Well, here is post number one of my little blog. Today's topic is baking: baking a Somerset Apple Cider Cake. I decided to bake this cake for a very good friend of mine, who recently achieved something fabulous, and who I thought deserved a treat. As she was popping over today with her little girl, it seemed the perfect opportunity to test out a cake recipe. Tea and cake is the perfect girly chat accompaniment, after all.
I have always been a huge fan of all things appley, but have never been brave enough to attempt my own crumble or, indeed, cake. I think because apple cake is one of my favourite things, I have been too scared to try making it myself in case I fail. However, this recipe in The Great British Book of Baking had the word 'Somerset' in its name. As I am now a Somerset-based goddess-in-training, it seemed rude not to give it a go.
The recipe is a simple one, with no fancy baking terms to put off the trainee goddess. It goes like this:
175g unsalted butter, softned
175g light brown muscavado sugar
3 medium free-range eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
250g self-raising flour
100ml cider (somehow this makes this recipe that bit more tempting!)
About 500g tart apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
You will also need a 23cm springform tin, greased with butter and with the base lined with greaseproof paper.
1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees C/Gas mark 3
2. Beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy (I wasn't sure what this meant, so used my electric whisk until the mixture looked fully combined - I would have described it as "moist and sticky!")
3. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each one (I beat each egg individually with a fork before adding it to the mixture - breaking the yolks first seems to make mixing the egg in a little easier).
4. Sift the flour into the mixture and gently fold in, using a large metal spoon, adding the cider and apples when the flour is only partially mixed.
5. When thoroughly combined, spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
6. Bake in the oven for about an hour, until the cake is golden brown and a cocktail stick (knife in my case) inserted into the centre comes out clean (using my fan oven, an hour was exactly right).
7. Run a round-bladed knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the cake, then unclip the tin. Cool on a wire rack (or eat while warm).
The recipe states that this cake is best eaten within a day of baking. I kept the cake in an airtight tin overnight and served it at 10 o'clock the next morning.
Whilst my cake didn't rise as well in as the one in the book had, it was still absolutely scrummy. I definitely would recommend this recipe if you want a simple-to-make cake with a touch of rustic charm. It was perhaps a little too rustic to be served as a celebration cake, but my friend didn't seem to mind one jot!
PS - this cake is best baked whilst listening to the original Spice Girls album: Spice. (Please excuse the apparent poor taste in music - it just seemed like a day for 90s pop!).