With a hint of spice and a nutty, autumnal flavour, this cake made with whole-wheat spelt flour can also serve as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
There are various variations of apple cakes. Some are more like pudding and require plenty of custard when eaten warm. Some are more apple than cake, while others have a toffee-apple flavour, mixing the fruit with caramel and brown sugar for a comforting sweetness. The recipe for today is what I refer to as a good three o’clock cake: it has my perfect cake-to-apple ratio and is just sweet enough to feel like a pick-me-up. The wholemeal spelt wheat gives it a nutty, autumnal vibe, and it’s delicately flavoured with nutmeg.
Apple, spelt and almond cake
15 minutes to prepare
10 minutes of cooking
For the apple sauce
- 4 eating apples: three peeled, cored and roughly chopped into 1-2cm chunks; , the fourth left whole
- Juice of ½ lemon
- For the cake
- 200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 220g wholemeal spelt flour
- 50g ground almonds
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- A handful of flaked almonds
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- Icing sugar, to serve
Grease and line a 23-cm cake pan with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°F fan)/350°F/gas 4.To make the apple sauce, put the two chopped apples and the lemon juice in a pan and cook gently for 10-15 minutes, until soft. Mash with a fork (it doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth) and set aside.
Butter and sugar should be thoroughly blended and light in colour. Stir in the apple sauce after adding each egg one at a time while beating well after each addition.
The flour, almonds, nutmeg, baking powder, and a dash of salt should all be combined in a separate bowl before being incorporated into the butter and apple mixture. After pouring the batter into the prepared pan and smoothing the top, fold in the remaining apple chunks.
Cut the remaining whole apple in half, then core and slice it thinly, leaving the skin on. Arrange the apple slices on top of the batter, overlapping them a little. Sprinkle the flaked almonds and demerara sugar over the top, then bake for 55-60 minutes, or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely, then dust with icing sugar, slice and serve.The remaining apple should be cut in half, then cored and thinly sliced with the skin on. On top of the batter, arrange the apple slices in an overlapping pattern. Bake for 55–60 minutes, or until well-risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean, then top with flaked almonds and demerara sugar. After letting the cake cool completely, dust it with confectioner’s sugar, slice it, and serve.