Apple cake: Weird but Wonderful

Note to self: even a weird recipe can yield something mighty tasty. I wanted to bake for a birthday party and was planning on making chocolate cupcakes. However, I’d forgotten to buy chocolate (or, to be more precise, I’d eaten the chocolate I’d bought for baking and didn’t buy new- details, schmetails) and it was so cold outside that a trip to the store was not an option. So I collected the bakeables I did have and figured out I had just about enough for Sarah Raven’s Kentish Apple Cake. (Yes, another Sarah Raven recipe. I tried to stay away, but the siren-call was too strong.)

Sure, the recipe looked a bit weird, what with not creaming the butter and adding the fruit before the eggs. And sure, it did end up giving me a sore arm because the final product is more like sticky clay than like cake batter. But who cares when you end up with a cake that is crispy on the outside, moist on the inside and studded with bits of apple and raisin? I think it almost made the merrymakers forget all about the leather-like meat I served them as a main course, weird recipe or no.

Kentish Apple Cake

Adapted from Sarah Raven’s Kitchen Cookbook

Serves 8-10

225 gr unsalted butter (cold), plus a little for the tin
350 gr self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
110 gr of sultanas or raisins, soaked for an hour or two in water or fruit juice
175 gr caster sugar
75 gr toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped or halved (optional)
450 gr cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped roughly
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 180 C. Grease or line a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Sift flour into large bowl, add cinnamon and salt and mix. Cube butter and add to flour. Use cold fingers to crumble butter and mix with flour until it looks like bread crumbs. Stir in the sultanas, sugar and nuts. Add apple and lemon zest and mix. Lightly beat the eggs and stir them in.

Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about an hour or until firm to the touch. Let cool before removing from tin.

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