If you're looking for a cake that's simple to make, yet has an extra-special flavour, this will fit the bill nicely. The caramel apple topping has just the right balance of tartness and sweetness.
75 g (2 3/4 oz/ 1/3 cup, firmly packed) light brown sugar
3 small granny smith apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
125 g (4 1/2 oz) butter, softened
220 g (7 3/4 oz/1 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
3 eggs, at room temperature
150 g (5 1/2 oz/1 cup) self-raising flour
35 g (1 1/4 oz/1/4 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) milk
Thick (double/heavy) cream, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Grease a round 20 cm (8 inch) cake tin and line with non-stick baking paper. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the base. Put the apples in a bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Arrange the apples over the brown sugar and drizzle over any remaining lemon juice.
2. Use an electric mixer to beat the butter, caster sugar and cinnamon until creamy. Add the vanilla and eggs and beat until well combined. Sift together the self-raising and plain flours. Use a large metal spoon or spatula to gently stir in the flours and milk in 2 separate batches each. Spoon the mixture over the apples and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.
3. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until golden and cooked when tested with a skewer. Stand in the tin for 10 minutes, then place a serving plate over the cake tin and invert to turn out the cake. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with the cream.