Macarons & More

Apple Cake

Apple cake

Apple Cake

  • Prep: 01 hour, 00 mins
  • Bake: 55 mins
  • Skill Level: Hard
  • Makes: 12

Method

In the olden days, I worked at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. As part of a job rotation, I trained in Paediatric Surgery for 3 months. Surgery, of any sort, was never my thing. Every Friday morning, the consultants conducted an old fashioned grand round. This involved every surgical doctor walking around the wards and reviewing every surgical patient in the hospital; all together at the same time. These days, the idea of 20-25 doctors turning up at a sick child’s bedside to pontificate is (hopefully) a thing of the past. 

At the end of the round, we had various presentations and further patient discussion. Served during those meetings were the most delicious and enormous apple pies. They were tall and deeply filled with apple. Delicate and thin buttery pastry containing layers and layers of finely sliced apple flavoured with cinnamon. I think they were made by the hospital kitchens. They also made amazing and enormous scones. 

Anyway – if I ever spot a recipe that has lots and lots of apple in it, I am immediately drawn. It will never taste as good as those pies, of course. It was the 90s after all. 

This is adapted from a recipe I spotted on Pinterest whilst looking up Dutch Apple Cake. I’m not sure what makes an apple cake Dutch, so this may or may not be one. Either way, it is outstandingly delicious and looks really impressive when sliced. 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (fan oven). 
  2. Lightly grease a 10-inch springform cake tin with butter.
  3. To make the crust, beat the butter in a stand mixer until it is nice and soft. Add the caster sugar and beat again for one minute.
  4. Add the 240g plain flour to the butter and sugar and beat again until small clumps start to form. You will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times so it all mixes evenly. What you need is a crumbly mix that holds together when squeezed. 
  5. Tip the crust mix into the greased tin and press flat onto the base and to about 4-5cm up the walls of the tin. 
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 16-18 minutes or until it is baked evenly and golden in colour. 
  7. Core and peel the apples. Slice the apple in half top to bottom and cut each half into 3-4mm thick slices. (see top tip below)
  8. Place the apple slices in a large pan with 250ml of water. Cook over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until the apples have just softened. Watch the apples carefully, some varieties break down and become mushy very quickly. 
  9. Drain the apples and allow to cool slightly.
  10. Mix together the 100g of caster sugar and cinnamon and add the cooked apples to coat them in the sugar.
  11. Beat together the eggs and 50g of caster sugar in a stand mixer until pale and fluffy and until the mixture has increased in volume by at least double. Fold through the sour cream.
  12. Place the apples on top of the cooked crust. Try not to press them down too much as you want the egg, sugar and cream mix to seep between the apple layers. Fill the crust with apples leaving a 1cm gap at the top.
  13. Pour the egg and cream mix over the apple, being careful not to go over the walls of the crust.
  14. At this point you may need to trim the crust so you have a nice even top that is in line with the top of the apples and cream mix.
  15. Place all the streusel ingredients in a food processor and blend until you have what looks like a crumble mix. You want lumps no bigger than 5mm in diameter. Sprinkle this mix evenly over the top of the cream and apples.
  16. Place in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until the streusel is an even golden brown.
  17. Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin before removing.
  18. Serve with lightly-whipped double cream or creme fraiche.

Ingredients

Crust

240g Plain Flour

150g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)

100g Caster Sugar


Filling

2 Eggs

50g Caster Sugar

200g Sour Cream

8 Eating Apples

100g Caster Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon


Streusel Topping

130g Plain Flour

100g Light Brown Soft Sugar

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Cinnamon

75g Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)

Tim’s Top Tip

For perfectly sliced apples for cakes like this, or for apple tarts, buy a peeler/corer/slicer. I have this one. It’s my current favourite kitchen gadget. It’s great for turning slightly sad windfall apples into something you can quickly chop the rotten bits out of to eat or bake.

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