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.

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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.

Easy Apple Cake recipe

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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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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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Lavender Cake

Easy Lavender Loaf Cake

Just the name, Lavender Cake, makes me think about an English summer garden. I love the calming floral fragrance of fresh lavender, which is held in both the flowers and the leaves. I also think it looks beautiful with green-grey leaves and deep blue, purple or white flowers.

If you grow lavender in your garden, this is a cake to make in high summer, late June through to August when it is at its best. Make sure that it hasn’t been treated with any pesticides or other chemicals before you use it in your cooking! If you don’t grow your own lavender, you can use culinary lavender which is available from some supermarkets and also online.

Like many of the cakes that I make, this Lavender Cake is a variation on a simple loaf cake recipe. Lavender and lemon has become a popular flavour combination in cakes and desserts. For this recipe, I combined lavender with orange, which adds a similar zesty citrus flavour. It occurred to me when I had made this cake that lavender and orange are both included in the classic Herbes de Provence herb mix from the South of France which is used in savoury dishes.

So many lavender recipes….

I use lavender mainly in sweet recipes. I make Lavender Ice Cream, which is creamy and floral and fantastic at the end of a summer dinner party. If you want to give someone a summer treat, you could do worse than make them a lavender-themed Afternoon Tea with Lavender Shortbread Biscuits and Lavender Scones. I sometimes make a Honey Cream Tea, combining Cream and Honey with the Lavender Scones, which is a great twist on an English teatime tradition. If you have a lot of fresh lavender in your garden, you can capture the flavour by making Lavender Sugar which you can use as a baking ingredient.

….and so many cake recipes!

If you like this cake, you may like some of the other loaf 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 CakeThyme Cake, Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Lavender Cake

Lavender Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Scale

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
  • 125 g butter
  • 175 g Lavender Sugar (use caster sugar if you do not have Lavender Sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 orange

For the icing:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh or half a tablespoon of dried culinary lavender
  • 100 g icing sugar


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Put the milk into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender.  Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool.   Heating the milk allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
  3. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  4. Cream the butter with the Lavender Sugar or caster sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  5. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour.
  6. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  7. Add the lavender-infused milk and the grated zest of your orange.
  8. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, squeeze the juice from your orange into a small bowl and add the fresh or dried culinary lavender.  Heat to scalding point and then set aside to cool.   Heating the juice allows it to take on the flavour of the lavender.
  11. When your cake is done.  Remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. 
  12. When the cake is completely cool.  Combine the lavender-infused orange juice with the icing sugar and then pour over the cake.

Keywords: lavender, cake, loaf cake

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Thyme Cake

Thyme Cake – a brilliant twist on a plain loaf cake

This Thyme Cake is a basic lemon loaf cake to which is added the wonderful flavour of fresh thyme. As the name of my blog probably suggests, I love using herbs and spices in my cooking. They are a fantastic way of making your dishes unusual and memorable without having to use any particularly advanced culinary skills. You simply just add them into your dishes.

Fresh herbs are used widely in savoury dishes but I love to experiment with them in sweet dishes, such as cakes, biscuits and desserts. The recipe for this Thyme Cake was inspired by the success of another herb-infused cake, my Rosemary Cake.

I love thyme, it is one of my favourite herbs and I use it widely in savoury dishes such as Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon and Thyme and Dauphinoise Potatoes. I have also already used it in sweet dishes such as Thyme Biscuits with Pinenuts and in Thyme Ice Cream with Honey and Mascarpone. It seemed a natural progression to try it in a cake.

This Thyme Cake, like my other loaf cake recipes, is very quick and easy. It is a basic lemon loaf cake, topped with drizzle, but the flavour is transformed by the addition of fresh thyme. The taste of lemon and thyme makes me think about Mediterranean holidays and sunshine!

If you like this cake, you may like some of the other loaf 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, Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Thyme Cake with Lemon

Thyme Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This easy loaf cake highlights the wonderful herby fragrance of fresh thyme.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 lemon
  • Approximately ten sprigs of fresh thyme (each about 5 cm long) plus a few additional sprigs to decorate, if required.
  • 100 g icing sugar

 


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or use a paper loaf tin liner.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  4. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour. 
  5. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  6. Add the milk and the grated zest of your lemon.
  7. Remove the leaves from your sprigs of thyme and chop finely.  Put half of the chopped leaves (about 2 teaspoons) into the cake mixture.  The other half should be reserved for use in the drizzle.
  8. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, put the juice from your lemon in a small bowl  and add the reserved half of the chopped thyme leaves.   Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. The idea is to heat the juice so that the thyme releases its fragrance.  (If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat the juice in a saucepan over a low heat on the stove.)    Allow the juice containing the chopped thyme leaves to cool slightly.  Then combine it with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
  12. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing.   If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
  13. You can decorate the cake with a few further sprigs of thyme.

Keywords: thyme, loaf cake, thyme cake, culinary herbs

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Rosemary Cake

Rosemary Cake with Lemon

I love using herbs in both savoury and sweet recipes. This Rosemary Cake with Lemon is a great demonstration of how the addition of a herb can elevate a very easy and simple recipe. It is unusual but not in a scary way. The flavour of the rosemary is not overpowering but enhances the lemon-flavoured cake. I think it is a fantastic way of showcasing the flavour of this wonderful herb, with its warm, spicy flavour.

This Rosemary Cake is one of many loaf 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 Earl Grey and Orange Cake,Lemon DrizzleBlood OrangeLime and CoconutRum and Banana and Ginger and Pear.

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Rosemary Cake with Lemon

Rosemary Cake

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 1 loaf cake 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

The use of fresh rosemary provides and unusual and delicious twist to this easy lemon-flavoured cake.

 


Scale

Ingredients

  • 125 g butter
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary (each about 10 cm long) plus a few additional sprigs to decorate, if required.
  • 100 g icing sugar

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 degrees centigrade or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Grease a 450 g loaf tin and line the bottom with baking parchment or use a paper loaf tin liner.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar.  (I usually soften the butter for about 30 seconds in the microwave first as it makes it much easier!)
  4. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.  If it looks as if it is going to curdle, add some of the self-raising flour. 
  5. Once the eggs have been incorporated add the rest of the self-raising flour.
  6. Add the milk and the grated zest of your lemon.
  7. Remove the needle-like leaves from your sprigs of rosemary and chop finely.  Put half of the chopped leaves (about 2 teaspoons) into the cake mixture.  The other half should be reserved for use in the drizzle.
  8. Spoon the cake mixture into your prepared loaf tin.
  9. Put the tin in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  10. While the cake is baking, put the juice from your lemon in a small bowl  and add the reserved half of the chopped rosemary leaves.   Heat in the microwave for 1 minute. The idea is to heat the juice so that the rosemary releases its fragrance.  (If you don’t have a microwave, you can heat the juice in a saucepan over a low heat on the stove.)    Allow the juice containing the chopped rosemary leaves to cool slightly.  Then combine it with 100 g of icing sugar to form a thick syrup.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately pour the syrup over the top.
  12. Leave the cake in the tin to cool completely before removing.   If you try and take it out while it is still warm it may fall apart as it will be very moist due to the syrup.
  13. You can decorate the cake with a few further sprigs of rosemary.

Keywords: lemon cake, rosemary cake, loaf cake

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