Preserves & Condiments
Puddings & Desserts
As I’ve probably said before, I do love a recipe that can be used in different ways and whether you fancy a slice of something sweet with a cup of tea, or a deliciously fruity pud with custard, this cake fits the bill perfectly. You don’t even have to feel guilty about indulging in a slice as there’s no butter involved (just a little oil), only minimum sugar and it’s as light as a feather. Plus there are apples in it, so in my book that means it counts as one of your five-a-day!
What makes the cake extra special is that the apples are soaked in Calvados first - don’t be tempted to leave that out as it’s essential to the taste. I’ve tried other alcohol like brandy, whisky, port and sherry instead, but they all lose their kick when the cake is baked - Calvados, however, seems to stands up to the heat and, being apple-based itself, really enhances the flavour.
The recipe makes a fairly slim cake (about the depth of one layer of a Victoria sandwich) and I rather like that - a modest slice is just the right amount of cake for me. But if you wanted to really push the boat out, you could make two cakes and sandwich them with cream whipped with a tablespoon of Calvados. Best not to get behind the wheel of a car afterwards, though!
Just around the time I began experimenting with this recipe, I was sent a parcel of Carr’s flours to try out and I was surprised how much of a difference it makes when you bake with a good-quality flour. It gives the cake batter a noticeably light and airy texture, and there’s an extra depth of flavour to the finished cake.
If the penny hasn’t dropped yet, Carr’s are the people behind the well-known Table Water biscuits. Back in 1836, Jonathan Dodgson Carr started milling flour in Cumbria for his biscuit factory, and he was the first person to recognise the benefits of high-quality Canadian wheat. As a result, Carr’s quickly become one of the largest baking businesses in Britain. The company still mill all their flour themselves, much of it sourced within a few miles of one of their three mills in the UK, and they now pride themselves on combining a traditional craft with modern milling methods.
Not all the flour goes into their biscuits, though - you can buy a whole range of their different flours to use at home too. I just used the plain flour for this cake, but I highly recommend their Malty Seeded Flour for bread too, and their special Sauce Flour is really good. But more on that in another post coming soon… You can buy the flour in Sainsbury’s and also in 7-bag cases online direct from Carr’s at https://carrsflour.co.uk
Peel, core and chop the apples into dice. Put in a small bowl with the Calvados and set aside. Grease a 20cm springform tin.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt, then beat the eggs until foamy. Add the sugar and whisk until thick, pale and creamy. Stir in the vanilla and the oil.
Using a metal dessertspoon, gradually stir the egg mixture into the flour in a figure of eight movement - work gently and quickly so as not to knock too much air. Gently stir in the apple cubes then spoon into the tin and scatter with the almonds.
Bake at 170C for about 25-30 mins until the cake is just firm to the touch. Release the springform clip and leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving (it's good cold too).