It’s strange where the path of experimentation can take you in the kitchen. Today’s recipe started as an attempt at recreating a German apple cake my friend’s mother had made. But, as so often happens in our kitchen, its shelves buckling under the weight of ingredients bought in a fit of hunger, things took a different turn. The chunks of marzipan melt as the cake cooks, giving it a chewy crust of caramelised sweetness that’s cut through by the acidic tang of the apples.
This improves with a day or two of rest after baking, although it’s perhaps best kept out of sight, lest you find yourself breaking off little pieces to nibble every time you walk past.
Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
2 granny smith apples (or any other tart variety)
150g unsalted butter, plus 2 tbsp extra for greasing
30g caster sugar
30g brown sugar, plus extra for dusting
2 medium eggs
45g plain flour
60g ground almonds
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
Peel and core the apples, then use a sharp knife to cut one of them into about 20 thin slices. Chop the remaining apple into chunks about 1.5cm across.
Cut the marzipan into similar sized chunks and heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6.
Cream together the butter and sugars until pale, then add the eggs, flour, almonds, baking powder and spices, and beat together to form a smooth batter.
Liberally grease the sides and base of a 24cm round cake tin with butter, then put a disc of greaseproof paper on the bottom. The butter between the paper and tin will stop the paper moving about as you assemble the cake.
Put two tablespoons of the batter into the prepared tin and spread thinly to cover the entire base. Evenly scatter over the marzipan chunks, followed by half the remaining batter. Next, scatter over the apple chunks, pushing them down gently into the batter, and cover with the rest of the batter. Melt two tablespoons of butter and use to coat the apple slices, then arrange them over the top of the cake, followed by a sprinkling of brown sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes, until the cake is a rich, nutty brown and a skewer inserted into the middle emerges clean. Serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
- Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay