apple cake, imageThis is a very popular variation of Dorset apple cake, the traditional signature dish of the county. This apple cake recipe is made in three layers, with a sweet crunchy topping that contrasts beautifully with the tartness of the apple and the comforting richness of the sticky sponge base. If you make this dish with stored apples in late winter or spring, then add a little more spice and a little less sugar.

For the base
6 oz (150g) self raising flour
4 oz (100g) butter or margarine
4 oz (100g) Caster sugar
2 medium or large eggs – depending on how rich you want it
A pinch of salt
A splash of milk.

For the middle
3 cooking apples – peeled, cored and cut into smallish chunks
a handful of raisins (optional)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

For the Crumble Topping
6 oz (150g) self raising flour
3 oz (75g) butter, or margarine if you must, but NOT low-fat
3 oz (75g) Caster sugar

Rub together the Crumble top ingredients until you have a rough crumb mix, then stop. Don’t try to get it looking too fine, or the crumble mix will be hard and uninteresting. Try adding a handful of rolled oats or chopped hazelnuts for a different texture.

Mix all the base ingredients together in a bowl and beat well adding just enough milk to get a thick consistency. Pour into a lined cake tin of approx 8 inch (20 cm) diameter.

Dust the apple pieces with the cinnamon then drop them onto the mix as evenly as you can (you don’t need to press them in), then sprinkle the crumble mix over the apples as evenly as possible. Again, don’t pat it down. Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over the top.

Place the cake in the middle of a pre-heated oven at Gas mark 4 (that’s about 180°C, 350°F) for about thirty minutes. The cooking time depends on the moisture content of the apples and the size of the eggs, so check it by pushing a skewer into the middle. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If it has mix residue on it, give it another five to ten minutes and check again – and again – until cooked.

Dorset apple cake is best served warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

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