So apparently it’s now autumn. There’s been an abrupt swing from breezy warm afternoons to window-rattling winds and mornings that seem far too cold for mid September, prompting an exponential increase in the chat about the weather (yup, I know I’m not helping the situation). No doubt in a couple of month’s time we’ll be mocking calling the current weather ‘cold’, but for now it seems too far removed from the sunshine of August to only be four weeks further through the year. Luckily though I’m going on holiday for a couple of weeks this coming Sunday when I jet of too New York (please don’t hate me too much) and according to the BBC it’s about 25ºC there. Win.
Before that though there’s a little bit of autumn to go, which requires a little autumnal pick-me-up bake. The perfect excuse for me to get the cinnamon out of the cupboard and start putting it in everything again. It’s a bit of an obsession I have – consider yourself warned.
I wasn’t sure whether I was going to have any time to enter this month’s Random Recipe Challenge (hosted by Dom over at Belleau Kitchen), but when last Sunday turned nasty and I opted not to get soaked by going to the gym, I ended up – shock horror – in the kitchen. After a totally unnecessary, but delicious brunch I decided that it had been far too long since I’d baked. The perfect Sunday treat. So off for random cookbook from the shelf it was (number 35, so I had to go round a few times). The book I landed on is probably cheating, but I liked the recipe, so I’m going for it anyway. It’s not a cookbook, per se, but rather a notebook full of recipes I’ve picked up over time. The page I opened it at was for a steak pie (not really what I was looking for), but the one after that was for an apple and cinnamon cake. It had autumn and delicious written all over it.
Unfortunately I have absolutely no idea where this recipe comes from – potentially my grandparents, maybe my mum – but it’s an absolutely fantastic treat for a Sunday afternoon (it didn’t last far beyond), and to make it into a dessert you could easily just serve warm with cream or ice cream. We’re also – apparently – heading for a bumper crop of apples this year, so it’s a great way of using up those stray apples that end up at the back of the fridge.
This is actually one of the best cakes I’ve made in a while – despite its lack of film star looks – and definitely one I’d suggest you try. I’ll be away the next few weeks (I’ve been bouncing around like a toddler the last couple of weeks, I think everyone I know is bored of my holiday chat), but when I’m back there will no doubt be more apple-based treats to come. Many involving cinnamon and no doubt the odd ginger one too. Happy baking!
Apple & Cinnamon Cake
This recipe came from a collection of recipes I’ve picked up from places over the years – sadly I’ve no idea where it came from, although it has family recipe written all over it so I don’t think it’s breaching any copyright restrictions. It serves five as a dessert, or more if you’re just having a slice of cake – depending on how large a slice you cut!
2 large apples (I used braeburns)
1.5 tsp of cinnamon
120g golden caster sugar
100g self raising flour
2 tbsp water
Preheat the oven to about 180ºC. Peel and core your apples, then slice them into slices about half a centimetre thick. Lay them into the base of a small loaf tin and pour in the cinnamon and 20g of the golden caster sugar. Shake the tin side to side so that the apple pieces are coated in the sugar and cinnamon, then put the tin in the oven for ten minutes to bake. After ten minutes pour the water in and shake the tin again. Place it back in the oven for a further five minutes for the baking/caramelising.
In a bowl, cream the butter and remaining sugar together until it is smooth, then add in the flour and eggs. Beat the cake batter until it is a light colour and is full of air. If it is thick add a drop or two of milk so it will spread easily on top of the apples.
Take the tin out of the oven and shake the tin to loosen up the apples a little. Pour the cake batter on top and shake it a little more to ensure that the batter is evenly distributed. Place it back in the oven for a further 15 minutes, or until the cake is risen, golden and springy to the touch.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before tipping out on to a serving plate (it might need a little encouragement to come out of the tin – if so, tap the top gently). Slice and serve warm with cream or ice cream, or allow to cool and eat as a cake.