Every now and then, I have to make a cake.
The urge often strikes at this time of year, with the indulgence of Christmas a fading memory and no sign of the rotten weather passing soon. This cake provides a hint of what’s to come, using last autumn’s fruit.
Line the bottom of a 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper and heat the oven to 160c.
Weigh 220g of soft butter and 210g of light muscavado sugar and beat them together until smooth and pale. An electric whisk will make short work of this.
Slowly add four beaten eggs to the butter and sugar, stirring all the time. If the mixture splits, add a spoonful of flour and keep mixing.
Fold in 250g of sifted wholemeal flour, along with a heaped teaspoon of baking powder and half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
Chop 200g of peeled and cored apples into chunks no more than a centimetre square. Add 100g of sultanas to the apple and mix in 125g of marmalade and the grated zest of an orange.
Scrape the fruit into the batter and gently fold in.
Tip the mixture into the cake tin and sprinkle the top with demerara sugar.
Bake for an hour and fifteen minutes, and leave to cool completely before serving.
The cake is thick with the taste of orange and the sweet smack of apple. There’s a wholesomeness about the texture, from the flour, which might even convince you that it’s healthy.
This recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Observer column on the 14th February this year.