I have been making this apple cake since the 70s or 80s, resorting to the remaining scrap of the original recipe (see below) which came from a magazine, but then it appeared as Sarah Raven’s ‘favourite apple cake’ in Gardeners’ World last year so I now have a fresher snippet of paper! She adds toasted hazelnuts and lemon zest, which the original didn’t, as it is lovely enough without them. The moistness can depend on how small you cut the apples or if you have used apples from the freezer (which I would do if I didn’t make it in the autumn). It’s also yummy (warm or cold) with custard or cream or whatever you like on your puddings.
350g (12oz) self-raising flour
225g (8oz) butter
110g (4oz) sultanas or raisins
175g (6oz) caster sugar
(75g (3oz) toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped) – optional
500g (1lb) cooking apples
(zest of lemon) – optional
3 large(ish) eggs
1. Grease or line a 20cm (8″) loose bottom tin
2. Pulse flour, cinnamon and butter in a food processor until like fine breadcrumbs.
3. Put in a bowl and stir in sugar, sultanas/raisins and nuts (if using)
4. Peel core and chop apples roughly (or pulse in food processor) and add to bowl
Lightly whisk eggs and stir into bowl with lemon zest (if using) – do not beat.
5. Spoon into tin and bake in moderate oven at 180˚C (350F˚), gas mark 4 or the baking oven of an Aga for about 1 – 1¼ hours or until firm to touch, covering with foil if becoming too brown.
6. Dredge with sugar and cool in tin.