Deep in the midst of summer, as we are, I find that when I want cake I want there to be fruit involved. When the shelves of the supermarkets and grocers are actually filled with local fruit I think it would be such a shame not to take advantage, as this is when the flavours are at their height.
Apple and blackberry is a classic combination. Here, the apple is providing a subtle background sweetness which is pierced by bites of sharp blackberry. The sponge is delicate and moist, with the crumble topping adding the contrasting crunchy texture and a gently warming spice.
Wrap this crumble cake in parchment paper, make a flask of tea, grab a blanket, call a friend and head down to the park for a casual, al fresco afternoon tea. Sounds like a dreamy afternoon to me!
There a few different steps to get through with this cake but they are mostly really straightforward.
It’s a very basic sponge mix, enriched with some brown sugar. The trickiest part (and it’s really not tricky at all) is folding in the berries. They will want to break up on you so only fold the mixture once of twice at this stage.
Pretty patterns with the apple slices!
Apple and Blackberry Crumble Cake
recipe adapted from Cake Days
For the crumble topping:
60g plain flour
30g rolled oats
70g light brown sugar
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
For the sponge:
A squeeze of lemon juice
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
50g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
80ml whole milk
100g blackberries, cut in half
Preheat the oven to 170/325 degrees. Butter and flour a 20cm/8inch cake tin (if you have a spring form cake tin life will be even easier).
Begin by making the crumble topping. Add all the ingredients but the butter in to a bowl and stir to combine. Add in the butter and use your fingers to work it in to the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Peel and core the apples, then slice thinly. Mix the apple slices together with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent them from browning before you bake.
To make the sponge, in a mixer or with an electric whisk, cream together the butter and sugars until they are pale in colour and light in consistency. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add one third of the flour mix into the cake batter and fold in gently. Follow this with one half of the milk, again folding gently. Continue adding alternately, ending with the flour. Finally, carefully fold in the berries using a few motions as possible as they will break apart in the mixture.
Tip the batter in to the prepared cake tin and spread in an even layer. Lay the apple slices on top in two concentric circles. Top the apples with the crumble mixture.
Bake the cake for 35-45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the crumble topping has turned a golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin before removing.
This cake can be enjoyed hot with ice cream or cold with a cup of tea.