Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Apple and raisin cake

autumn garden

Early autumn is a beautiful time of the year. Apple trees in our garden are groaning under the weight of apples. I try to add apples to as many dishes as possible in autumn, plus make jellies and chutneys.
Many of our neighbours have their own fruit in the garden, and you often pass by a big crate of apples or pears (or quinces if you're lucky) outside someone's door, offering free fruit.

Last Sunday when my husband and Eddie went to the church service, I took Sasha out to his favourite cafe and later book shop. While he was browsing the local guides' section, I was looking at the GBBO-themed display of books including a book of Mary Berry's bakes.
The seventh season of GBBO is full on melodrama and tears. I can't say I'm the biggest fan. Last year I haven't watched it at all. Mr Hollywood grates on my nerves. He might be a gift to some women, but I find him unpleasantly arrogant and self-satisfied. And also bloody rude.
I browsed Mary Berry's recipes, when I came across an interesting-sounding bake - an apple cake with cocoa. I have adapted it a bit, and added eggs.

Apple and raisin cake
1 large cooking apple, peeled and sliced thinly
1tsp butter
1tsp bicarb of soda + a squeeze of lemon juice
100g dark muscovado sugar
100g butter, melted and cooled
175g self-raising flour
a pinch of nutmeg
1tsp cinnamon, ground
1tsp cocoa powder
50g raisins, chopped
2 medium eggs
icing sugar for dusting

Start by peeling and slicing a big cooking apple. I used a rather tart variety. Melt 1tsp of butter in a small frying pan, add the sliced apple, and cook stirring with a dash of water until tender. Remove from the heat and let it cool a bit.
In a big bowl mix together cooked apple with the bicarbonate of soda and a good squeeze of lemon juice. I find that lemon juice cuts the sharp metallic taste of soda, mellows it and makes the bake taste better. Whenever the recipe asks for a bicarb of soda, I add lemon juice over it, until it all goes fizzy-fluffy. I can always taste soda in other people's bakes. Even a small amount is quite distinct.
Add the sugar and melted butter to the apples, then flour, spices, cocoa and chopped raisins (if they're small, don't chop them).
Australian apple and raisin cake is made without eggs, but the cake dough looked so dense that I added two just in case.
Ladle the cake batter into the well oiled cake tin, and put in the oven preheated to 180C. Bake for about 40+ minutes. Check readiness with a wooden toothpick.
Take the cake out of the tin, and dust with the icing sugar before cutting and serving.
It is lovely warm, and also the next day.
I was right about the eggs. I'm sure I sound as arrogant as Paul H, if I think I can improve a Mary Berry's recipe. Actually I was not trying to "improve" it, I just think for my taste it would have been too flat and dense otherwise. Sorry, Mary.
It would also benefit from more apples. One apple is not enough, you could hardly find the pieces in the cake. Next time I bake it, I'll use two apples. But the combination of apples and cocoa was really tasty.

apple recipes

autumn garden

Adding this recipe to #KitchenClearout linky run by lovely Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews.

I'm also joining with We Should Cocoa linky run by one and only Choclette at Tin and Thyme.


  1. How fabulous to have people offering up their homegrown fruit for free - I'd jump at the chance if it were here ! I agree with you about Paul Hollywood too ! Lovely looking cake - I wouldn't have thought of pairing apples and cocoa either

    1. It is an unusual combination, but really works. I liked it.

  2. What a lovely idea to give away spare fruit. Sadly our hidden apple trees are being knocked down for houses :( Great looking cake

  3. Yes apples are everywhere.. I wish in central london you could 'pick your own' :) This cake looks delicious, might make it for a party I am going to on saturday!

  4. What a beautiful looking cake Galina. It's got to be apple cake all the way at this time of year. You won't be surprised when I say I've paired chocolate and apple on many an occasion and thought they got on surprisingly well. I'm envious of all your marvellous apples and how I wish I'd stumble across a crate of quinces. Thanks for sharing with We Should Cocoa :)