27 March 2012

Dorset Apple Cake

Having FINALLY got around to baking the Dorset Apple Cake that I'd been threatening to bake for around a month, I'm really not too sure about the results.

You see, the photograph of the Dorset Apple Cake on the recipe (which was given to me by a friend and I've no idea where it originates from) didn't look even a tiny bit like the cake that I wound up with.

My cake batter appeared to be more of a shortbread biscuit type of mixture - very dry and almost crumbly.  The recipe states "don't worry if the mixture is a bit stiff, keep mixing and it will come together".  Well, I mixed and mixed and added a tiny bit more liquid and it stayed looking a bit like a damp shortbread mixture, so I shrugged my shoulders and used it.

For all that the end result didn't look like its picture, it looked interesting and indeed was very nice to eat.

However, I'd consider it more of a dessert than a "cake" as such.  The cake part of the thing was (not surprisingly) very dense, although with the apple pieces throughout and with apple slices on the top, it avoided being dry.  The lemon zest came through in the cake mixture with a lovely little tang and I saved a few calories by using 40/60 Splenda sugar substitute and caster sugar.  I guess that could be part of the reason why the cake mixture was so dry, as sugar would have dissolved into syrup whereas the Splenda just sort of fizzes.

When served, the slice was just begging for cream, or greek yoghurt, or ice cream or even custard - so we sidetracked a little of the cream meant for the following day's trifle. 

We did eat all but one slice (although not all at once, she hastens to add!) - which got overtaken by other events and when I finally got back to it with intentions of eating it up, discovered a neat little round of mould on one apple slice.  Harumph!  Rats!

Hence, if you're planning on making the cake, I'd recommend not trying to keep it beyond two days - just to be on the safe side.  Ordinarily, of course, we'd have eaten it all up within those two days, but Mother's Day got in the way!

DORSET APPLE CAKE    (serves min. of 8)

Ingredients :

225g self raising flour
25g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
110g butter
110g caster sugar (or 60g sugar plus 2 tbsp Splenda)

zest of 1 lemon
225g peeled, cored and diced cooking apples (weight following preparation)
1 large egg
2 tbsp milk
1 cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced thinly, soaked in lemon juice
2-3 tbsp soft brown sugar.


1.  Pre-heat your oven to 170degC/325degF/Gas 3.

2.  Butter and line an 8" round cake tin with removable base.

3.  Sift flour, cornflour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

4.  Cut the butter into small pieces and rub in, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

5.  Stir in the caster sugar, diced apple and lemon zest.

6.  In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and milk.

7.  Bind the mixture together with the egg/milk mixture.  Don't worry if it is a bit stiff, keep on mixing and it will come together.

8.  Pour into the prepared baking tin and level the surface.

9.  Arrange the apple slices on top, then sprinkle the brown sugar all over to make a crusty glaze.

10.  Bake in the oven for around 35-40 minutes, or until a cocktail stick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

11.  Cool in the tin, then turn out onto a cake plate and serve with a dollop of cream.



  1. Cornflour is guaranteed to add to the shortbready texture, although different apples might have given a better result. Bramleys can be quite dry in apple cake - if you have a friend with an old (very old - Victorianish) apple tree, beg some surplus apples and try again with those.

    1. That's very true, Viv - and the Bramleys I had were quite aged as they'd been waiting to be used for quite some weeks! I can see we'll have to pay a visit to Rosie's former owners at Bere Marsh Farm, where they've got some beautiful old apple trees! :)


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