As I sit writing this you could be mistaken for thinking that summer is here to stay as the sunshine is streaming through the window and there are glimpses of blue sky peeking through the clouds. However this week has certainly had more of an autumnal feel – jumpers have been on, pregrudgingly the heating was put on a couple of evenings ago and the duvet is back on the bed (this I love though as it is so cosy).
I love autumn – the changing colours, the crispness in the air and an excuse to put on cosy clothes are perfect reasons to love the season. I find the autumn to be a more predictable season, British summers are more often than not slightly disappointing but at least once it reaches September and autumn approaches we know what to expect and are rarely disappointed, occasionally we are even surprised by a late ‘Indian summer’.
With an autumnal feel in the air this week and a few days at home with the hubby I decided a bit of baking was in order this weekend. Mr B was treating me to a delicious dinner and I though the least I could do was treat him to his choice of pudding in return. His favourite type of pud usually involves something that includes apples and as I did not have the inclination to make pastry I decided to go for an Autumnal Apple & Cinnamon Crumble Cake.
After a bit of searching online, I found a recipe on the BBC Good Food website for an Apple Crumble Loaf. However, being a bit of a baking maverick, I did not stick religiously to the recipe and made some adaptations of my own. With online recipes I always think it is sensible to take note of what other people think of the recipe and any advice they can offer. As Frances over at Frances Bakes discussed on her blog last week some recipes online are not reliable and, unless you have experience on your side as a baker, you can be left disheartened and disappointed when poor instructions lead to a poor outcome. I therefore always check the ratings a recipe has been given and take a glance at the comments from other people who have used the recipe.
The main advice from multiple comments was to cook it for longer and to increase the spice level. I do consider myself to be a fairly experienced home baker and will generally make a few little tweaks to a recipe if I feel it is necessary, so when I had glanced at the ingredients list I had already decided that 2 teaspoons of spice in a 2lb cake would definitely not be enough. Also the cake only asked for mixed spice but, as many of the other bakers had also noted, cinnamon is a much better partner for apple so with this in mind I doubled the amount of mixed spice and added the same amount of cinnamon to the recipe. I am also not really a fan of adding milk to a recipe unless absolutely needed and so decided to add an extra apple and a banana (for sweetness) to the mix. Finally, for the crumble topping I substituted the suggested chopped hazelnuts for some rolled oats to make a crumble that resembled my Mum’s homemade classic.
The classic crumble topping mix
The recipe came together fairly easily in two easy steps, combining dry ingredients and then adding the wet. With the addition of the extra apple and mashed banana the consistency of the cake was perfect but I could definitely see why it would need the extra 20 mins cooking time as it is a fairly dense but moist mixture. When making the crumble mixture I made the decision to double to amounts as it did not seem enough to cover the cake, however when it came to it an increase by only a half again would have been fine and this is what I will do next time for sure.
Somehow with every recipe designed for a 2lb loaf tin I always seem to be left with a bit over (I think my tins are not quite 2lb perhaps) which suits Mr B perfectly as he always likes to have a taster as soon as possible. This recipe left me with enough to make an additional three muffin sized cakes, however finding I did not have any muffin cases (they seemed to have been eaten by my kitchen cupboard!), I quickly made some make shift cases out of greaseproof. I was unsure of how the cakes would fair in these cases but they actually came out pretty well and unless it’s for a special occasion I might not bother with cases all the time from now on.
The fact that our tasters only took half the time to cook, due to their smaller size, suited Mr B perfectly and we soon enjoyed tucking into them with a cup of freshly brewed tea. The finished cake was really delicious, it had a good rise and the fruit was well distributed (Paul and Mary would be pleased!). The apple and cinnamon combination made it a perfect autumnal bake and the more traditional crumble topping gave it a satisfying feeling of part cake/part pudding which means I think it would be perfect served with custard or ice cream if having it as a pud but just as good with a cup of tea like we did. It’s lightness from the rise and the moistness from the fruit made it really moreish and the only reason there was some left on the day of baking was because Mr B’s delicious dinner filled us up.
A tasty morsel of this yummy autumnal cake – it didn’t last long!
Apple and Cinnamon Crumble Cake
(makes 2lb loaf tin sized cake)
For the cake:
140g butter, cut into small pieces
250g self-raising flour
1 rounded tbsp mixed spice
1 rounded tbsp ground cinnamon
140g light muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (1cm cubes)
For the crumble topping:
1.5 rounded tbsp plain flour
40 light muscovado sugar
1.5 rounded tbsp rolled oats
For the cake:
Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/Gas 3.
Butter and line the bast of a 2lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
Put the flour and spices into a food processor and add the butter – whizz to fine breadcrumbs and then add the sugar (if you do not have a food processor use your fingers to make a fine crumble).
Add the raisins, beaten eggs, apple and banana to the dry ingredients and mix well until everything is evenly combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top.
For the crumble:
Rub the flour, butter and sugar through your fingers to make a rough crumble, then stir in the rolled oats.
Sprinkle evenly over the cake mixture.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 mins, until firm to the touch and a fine skewer in the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 15 mins, then turn out and cool on a wire rack.
This will definitely be a recipe I return to and it met Mr B’s approval for an apple based bake so that’s a winner for me! I am looking forward to more adventures in the kitchen during the Autumn months, I think blackberries might be next on the agenda.
Have you been inspired by the changing seasons and made an Autumnal bake this weekend or do you fancy having a try at this recipe next weekend? Whatever you are baking I’d love to hear about it x