I know it's not unusual to find you have an over-supply of apples in the autumn, but I was a bit fed up with the usual suspects in terms of what to do with them.
My solution was to combine two of my favourite apple products into one slice of deliciousness.
Stand-by for a simple to make and tasty Spiced Apple and Cider cake.
This (or a form of it) dates back to the year dot in Somerset where some of the cider pulp was used instead of spare apples but it's easy to improvise.
If you give making it a go then make sure you use a cooking apple such as a Bramley or a firm dessert apple such as Gala, Royal Gala or Braeburn. In my view softer non crunchy apples don't work so well here. You want something that has a bit of body about it.
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 180 degrees celsius.
Start by chopping 1 small Bramley (these were 3 small Royal Gala apples) either in a processor or by hand until they are chopped fine but they don't need to be super even or pulped, you want some body. Thing rustic chunks no bigger that your finger nail in size.
Add 75g of raisins to the apple and soak in 150ml of dry cider.
In a bowl sift 225g of self raising flour with a level tea spoon of baking powder half a teaspoon of ground cinammon, quarter tea spoon of uutmeg and ground clover. (If you'd rather you could just go with mixed spice). Then add 2 large beaten eggs, 150g of softened butter and 150g of soft brown sugar (you can make it with dark brown and it's a bit more like spiced toffee apple and cider).
Mix with a food mixer for about a minute until you have a fairly stiff but creamy consistency.
Then fold the apples raisins and cider into the mix until you have a well folded loosened batter. Put in a 20cm greased and lined sandwich tin and flatten down with the back of a spoon to give a smoothish surface.
Now for a topping. Mix 25g of softened butter, 25g of self raising flour, 50g of light brown sugar and half a teaspoon of mixed spice and rub in together until you get a rough breadcrumb add 25 g of nibbed, flaked or ground almonds. Spread the breadcrumb mix evenly across the surface of the tin on top of the levelled batter. (If you have more of a paste than breadcrumbs don't dispair. You can rough cover with flattened rounds of the paste across the surface of the batter getting as even a distribution as you can.
Then fine slice an apple and cover the topping. Again, it doesn't need to be precise, overly fancy or super neat. Mine was rustic run through a food processor on 2mm cut so precise thin which is what you're aiming for.
Place the tin in the centre of the pre-heated oven and cook for between 1 hour 20 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes. The batter and topping should rise through and around the sliced apple . The cake is done when a skewer test comes our clean in/near the centre. The cake should be starting to pull away from the sides of the tin.
I finished mine off for the last 10 minutes with a piece of foil covering the top to prevent further browning but allow the centre to firm up to the level I wanted.
Once the cake has been removed, allow it to cool on a wire tray before cutting. This is more of a dessert cake and would go well with either creme fraiche or ice cream ... or custard, or Calvados or ... well you get the idea.
Finally when it's cooled sufficiently dust with an amount of icing sugar as everything always looks better dusted in icing sugar.
If you do make it, please let me know how you get on and I hope you enjoy this autumn/winter seasonal cake.