The simplest most flavoursome cake you’ll make… Let’s get back to baking

apple and cinnamon cake

♥  Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

It has been a year since I started baking and what a year it has been!  I have hugely enjoyed experimenting, baking for family and friends and developing my techniques.  It’s something I thought I would never do.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Since I was young, I have always loved cooking and the improvisation of it.  My favourite dishes would be quick concoctions of whatever was left in the fridge and it didn’t matter about the proportions.  With baking however, I always saw it as such a tedious exercise.  Having to precisely measure and weigh out ingredients felt like taking the raw experimental fun out of creating dishes.  I instead made no-bake cheesecakes and fridge cakes made from cream and biscuits.  And even then, whenever guests came for dinner, I would always cook the food but they would know to bring the sweet (or I’d go pick something up from the supermarket dessert aisle).

I had been in awe of other bakers including my sister-in-law who makes lovely biscuits and cupcakes.  She would send the treats round for me to feast on weekends when I was living in England.  Then there’s my favourite televised baking competition, The Great British Bake Off.  Those amateur bakers creating amazing showstopper cakes and pastries week after week is such a thrill to see!  I would watch the show in admiration but never in a million years thought I would achieve a bake close to anything the contestants would attempt.

After six months of settling in Dubai, my little one had started nursery and I felt an empty void not having my son around in the mornings.  I finally had some time to go through a baking book a visiting family friend had gifted me.  I loved the tempting photographs of pastries and cakes that looked so inviting.  Inviting enough to intrigue me to at least try.

I started with a plain sponge.  Not owning any baking equipment as I never had the use for it, I converted metric measures in the recipe to cup measures.  And when I mean I had no measuring equipment, this meant using an actual mug to measure and not even a specific cup measure.  What I did have was a wooden spoon, a whisk and a tin.

As we all hear, baking is a science; I quickly learnt that most baking can work in ratios.  Using my trusty mug I used the 1:1:1 ratio for cake with the same amount of fat, to sugar, to flour.  Measuring out by eye, I then tried meringue which usually works by doubling the sugar to the amount of egg white.  Everything I produced was actually successful but as by the eye of estimation, not all bakes would turn out exactly the same.  They would rise, cook and taste lovely but be slightly different every time.

The point I’m trying to make here is there is no reason to be scared of baking.

As I baked more and more, I wanted to try out different techniques.  I wanted to try homemade pastry and bread however for these bakes, precision of amounts is definitely required.  Purchasing some weighing scales then became essential.

Bread making

Scales nowadays are amazing.  Not the bag or coin balance scales I used to use at school (am I showing my age?).  But really, I am impressed how easy to use and compact baking tools have become.  Taking that little bit of time to weigh out ingredients is no longer a chore and it completely overrides the joy of preparing the mixtures and placing them in the oven anyway.  So now the rest is history.

I have gone on to try other types of baking and of course still learning as I go.  I get inspired from books, television, visiting food fairs and artisan bakeries.  The nice thing about baking is it is never not a nice thing.  Everyone loves a cake.  Bringing one round to a friend’s home or offering it to visiting family is such a pleasure.  When it is said homemade means made with love, I really believe this.

So I encourage you to get some scales if you don’t already and start baking.  It’s really a great feeling which I can’t explain.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

This little apple and cinnamon cake is a good place to start.  It’s essentially a simple sponge topped with apples for flavour.  No gimmicks here. Just good flavours and good sponge.  I love apple with cinnamon it’s such a delicious combination.  This recipe only involves basic ingredients not even baking powder.

I first started making this cake with chopped apple pieces before realising slicing would create a neater design.  That’s the beauty of this cake, there is no need to decorate after baking.  No frosting, no piping.  The apples are pretty enough.  So you can eat this cake as soon as it’s baked.  No waiting around for it to cool completely.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Have this with family after a weekend lunch or bake it for friends when they come over.  I have now baked this many times and it has become a firm favourite.  I hope you enjoy it too.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Print Recipe
Apple and Cinnamon Cake
  1. Take the eggs and butter from the fridge in advance to bring to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven at 170 degrees Celsius. Grease an 8 inch round cake tin and line with parchment/greaseproof paper to fit the base.
  3. Mix the caster and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
  4. Take one apple, core and slice thinly with the skin on/(off if preferred) and place in a bowl. Add a tablespoon of the sugar mix to the apple, along with a squeeze of lemon juice, the water and half the cinnamon. Mix well and leave aside.
  5. Skin the other apple, core and grate it into a separate dish.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy then gradually add the sugar mix. Whisk for a good 5 minutes until all the sugar has been incorporated and the mixture looks light and fluffy.
  7. Add beaten egg one at a time whilst whisking for at least 2 minutes.
  8. Sift in the flour, salt and remaining cinnamon into the mixture and gently fold using a large spoon. Then fold in the grated apple with a splash of milk. Stir until the mixture becomes consistent but ensure not to over mix.
  9. Sprinkle the granulated sugar onto the base of the cake tin.
  10. Lay the apple slices on top of the sugar to cover the base of the tin overlapping each slice to form a circular design. Then pour over the residual apple syrup which would have formed.
    apple and cinnamon cake
  11. Gently top the apple design with the cake batter and spread with a knife until evenly covered. Bang the tin onto the table to ensure air pockets are released.
    Apple and Cinnamon Cake
  12. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top has browned lightly and is slightly firm to touch.
    Apple and Cinnamon Cake
  13. Leave to cool for 10 minutes and using the blunt side of a knife, scrape round the edges.
  14. Place your serving plate over the cake and tip over to release.
  15. Gently peel off the paper from the top to reveal the apple design.
Recipe Notes

Best eaten whilst warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Using a serrated sharp knife and cutting with a sawing motion will slice the apple topping nicely without pulling off the pieces.

If you liked this recipe, try it out with plums.  They work as well as apple by holding their shape whilst baking and give a beautiful rich colour.  Add a teaspoon of ground ginger and a pinch of ground clove into the cake batter for a complementing spicy flavour.

Spiced plum cake

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7 thoughts on “The simplest most flavoursome cake you’ll make… Let’s get back to baking”

  1. Ahhh one of my favs of yours and one I’ve already made a few times!! So yummy!!! (Oh and those bag/coin scales are still used in school today ?)

    1. Haha! Well that’s good to know! Don’t feel so old now! Yes, this is adapted from the spiced plum cake from Christmas. Glad you’ve enjoyed baking it too xx

  2. Another fabulous read and recipes. Rena, it’s lovely to see you going from strength to strength in this journey. The apple sponge brought back a memory from the past for me – one of my cousins baked a apple and chocolate cake about three decades ago and it was delicious. Would you mind gbaking that and let is know what you think. Just chocolate and apple, no spice or cinnamon. Perhaps use an oil based recipe for the chocolate sponge for added moistness? Asmita

    1. Thank you for the lovely comments. That cake sounds interesting. I have noted it down and will definitely try to recreate your cousin’s famous cake.

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