I’ve baked a few apple cakes in my time and I have to say, I think this Dorset apple cake might just be my favourite.
My sister first baked it for me about 10 years ago now when we were both living in England, using a recipe she found in her monthly subscription to UK Delicious Magazine. The cake is both beautifully light yet moist, and the tartness of the apple and lemon carries through nicely but is balanced by the sweetness of the cake and the sprinkling of sugar on top. Ever since my first encounter, this Dorset apple cake has served as my benchmark of apple cakes.
The original recipe calls for Bramley apples, however if you’re not from the UK it’s highly unlikely you’ve come across this variety before. It’s a popular UK variety of cooking apple which are about twice the size of your standard apple varieties and often quite misshapen.
Not only are they great to cook with, but I find the the story of the Bramley apple’s origin quite charming. It is thanks to a young English called Mary, who planted a pip from an apple in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, England in 1809. It is from this single tree which grew in her garden that all Bramley apple trees have been cultivated. What’s more, against all odds (including having been blown over during a storm in 1900), the tree remains standing and bearing fruit to this day, some 200 years later.
Although Bramley apples can be found outside the UK, since I’ve returned to Australia I’ve not had any luck getting my hands on any. However, I’ve found that Granny Smith apples are a great substitute.
I typically serve this cake for morning or afternoon tea, but it is also nice to serve after a meal with a good dollop of extra thick double or clotted cream.
Unfortunately, I think my photos fall short of capturing just how delicious and irresistible this cake is, but trust me when I say this is one cake you should really be sure to try.
I’ve included a recipe card with this post, however it doesn’t deviate significantly from the original recipe which after all this time can still be found on UK Delicious Magazine’s website here.
- 450g cooking apples
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 1 cup caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cups self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ cup ground almonds
- 1 tbsp demerara sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C, and grease and line a 24 cm spring-form cake tin.
- Peel, core and dice the apples into small, 1 cm pieces.
- Place the apple in a medium bowl, drizzle with lemon juice and toss to coat all pieces with juice, then set aside.
- Using an electric mixer on a medium speed, beat the butter and sugar together until it’s light and creamy.
- Add the eggs, one at a time and beat and until combined.
- Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture and fold into the mixture together with the ground almond and lemon zest.
- Drain the juice from the apple and then fold the apple pieces into the cake mixture.
- Transfer the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin, sprinkle the Demerara sugar on top.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until cooked (test with a skewer).
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes, then remove from the cake tin, taking care that the cake does not stick to the sides of the pan.
- Top with a generous dusting of the extra caster sugar prior to serving.