The perfect tea-time cake; soft, sponge cake dotted with walnuts and sultanas, with a delicious layer of cinnamon apples running through the middle and topped off with crunchy caramelised sugar. Delightful cold for afternoon tea or warm for an autumnal dessert.
I just can’t explain how much I love this cake. I think a lot of it is to do with autumn being my favourite season (just what is there not to love about cold, crisp, sunny mornings and red leaves?!) and this cake feels extremely seasonal; even though the ingredients are around all year round in the UK, the flavours really do taste like autumn on a plate. Sweet but tart apple, fragrant and warming cinnamon, with walnuts scattered throughout it fills your house with wonderful aromas as it bakes – it instantly puts me in the mood for warm, cosy jumpers and wooly socks!
This cake is from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible, and has only been adapted to make it dairy free. It is a delicious, dark sponge with chopped walnuts and sultanas throughout, with the cinnamon apples baked in a layer in the middle of the sponge. The apples keep the cake really moist which is a welcome contrast to crunch from the walnuts. The cinnamon really brings all the flavours together in an autumnal mishmash of goodness!
The cake also uses light muscavado sugar rather than white caster sugar, which lends a very caramel-like flavour to the sponge. Again, it really adds depth of the other warming flavours in the cake, and goes really well with the tart apple. There is also more brown sugar and walnuts on top – which when baked, does caramelise and it gives a delicious, sugary, crunchy topping. Also means this cake is really quick to prepare – no icing needed!
This might be my favourite set of photos… Perhaps I’m swayed by my love of the beautiful autumnal colours, or the fact that it was so fun to go hunting in the New Forest for the supplies! Either way, this cake is wonderful warm or cold served as a tea time treat – or, still warm, served with a spoonful of ice cream for a delicious, warming dessert.
Makes 1 large cake, serves 8 – 10. Takes 20 minutes, plus baking and cooling time.
Recipe from Mary Berry’s Baking Bible.
- 225g dairy free butter
- 225 light muscavado sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra for the topping
- 3 eggs
- 100g chopped walnuts, plus 2 tbsp extra for the topping
- 100g sultanas
- 225g self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 400g cooking apples (I used bramley apples) peeled, cored, and grated
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Optional: Icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan) and line a 23cm tin with grease proof paper.
- Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, sultanas, flour, and baking powder into a large bowl and beat until combined.
- Spoon half the cake batter into the cake tin, then layer the grated apples and ground cinnamon on top.
- Spoon the remaining batter on top of the apples, making it as level as possible, then generously sprinkle on the extra sugar and walnuts.
- Bake in the preheated over for 1 hr 15 – 1 hr 30 or until the cake is risen and dark golden brown.
- Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Dust with icing sugar if wished before serving.