Gunby Apple Cake
One of the many wonderful things about working at Gunby Hall is being able to walk into the fruit and vegetable gardens and pluck whatever’s ready from the ground and cook with it. Sometimes I will spend a lazy hour meandering through the rows of succulent growth, waiting for the plants to inspire me. I think, ‘Should I go for a turnip and watercress soup… or a golden beetroot cake… or courgette fritters… or gooseberry ice-cream…’ But at other times, when we’ve suddenly had a boost on visitors and Jane in the tea room is screaming for more cake, I will run into the garden, grab the first thing I see and get busy baking!
We have twenty varieties of apple tree here at Gunby and some of the apples are ready, particularly the Beauty of Bath, with which you have literally four seconds once it’s plucked from the tree before it turns bad or, better for cooking, the Golden Lady, which I’ve used here.
This apple cake is simply divine. It’s one of those cakes which is part cake, part pudding and eating it slightly warm is eating it at its best; the recipe is so versatile as the batter mix can be used with any other fruit – simply replace like for like. I’ve made this with all kinds of berries, pears and even rhubarb, which should be lightly poached first.
• In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and sprinkle in the cinnamon.
• Add one egg and whisk it into the batter, then add half the flour and whisk again. Repeat with the other egg and the remainder of the flour.
• Add the milk to slacken the batter slightly.
• Fold in the sultanas and the apple chunks (it may seem like a lot of apples but believe me it works!)
• Pour into a greased and lined caked tin. I used a 9 inch square but any shape will work.
• Line the top of the cake with finely sliced apple segments and brush with melted Lincolnshire honey.
• Bake for 45 minutes at 170C.
Eat and, of course, enjoy!