Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Apples and Baking

This post is to get me in the mood for 'The Great British Bake Off' starting on television again tomorrow! To be honest, it's not something that I've watched at all in previous years, but:
  • so many of my friends have loved it and are practically jumping up and down with excitement that it's returning.
  • I don't remember the last time I watched anything on tv.
  • I have some hand sewing that needs doing and I always find sitting in front of the tv is good for hand sewing.
  • Sam has decided that he's going to watch it and is really looking forward to it.
So this year I've decided I'm going to give it a go too.

And we've been gathering seasonal fruits recently that are also perfect for baking, so the timing is obviously meant to be. 

We've had just a few ripe blackberries from the garden over the last week but on our walk back from a beach at the weekend we came across masses of ripe blackberries. Plenty enough to satisfy 4 hungry children on the spot (and that's a lot of blackberries in itself!) and also to fill a bucket (thankfully reasonably clean and sand free!) to bring home. 

Combined with the early fallers we're gathering daily from our bramley apple tree...

They turned into the first pie of the season...

And then today Sam decided that the apples needed to become an Apple Cake. So I thought I'd share our favourite Apple Cake recipe with you. I'm not sure where it came from originally, but it has been well tweaked by us over time, as recipes often are here!

Apple Cake
250g butter
450g bramley apples (there's always great debate in our house as to whether this means 450g of whole apples which you then core and peel, or 450g of already prepared and chopped apples - since we love apple-i-ness we go with the latter!)
250g sugar
3 large eggs
150g self raising flour
2 tbsp baking powder
200g ground almonds
1tbsp brown sugar and flaked almonds for the top if desired.

Cream together the sugar and butter, add eggs, flour, ground almonds and baking powder and combine well. Peel, core and chop the apples into small pieces then add to the mixture. (Don't worry too much that the apples will 'brown' as you prepare them, the original recipe called for the juice of a lemon to prevent this, and it made a lovely cake if you wanted a lemony apple cake, but since we like the apple to come through better we skipped the lemon and increased the almonds over time. Once it's cooked the apple seems to look pretty much the same anyway.)
Spoon into a greased and lined tin, sprinkle with the brown sugar and flaked almonds , and cook at 180 celsius or 350 fahrenheit for approx an hour.

Here's ours as it came out of the oven. I thought I'd better take a photo in the tin in case it all fell apart as I got it out!

We didn't have any flaked almonds today, Sam decided he'd grate a bit of marzipan on instead - and it worked well.

I hardly left it to cool in the tin at all since Sam was nagging me to let him eat it, and then it came out almost in one piece, but it was a close run thing!

It tastes much better than it looks in my photos, good job I'm not a food blogger!
 We like it best hot with vanilla ice cream, but it is good cold too.

We always find this cake is lovely and moist and appley, without being too sweet. How about you, do you have any favourite apple recipes? Sweet or savoury, but we are particularly on the look out for savoury ones - home made pork and apple burgers are planned (by Sam again!) for later in the week, but other than that our apple cooking tends to be all sweet. Any recommendations?

And if you are jumping up and down with excitement at the return of the 'Bake Off', then I hope you have a lovely peaceful hour to watch and enjoy it tomorrow night!



  1. Oh my goodness, lots of baking goodness in your home...I am on my way over :) Reece and I checked in on the wild blackberries today in our area, they still need at least another week, maybe two before they are ready, but there is a lot of them. Can't wait!

    Enjoy the "Bake Off".

  2. I bet it smells wonderful at your house. I love the aroma of baking apples. I checked the blackberries about a week ago. It's going to be a while before they're ripe. The last of the raspberries are finishing up and the blueberries are ripe. I need to watch a bake off to get new ideas for what to do with all this fresh fruit! Enjoy!

  3. Apple's already...wow! Your baked treats look delicious; I can almost taste and smell them.:)
    I love the first photo of your little ones picking berries.

  4. Mmm that looks delicious! I'll admit I'm really looking forward to the return of Bake Off - I didn't watch the first series but I've been hooked ever since - I like trying out the technical challenges too!

  5. This apple cake looks so yummy! I miss the Sewing Bee, I think we all do here in the states!

  6. Your home must smell so good! We are still waiting for the first apples here. Soon...
    That picture of your daughter with her face full of blackberries is wonderful!
    Hope your show is all you want it to be... xo

  7. Oh that looks really delicious. Must try!!!

  8. Excuse me as I clean drool off my chin. That pie has the most gorgeous looking crust.....and the cake....well, that's the one that got me drooling. Thanks for the recipe. I love to bake so I'll have to give it a try.


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