Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Gunby Orchard Apple Cake

ahhhh... the whole house smells of baking apples, cinnamon and sugar... it's one of those warm, comforting but distinctly Autumnal smells that every country cottage owner desires and every city dweller imagines that every country cottage smells of... I even have one of those smelly candles called, 'apple cake' I think, which mimics this exact smell... it's truly delightful but edging just ever-so-slightly over into nauseous!

As part of my on-going Gunby Hall baking sessions I have been given a 2 huge crates of apples from last season... they've been stored in the dark, in an 18th Century apple store on layered wooden racks and so whilst they're very clearly on their last legs, they are still packed with flavour and very moist... I love the fact that this is how we would have stored and eaten apples year round back in the 18th Century, rather than the dreadful 21st Century, chemically enhanced / frozen apples we get shipped to this country from as far and wide as New Zealand of all places...!  This is one of those times when the advancement in science and technology just doesn't make sense...

anyway, it leaves me with a glut of apples and little time to do stuff with them... I have pureed a lot of them but many I have baked into a few of these incredible cakes, the recipe for which my mum has kept stashed in her recipe collection for years... I urge you to bake it, it's so easy to make and tastes divine... you will never look back.

Gunby Orchard Apple Cake TM

1lb apples - peeled and diced
6oz Sugar (i used light brown sugar)
6oz softened butter or margarine at room temp
2 eggs - beaten
2 tablespoons milk
9oz self raising flour
a handful of saltanas
1 teaspoon cinnamon

- cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, sprinkle in the cinnamon

- add one egg and whisk it into the batter, then add half the flour and whisk again, repeat with the other egg and the remainder of the flour

- add the milk to slacken the batter slightly.

- fold in the saltanas and the apple chunks

- pour in to a greased and lined caked tin... I used a 9inch square but any shape will work.

- line the top of the cake with finely sliced apple segments and brush with melted honey.

- bake for 45 minutes at 170C

This cake batter works equally well used in muffin cases (obviously the baking time is less) but it also works using stewed fruit (I did it with stewed apples and rhubarb.)

eat and of course, enjoy!


  1. I absolutely love that autumn smell. The cake looks superb Dom. You can be sure I'll be giving this cake a go. Enjoy your evening.

  2. I sent it sweetie, a bit rushed but should be fine. Hope it helps. x

  3. I'm not a big fan of apples, but in this form, they're welcome :)
    This looks great :)

  4. Lucky you, all those lovely apples! This is definitely my sort of cake :)

  5. Its really amazing to think how long the apples kept though. The cake recipe sounds delicious.

  6. I can just about smell it from here! yum!

  7. My parents used to live next to an orchard, now sadly down to 1 tree. They used to store apples over the winter and they always ended up a little crinkly (the apples, not my parents), but the concentrated cidery smell of the aged fruit was lovely and they were fantastic for cooking. Making your apple cake this weekend.

  8. thanks all... it really is a great cake and freezes well too

    @Hester, welcome! I love that cidery smell... ahhh, I still have 5 apples left from the batch and they smell so good, I keep picking them up and sniffing!

  9. It is autumn here (Melbourne) and I am enamoured of apple cakes - I agree that local apples are just so much better and more right - though I do sometimes love the romance of the foreign british apples I can only read about - your stash sounds wonderful

  10. Love apple cake but I wonder if you have ever heard of something called either a Danish or Dutch apple cake . . . it was part pie, part cake, part crumble. Had it when I was a kid and loved it!

    On another note, have you ever heard of English apples (supermarket) being sent to S Africa to be waxed and then returned? I read it in an article a few years ago, but haven't seen anything since.

  11. I never knew people stored apples in the dark back in the old days! These still look pretty good to me... But of course, they look even better in your apple cake. Lovely!

  12. Oh how I love that smell!!! I wish there was such thing as smellavision!! :) The cake looks wonderful.

  13. Speaking of chemically enhanced, have you heard about the current apple being worked on? The apple will not brown. It is not on the market yet, but I have heard reports that tout the fact that, hey!, we can put them in kids' lunches and they won't brown! Yeah! Good Lord, save us.

  14. That apple smell is so powerful, isn't it?!? Love the look of this cake, Dom ... with all those pretty rows of apple slices atop! AND love te photograph of the apples on the cutting board ... great light!

  15. Oh Dom, I've been a way for a while and just catching up on your jealous!!! siiiiiiigh to be even the slightest bit involved in the life of an estate would blow my mind. :) xxx

  16. Hello, oh this looks delicious and from your description I feel as tho I can smell it! I will be making this cake for sure!

    It is amazing to think about food storage options from the 18th to 21st centuries. In many cases we've run amok!

    Here's my link to your cookbook challenge, not sure where you wanted to post it . . . (wipe that smile off your face!)

  17. This is the kind of cake I would opt for at a tea room. Looks so good!

  18. Finally baked this cake yesterday and even though I had to make several adjustments, it was so lovely. Thank you Dom.


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