Recipe: How to make Dorset Apple Cake

PUBLISHED: 12:37 31 July 2020

My Dorset Apple Cake is lightly spiced, dairy free and heavily laced with apple

My Dorset Apple Cake is lightly spiced, dairy free and heavily laced with apple

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International private chef, food writer and Dorset girl Philippa Davis shares her secret recipe to make this West Country classic at home

For hundreds of years Dorset has been rather successful at growing apples. Around autumn time anyone with their own trees usually has more than they know what to do with and so have to get rather creative and cunning at slipping apples into as many dishes as possible. I’m always amused when friends from south Dorset come to visit me in Shaftesbury bearing gift baskets filled with apples. “We know it’s like bring coals to Newcastle,” they say “but we thought you might like to try some different varieties!” Locally cultivated ones include the wonderfully named Buttery Door, Golden Ball and Slack-ma-Girdle. Most of the county’s harvest is destined to go into our famous West Country cider but one of my favourite apple recipes to make for my friends in return for their gift, is Dorset Apple Cake. My Dorset Apple Cake is lightly spiced, dairy free and heavily laced with apple. It will keep well for a couple of days and can be made in batches and the spares frozen.

Dorset Apple Cake

Arrange your oven so you can bake on the lower or middle shelf and place a flat tray on the top shelf - this will help prevent over browning of the top of any cake that takes a while to cook.

Choose any crisp sweet local apples for this cake recipeChoose any crisp sweet local apples for this cake recipe

Makes 8 – 10 slices

170g caster sugar

3 free range or organic eggs

Dorset Apple Cake will keep well for a couple of days and it can be frozenDorset Apple Cake will keep well for a couple of days and it can be frozen

125g plain flour

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Serve warm or cold and in true West Country style with a good dollop of clotted creamServe warm or cold and in true West Country style with a good dollop of clotted cream

1 tsp ground ginger

320g (4) crisp sweet apples, UK varieties like Discovery, Red Pippin or Cox all work well, peeled, cored and thinly chopped into small pieces

1 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ Gas mark 3. Line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

International private chef and food writer Phiilppa Davis Photo Hugh PorterInternational private chef and food writer Phiilppa Davis Photo Hugh Porter

2 Using an electric mixer whisk the eggs and sugar together till pale and thick, this will take about 5 minutes on full speed. Then add the flour, baking powder cinnamon and ginger. Gently give it another brief whisk just to combine all the ingredients.

3 Stir the sliced apples through the batter, reserving a small handful. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and scatter the remaining apple on top.

4 Bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack. 

5 Serve warm or cold and in true West Country style with a good dollop of clotted cream. 

Philippa Davis is an international private chef and food writer. When not travelling you will find her in her kitchen in Dorset. To follow her adventures as she cooks around the world and discovers amazing food markets and local specialties wherever she is working follow her on Instagram or visit her website to read her Postcard Recipes from travels around the world.

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