cake.

This recipe is adapted from an old recipe in my very old, battered and much used copy of Farmhouse Kitchen.  I’d forgotten about the TV show that went with this series of books, until I went to look the book up on Amazon.  It featured on daytime TV from Yorkshire Television along with other favourites like Watch With Mother.  Whatever happened to good day time TV?  Now we have Jeremy Kyle??  Perhaps I’m getting old?  I know what I’d prefer to see and it’s not Jeremy!

Somerset Apple Cake and Cream, © Sue Todd 2015.

Somerset Apple Cake and Cream, © Sue Todd 2015.

However I digress.  Back to Apple Cake.  The original recipe uses candied peel, white flour and insists on Bramleys.  Bramleys do work really well in this recipe it I have to admit, but I’ve also used whatever apples I have to hand and it’s always come out okay, though sometimes it does need a bit longer in the oven, and even then it can sink a little in the middle. Though in this case it adds to the rustic charm and the gooey centre is just lovely.   My version uses wholemeal flour, vanilla sugar, and some extra vanilla (you can’t get too much of a good thing after all), while omitting the dried peel.  The original also used a sprinkling of granulated sugar on the top.  I don’t have any of that in my kitchen, so its my vanilla sugar that I use here, plain unrefined castor sugar will do just as well though if you have no vanilla sugar.

I know I already explained this, but It’s not a pretty, decorative cake, it’s a wholly functional, rib sticking autumn/winter goodness on a plate kind of cake. Actually I think this one works anytime and it’s totally scrummy comfort food at any time of day or night, hot or cold.

Ingredients for Apple Cake:

  • 3oz butter,
  • 6oz vanilla sugar, or unrefined castor sugar,
  • grated rind from one orange,
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence,
  • 8oz wholemeal self-raising flour,  (you can use white flour)
  • 1 lb apples (Bramley if you have them, or other cookers, but I use whatever I have), peeled,  cored and cut up into cubes,
  • 2 eggs, beaten,
  • 2 tablespoons milk,
  • approx 1 tbsp vanilla sugar for the topping
Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015.

Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015.

Method – to make Apple Cake:

If you are using a conventional oven, pre-heat to 350F/Gas 4.

Grease and line a 9 inch cake tin.

Cream the butter, sugar and orange rind together beating until the mixture is light and creamy in colour.

Mix 1 tablespoon of your self-raising flour in with the chopped apples in a bowl. Generally I have pieces of apple that are about 1-2cm in size, Gary chopped the apple for this one, so its a good bit bigger, still yummy though.

Now add the eggs and milk into the bowl with the creamed butter, sugar and orange rind mixture.

Add the rest of the flour and the apples to the mixture now and mix it up well.

Once its all combined, transfer the mixture to your prepared cake tin, smooth over with a palette knife and sprinkle a tablespoon of vanilla sugar over the top.

It will need 40 to 50 minutes in the oven and indeed depending on the sogginess (is that even a word?) of the apples it may need a bit longer. Test it with a metal skewer, it does tend to be a moist cake anyway with those hunks of apple in it,  but you will want to ensure its cooked through.  Having said that I don’t mind it a wee bit soggy in the centre, especially when its warm from the oven.

I use the baking oven of the AGA.  If it starts to brown too much, pop a cold tray in above it, just to stop it from browning too much.

To Serve:

Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015.

Somerset Apple Cake © Sue Todd 2015.

I don’t think there is a time of day or year that isn’t appropriate for apple cake.  This apple cake is just delicious, you can eat it as it is, but its lovely with cream, ice-cream or even custard.  It makes a great dessert, its fab with morning coffee in the garden in summer, with afternoon tea by a roaring log fire in winter, or in large hunks for a picnic, and, as I mentioned earlier it’s also nice for breakfast or as a late night snack (I’m guilty on both counts!).  Enjoy!

Porridge with grated apple, blackberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Porridge with grated apple and blackberries © Sue Todd 2014

Porridge with grated apple and blackberries © Sue Todd 2014

Breakfast time today and another decision needed.  No compote left, still no bread made, no bacon, no sausages…. oh dear!  However with a garden full of apples and blackberries we didn’t dally long on decisions.

Porridge again but today with grated apple (picked straight from the tree and grated directly) and blackberries fresh from the bush, and a good drizzle of maple syrup to boot.  This was lovely.  I still prefer the porridge with blackberry compote but … this is a close run second.  You could get the recipe from the link, but here it is again to save you having to click, with the amends for this version.

Ingredients:

  • 160g oats
  • 600ml milk, (semi-skimmed, full fat, gold top, soya, whatever takes your fancy here really)
  • pinch of salt,
  • Couple of apples grated
  • Few handfuls of blackberries
  • Maple syrup to taste

Method:

Put the oats, milk and a pinch of salt into a saucepan on a gentle to medium heat and stir.

Bring the pan up to simmering point and simmer until its smooth and creamy – round about 5 minutes should do it nicely.

Remove from the heat, dish up into bowls, add the grated apple and scatter with blackberries before drizzling with maple syrup.