Happy Apple Day! Who knew there was such a day to be celebrated? Apparently the first Apple Day was celebrated in 1990 with an intention to celebrate the variety of things we are in danger of losing, not just apples but also looking at the richness and diversity of ecology, culture and landscape. Very much conincidentally (although I should add this date to my calendar for next year) I made this Apple and custard cake last week with some lovely Bramley apples that our lovely neighbour left on the doorstep for us. It’s weird as I eat apples all year around but for some reason the arrival of the British apples really signifies Autumn to me and the beginning of the colder and darker nights, maybe it’s the thought of apple bobbing and toffee apples who knows.
I must admit I am ready for the cosiness of autumn and winter (I won’t be saying that come January I know). Autumn is perhaps my favourite season, I love the colours and my favourite are those cold, bright crisp days, I try to ignore the rainy, grey ones, unless of course I am snuggled under a blanket watching numerous episodes of Gilmore Girls (just me?). Anyway back to the matter in hand, apples. I do love them in any form to be honest apple tart, crumble, pie, turnovers (I haven’t had one in ages and I am now going to have to go hunt one down), so I knew when we got the apples that a cake would need to be tried and tested.
This cake is full of Autumn flavour with some nutmeg and cinnamon added for extra warmth. I also sprinkled extra Demerara sugar on top for some a nice crunchy crust. This cake can be eaten slightly warm (guilty as charged, I couldn’t wait to try it once it came out the oven, although I would reccomend waiting for it to cool so it’s not too hot). It is equally great cold, I had a slice in my lunchbox this week and it was perfect as a mid afternoon treat. When baking the cake will be quite ‘wet’ with all the apple in there but it will dry out. After the first 40 minutes I covered the cake in tin foil as it does brown but for the last ten minutes I take it off to help dry it out.
Apple & Custard Cake
[adapted from Jane Hornby]
- Approx. 300g Bramley Apples (for me this was 2)
- 1 Lemon, juice only
- 250g Unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
- 190g Custard pot (not the fresh stuff, I used Ambrosia)
- 250g Golden caster sugar
- 4 Large eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, freshly ground
- 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
- 250g Self raising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 50g Ground almonds
- Approx. 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top
Preheat your oven to 180°c fan and grease and line a 20cm round springform tin.
Start by peeling, coring and slicing the apples put them in a bowl and mix with the lemon juice to stop the apples going brown.
In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, caster sugar and 150g of the custard in until creamy. Add the eggs, vanilla and spices and beat again. Mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Finally fold in the ground almonds.
Pour one third of the mixture into your prepared tin then place a layer of apples on top, followed by another third of the cake mix, continue until all the cake mix is used up. Swirl the leftover custard on top. I put a little fan of apples in the centre on top but this isn’t necessary. Before putting it in the oven sprinkle the demerara sugar and place in the oven.
Bake for 40 minutes before covering with foil for a further 20 minutes, if it is still a bit wet in the middle at this point take the foil off and let it dry out for another 5 ten minutes. It is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Once ready take it out the oven and leave it to cool in the tin on a cooling rack.