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Dorset Apple and Almond Bake

Although ‘springtime treat’ is probably not the first term that comes to mind when one considers an apple cake, this lovely bake does indeed fit the bill, with its fresh and lively flavors. The lemon juice and rind contribute an especially bright note, and the vanilla provides a soft fullness that compliments the tang of the tender apple layer in this not-too-sweet cake. As we await summer’s bounty of stone fruits and berries, this fruity cake is the perfect way to justify a treat . . . in the springtime!

The recipe comes from an advertisement that ran in the May 2013 issue of GoodFood Magazine. Much as we love them, we could not put our hands on Braeburn apples in the moment, so we substituted Pink Lady apples — no need to peel them, either way. Anchor Hocking makes a ceramic baker that is the right size for this (and many other British) recipe(s).

Dorset Apple and Almond Bake

2 large Braeburn apples, cored and thinly sliced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
8 oz. butter, softened
5¼ oz. golden caster sugar (1 cup minus 2 tbs.)
3 ½ oz. light muscovado sugar* (¾ cup lightly spooned)
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups self-rising flour
3½ oz. ground almonds (¾ cup)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tbs. milk
3 tbs. sliced almonds
1 tbs. demerara sugar

Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8” x 11” baking pan and line with parchment. Toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, and milk until smooth. Spread half the mixture into the tin, then scatter over the apple slices, leaving the juice behind in the bowl. Top with the remaining mixture, smoothing over the surface.

Sprinkle with the sliced almonds and demerara sugar, and bake for 50 minutes until golden and the cake springs back when touched. (Cover with foil after 40 minutes or so if the cake begins to brown too much.) Cool for 15 minutes before lifting out onto a wire rack. Slice into 15 pieces and serve.

* If you can’t get light muscovado sugar you may substitute dark brown sugar.

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