Somerset in England is well know for it’s apple production, so it’s no surprise that a lot of recipes from the region, both sweet and savoury, feature them. It’s also apple time here in Michigan and due to a nasty storm packing high winds middle of last week we’ve been gifted with a big bag of them from our friends trees. You may recall that we’ve had a lot of rain and a cooler summer this year which has been perfect for all the fruit trees round about, however, it also meant their branches were heavily laden when the storm came into town! So the apples we’ve got are slightly under ripe, as they were from branches that parted company with the tree! It was a case of pick them and use them, or let them rot on the ground. We have an apple in the UK called a Bramley, and I still miss this little fella so much! It’s a cooking apple, not an eater, and as such it’s incredibly tart but it also has a superb flavour. It would make a Granny Smith seem sweet! We use it a lot in the UK for all our pies and apple deserts but there’s nothing like it in the US that I know of. These apples from my friend though, are the closest thing I’ve come across in 18 years to a Bramley and I’m looking forward to making a “proper” apple pie with them.
However, back to the cake! I started by peeling, coring and chopping a bunch of apples and stewing them down with just a couple of tablespoons of water to make the apple sauce. I made way more than I needed for this cake but it’ll come in for something else and it freezes well too.
I used up a few raisins I had in the packet, as well as the sultanas, if you’re wondering what the dark bits are.
Somerset Apple Sauce Cake (American conversions in brackets) :
- 4oz butter (1 stick)
- 8oz soft brown sugar (1 2/3 cups lightly packed)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 6oz unsweetened apple sauce (about 1 cup)
- 8oz SR flour (2 cups of all purpose flour with 3 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt sifted in)
- 4oz sultanas (Scant 1 cup of golden raisins)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp cloves
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the egg in stages. Mix in the applesauce and sultanas (raisins). Sift the flour with the spices (and baking powder and salt if needed) and mix into the batter in batches until fully combined. Recipe says to bake in a greased and lined 8″ square tin, I used a 10″ x 6″ as that’s all I had. Bake in the centre of the oven at 350F/ Gas Mk 4/180C for about 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. I baked mine for 45 minutes as the tin was a different size. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until completely cold.
This is a light but incredibly moist cake with a wonderful fruity and spicy aroma. It doesn’t particularly taste of apples, but it’s the apples making it so moist and keeping it so soft and eatable!! Scrummy, definitely one for the recipe folder.