Behold the most amazing easy Dorset apple cake that you will find. Just a few simple ingredients this "all-in-one" cake mixes up in about 10 minutes and bakes up to light golden spiced perfection.
Easy Apple Cake
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Ingredients needed for spiced apple cake
- Apples- For this recipe, you want a sweet eating apple like these Jazz apples or something like a Pink Lady. Bramley and other cooking apples aren't well suited to this recipe because they'll break down too much during baking and go mushy.
- Butter- most baking recipes will specify unsalted butter. It just doesn't matter. There isn't enough salt in the butter to make a difference and most people don't keep 2 types of butter in their fridge anyway.
- Caster sugar- If you're in North America granulated sugar is perfectly fine. They are the exact same thing, just that granulated is not as fine as caster.
- Plain flour- You can use self-raising in the same amount, just skip the baking powder
- Baking powder- give a lift and soft fluffy bounce to the sponge. If using self-raising flour, skip the baking powder.
- Cinnamon- Because apples and cinnamon are the classic choice.
- Optional- Demerara sugar for the top of the cake when it comes out of the oven.
Step by step how to make a spiced apple cake
Step 1 & 2- First, peel, core and chop the apples. Toss them with some sugar and cinnamon and set aside while you make the batter. Like pretty much all simple sponge recipes this one starts by creaming the butter and the sugar together. For the creaming method in cake making to be achieved properly, it's really important to start with soft butter at room temperature. If your kitchen is very cold then you can warm up the butter in a microwave for a few seconds. This is best to do with an electric hand whisk.
Add in the eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. Your cake mix may start to curdle a little bit. Don't worry about that even a little bit. The cake batter comes back together as soon as you add in the flour.
Step 3 & 4- Add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. If you're using self-raising flour, then skip the baking powder. Fold it all in gently with a wooden spoon. Spread the cake mix into a lined baking tin. Chop the apples into cubes and toss with some caster sugar and some cinnamon. Once the apples are all coated in cinnamon sugar, spread them evenly over the top of the cake and bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes.
If you're using the demerara sugar then sprinkle a tablespoon of it over the hot apple cake.
What kind of tin should you use to bake an apple spice cake?
I've used a square 9in x 9in pan for this cake, but you can also use a loaf pan or a round pan. What makes this slightly different than a usual Dorset apple cake? The fact that we're not mixing the apples into the batter makes but rather scattering them on top to make sure that they turn soft and golden. It keeps the cake lovely and moist and makes sure that it's easy to slice.
Temperatures for baking sponge cake
This recipe specifies a temperature of 160ºc. It bakes the cake slower (obviously) ensuring that you don't end up with edges that are too dark and an unbaked centre. A higher temperature of 180ºc can make the cake too dark and dry.
Cooling apple cake to make sure it stays moist
With this cake being a simple crumb cake, they can tend to dry out as they cool. The best way to ensure this apple cake stays moist is to cool it in the tin so that it cools very slowly. That way the steam from cooling stays in the cake and turns the fully baked centre into an almost pudding-like texture. Moist, soft and fluffy.
Serving, storing and freezing simple sponge cakes
This cake is perfect for serving simply with a cup of coffee or tea. It's moist enough to serve on its own but it's also perfect warmed up and served with some ice cream or custard for a proper dessert.
It stores well at room temperature, but you could store this cake in the fridge where it will develop an almost pudding-like centre if your cake has been cooled in the tin. It also freezes really well. I would highly recommend that you portion the whole cake and wrap in groups of 2-4 slices and freeze that way. Then defrost any slices you need.
Tools used to make this Dorset Apple Cake
The Best Easy Apple Cake Recipe
- 225 g butter room temperature (salted is perfectly fine)
- 280 g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 350 g plain flour *see notes
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar *see notes
- For the apples
- 3 apples peeled, cored and chopped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160ºc and line a 23cm square baking tin with nonstick baking paper.
- Peel, core and chop the apples. Toss them in a bowl with some sugar and cinnamon and set aside while you make the batter.
- Use an electric hand whisk to cream the butter and sugar until they are very light and fluffy. You’re looking for the consistency of thick mayonnaise with the butter and sugar mix.
- Add in the eggs one at a time mixing after each addition. Your cake mix may start to curdle a little bit. Don't worry about that even a little bit. The cake batter comes back together as soon as you add in the flour.
- Add in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon. If you're using self-raising flour, then skip the baking powder. Fold it all in gently with a wooden spoon. Spread the cake mix into the lined baking tin. Spread the apples evenly over the top of the cake and bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes. *see notes
- If you're using the demerara sugar then sprinkle a tablespoon of it over the hot apple cake.
- If you’re using self raising flour in place of plain flour, then skip the baking powder and use 350g self raising.
- The flour, baking powder (if using) and cinnamon don’t need to be sifted together but you can if your flour is lumpy.
- Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the baked cake rather than before hand so that the sugar doesn’t melt of burn and you maintain the crunch from the sugar.
- How to tell when a cake is done- the cake will be spongey but bounce back when very gently pressed in the centre. Inserting a skewer or toothpick should come out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the skewer is clean, then you will very likely end up with a dried and over baked cake.
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