When making a cake at home I look for one thing: ease. Nothing puts me off more than fiddly, time-consuming recipes. This might sound strange coming from a professional chef, but we just don't bake cakes that often in our work environment.
150g butter, softened
150g castor sugar plus 2 tbsp
80g self-raising flour
80g rye flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 170C and line a 25 x 12-centimetre loaf tin with baking paper.
Beat the butter and 150 grams of sugar in a bowl with a whisk or electric beater until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.
Sift in the flours, baking powder and ginger and fold through gently with a spoon.
Peel the apples, cut into quarters, remove the core and cut lengthwise into slices about half-a-centimetre-thick.
Pour half the cake mix into the loaf tin and spread half the apple over it. Pour in remaining mix and smooth with a spoon.
Spread remaining apple over the top in an overlapping pattern, then sprinkle the remaining sugar over the apple.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the centre.
When softening butter, I find cutting it into small pieces and giving it two bursts of 10 seconds in the microwave makes it soft but not melted.