What is it about apples and cinnamon? Seriously, they have to be one of my favourite combinations. But sometimes you want a little more…how shall I say it…depth. A bit of a nutmeg tinged hit, and maybe some almond just to liven things up a bit. That’s what happened with this cake. It was inspired by Nigella’s Italian Apple Pie from Nigellissima. I’ve made her recipe several times and it is delicious, but I wanted more flavour and spice. Several delicious experiments later, I’m not sure the result is even remotely Italian, but my Spiced Apple and Almond Cake really is delicious.
One thing I love about this cake is how easy it is to make it look good. I’m not terribly talented when it comes to decorating and frosting cakes. However simply slicing some apples with beautiful rosy skins into thin slices and placing them on top of the batter in a roughly circular formation is easy enough, even for me.
Go for the firmest, reddest, rosiest apples you can find, and be generous when sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar. It even looks tasty before it’s cooked!
The very best thing about this Spiced Apple and Almond Cake is how versatile it is. Slice and serve it absolutely plain alongside a cup of good strong tea, or go a la mode with a good vanilla ice cream. Serve it warm with custard for a traditional British ‘pudding’ or spike some whipped cream with a tablespoon or two of Amaretto liqueur and serve it alongside the cake… with a glass of the liqueur too if you like. I think I like it best warm from the oven…just be sure to give it a good half hour to cool down a bit so you can slice it easily.
Leftovers are delicious at room temperature and will keep in a sealed container for a couple of days.
Spiced Apple and Almond Cake
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1¾ cups all purpose (plain) flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground if possible
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 1 sweet apple
- 1 - 2 sweet red skinned apples
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C or 180°C for a fan oven).
- Grease a 9 inch springform or loose-bottomed cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in an electric mixer.
- Beat in the eggs.
- Add the almond extract.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
- Peel, quarter and core the apple. Chop the apple into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture, stirring lightly to mix.
- Fold the flour and apple mixture into the batter.
- Beat in the milk.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top a little.
- Quarter and core the remaining apples (don't peel them) and slice them into thin slices.
- Arrange the apple slices in a circular pattern on the top of the cake.
- Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over top of the apples.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan for fifteen minutes and then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool for at least another 20 to 30 minutes before slicing.