Easy Apple Cake

Easy Apple Cake – perfect for early autumn!

This Easy Apple Cake combines sharp cooking apples with toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas. It is a versatile cake which can be eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea but also makes a great pudding, particularly if served warm with cream or ice-cream!

I have a Bramley apple tree in my garden which means that in late August and early September I get a huge over-supply of cooking apples. This is the season for all things apple – Apple Crumble, Apple Pie, Apple Sauce! I also get to work freezing the apples – I peel, core and chop them first – so that they can be used later on in the year. Although this is a bit laborious but I get the benefit later in the year when I have ready-to-use cooking apple chunks in the freezer to make a quick crumble or pie.

Until recently, despite the early autumn apple frenzy, the one thing I didn’t make was Apple Cake. This year, I decided to give it a go and, continuing on the autumnal theme, decided to add hazelnuts and sultanas.

And, if not apples…

I always have renewed enthusiasm for cake baking (and eating) in autumn. There is something about the colder days and the abundance of delicious fruit, that get me back in the baking zone. If you are looking for other great autumn cake recipes, you might like Ginger and Pear Cake, Rum Banana Bread, Earl Grey Cake with Orange or even my Blackberry Muffins.

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Apple Cake

Easy Apple Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 60
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This is a fantastic cake to make during  early autumn which brings together sharp cooking apples, toasted hazelnuts and brandy-soaked sultanas.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g sultanas
  • 1 tablespoon of brandy or apple brandy (or apple juice)
  • 225 g butter
  • 350 g self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 500 g cooking apples (eg Bramley)
  • 100 g of toasted hazelnuts (finely chopped)
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • a little white or brown granulated sugar (optional)

Apple Cake


Instructions

  1. Heat your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the sultanas in a ceramic bowl and add the brandy or apple brandy.  Put in the microwave to heat for a few seconds and then set aside.  The sultanas will plump up as they absorb the alcohol.   If you do not want to use alcohol, you can use apple juice as a substitute.
  3. Grease a 20 cm loose-bottomed cake tin.  If your tin is not non-stick, line the base with a circle of grease-proof paper or baking parchment.
  4. Cut the butter  into small cubes and put it into a large bowl.  Sift in the flour and cinnamon.
  5. Rub the butter into the flour, either by hand or using a food processor, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  6. Peel the cooking apples with a vegetable peeler, remove their cores and roughly chop.   
  7. Add the chopped apple,  plumped-up sultanas, chopped hazelnuts and sugar to the mixture.  Then stir in the eggs.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin.  Place it in the oven for one hour until it is golden and firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin on a cooling rack.  You can sprinkle granulated sugar (white or brown) on the top of the warm cake to give it a crunchy topping.


Keywords: apple cake, apples,

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Blackberry Muffins

Home-made Blackberry Muffin recipe

These Blackberry Muffins are an English seasonal take on a traditional Blueberry Muffin. I love blackberries and thought that they might be a good alternative to blueberries in a muffin. They have a dark, sweet juiciness which is perfect in a light, sweet vanilla-flavoured muffin.

Muffins are very easy to make. It really is a question of mixing all the ingredients together, cooking for 20 minutes, and then enjoying your freshly baked muffins. The key to a good muffin, as well as having a good flavour combination, is to eat it when it is fresh. A warm muffin, just out of the oven, is truly sublime. A two-day old muffin, not so much!

I like to try and keep things seasonal, as much as I can, so I tend to make these Blackberry Muffins in late August and September when I can pick fresh blackberries. However, if I am organised enough, I pick lots of blackberries during the season as they freeze very well and can be used throughout the year. Also, nowadays, you can buy blackberries in most supermarkets.

I tend to serve muffins as a treat with morning coffee. I will sometimes take them into work or, if I’m working from home, will enjoy a solitary muffin and coffee break. Muffins are also great additions to lunchboxes for children or adults as they are fairly robust and don’t disintegrate into crumbs too easily!

Lovely cakes!

If you like these muffins, you may like some of the other cake recipes that I cook regularly. They are so quick and easy to make and you can get really creative with the flavours! On other pages of this blog you can find recipes for Rosemary Cake,  Thyme Cake, Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Blackberry Muffins

Blackberry Muffins

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 large muffins 1x
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: British

Description

Blackberry Muffins are quick and easy to make and are a great way of using this dark, juicy berry!  Eat them fresh out of the oven when they are still warm.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 100 g butter
  • 140 g golden caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125 g blackberries (washed)

Blackberries


Instructions

  1.  Set your oven to 200 C/180F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin.   
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together using a food-processor or hand-held beater.
  4. Add the eggs, yogurt, vanilla essence and milk and stir to combine.
  5. Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold into the mixture.
  6. Gently stir in the blackberries.   Some will get a bit crushed when they are stirred in but this is fine as it spreads the flavour!
  7. Put around two tablespoons of the mixture into each of the lined holes in your muffin tray.
  8. Put the muffin tray into the oven and bake the muffins for 20 minutes.  They will be ready when they are risen and golden on top.
  9. Remove the tins for the oven and allow the muffins to cool for five minutes before removing from the tin.

Blackberry Muffins


Notes

If you don’t have shop-bought liners, you can easily make your own by cutting baking parchment into squares and using a small jar or tin to mould each square into the hole in the tin before adding the mixture.

Blackberry Muffins

Keywords: muffins, blackberries

Recipe shared on “Cook, Blog, Share” by Easy Peasy Foodie and on #Baking Crumbs by Apply to Face Blog and Jo’s Kitchen Larder

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Blackberry Gin

Home-made Blackberry Gin

I have only recently started making Blackberry Gin. Having had some initial success with Elderflower Gin and Rhubarb Gin (which is great for cocktails!) last year, I started to think about other seasonal fruits that I could use to produce delicious home-made gin! I have always been a keen blackberry picker but, in the past, have used them for jam and also cakes, puddings and desserts such as Blackberry Muffins, Blackberry Crumble and Blackberry Fool. However, it occurred to me that they might taste pretty good as a flavouring for gin.

Late August and early September is blackberry season in the Cotswolds. On my daily dog walks, I see the brambles growing rapidly during early summer. By mid-summer, their flowers are turning to fruit. In late summer, within a week or so, they suddenly seem to be covered in hundreds of juicy blackberries. You can, of course, buy blackberries all year round in supermarkets these days. However, there is nothing like picking your own. Even people who would never forage for any other kind of wild produce have memories of going blackberrying. Where I live, it is a pretty popular thing to do. On my relatively short drive to work last week, I saw no less than three groups of people, equipped with plastic containers and thick gloves, picking the blackberries that grow along the roadside.

In the past few years, there has been an increase in the popularity of flavoured gins, including Blackberry Gin, produced by niche producers and selling for a premium in supermarkets.  I think home-made and traditional is best in terms of both flavour and price, so why not try making your own? It is really easy!

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Blackberry Gin recipe

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Blackberry Gin

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 150 ml gin 1x
  • Category: Gin
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Making your own Blackberry Gin is so easy and the end result is a delicious reminder of blackberry season that you can enjoy all year around!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 450 g blackberries
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 150 ml good quality gin

Blackberries


Instructions

  1. Wash the blackberries thoroughly.
  2. Mix the blackberries thoroughly with the sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Spoon the blackberries and sugar into a sterilised jar.  Leave for 24 hours to allow the blackberries to macerate in the sugar and   release their juices.
  4. Add the gin to the jar of blackberries and sugar.  Shake thoroughly to ensure it is mixed.
  5. Leave in a cool, dry, dark place for four weeks.
  6. At the end of that time, the gin is ready to drink!    Strain the gin into sterilised bottles through a muslin cloth held in a funnel and it will keep for approximately six months.


Notes

You can sterilise your jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.       

Although it only takes 15 minutes preparation time, you will need to allow 24 hours for the blackberries to macerate  in the sugar and, once you have added the gin, it will take a further four weeks to allow the flavour to develop.

You can scale this recipe up or down according to how many blackberries you feel like picking!  Add half as much weight in sugar as your weight of blackberries.  The amount of gin in ml should be one third of the weight of blackberries. 

Keywords: blackberries, blackberry, gin, home-made gin, blackberry recipe

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Easy Red Velvet Cake recipe

Easy Red Velvet Cake recipe

This easy Red Velvet Cake recipe is an English version of a very popular American cake. My daughter asked for a Red Velvet Cake for her birthday and, as I had never made one before, I had to do a bit of research! I have to say that I was a bit sceptical – it is a chocolate cake but with relatively small amount of chocolate and a large amount of vanilla – but the end result was delicious. It seemed to be a strange mixture of chocolate and vanilla but the tastes work brilliantly with each other and the vanilla flavour is picked up in the cream cheese icing. So, it is really a vanilla cake with a bit of chocolate rather than a chocolate cake!

My go-to recipe for cakes is generally a basic Victoria Sponge. However, this recipe has encouraged me to be a bit more adventurous in my cake making. Using a combination of butter and oil makes the cake both flavoursome and moist and the buttermilk adds a tangy richness that works well with the cream cheese icing.

A cake and a dessert…

When I served this Red Velvet Cake for my daughter’s birthday, I decided to use it as dessert. It is the kind of versatile cake that works well as either a dessert or as a stand-alone, afternoon tea type cake. I served it with lots of juicy fresh strawberries which complemented the vanilla and chocolate flavour of the sponge and the tangy cream cheese icing. It was a large cake, and we had already had a substantial main course, but it disappeared extremely quickly!

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Red Velvet Cake with Strawberries

Easy Red Velvet Cake recipe

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 8 1x
  • Category: Cakee
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Easy Red Velvet Cake recipe has a strong vanilla flavour combined with a delicate taste of chocolate and is coated with tangy cream cheese icing.


Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 115 g slightly salted butter
  • 400 g soft brown sugar
  • 250 g vegetable oil 
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 250 ml buttermilk
  • red food colouring (gel gives the best colour)
  • 300 g plain flour
  • 50 g corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

For the icing:

  • 450 g cream cheese
  • 110 g unsalted butter
  • 550 g icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

Red Velvet Cake with Strawberries

 

 


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease two 9 inch cake tins and line the base of each with a circle of baking parchment,
  3. Using a food processor, mix the butter and soft brown sugar.  Then add the vegetable oil, egg yolks, vanilla extract, vinegar, buttermilk and red food colouring to the mixture.
  4. Using a sieve, sift in the plain and corn flours, baking soda and cocoa powders.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  Then fold them into the cake mixture.
  6. Put half of the mixture into each greased baking tin and put them in the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  8. Make the icing by beating together the cream cheese, unsalted butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
  9. Use the icing to sandwich together the two cakes and then spread it on the top and sides of the assembled cake.

Red Velvet Cake with Strawberries


Keywords: red velvet, cake

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