Buckwheat apple cake with crumble topping

If you are ready to tuck into wintry baking, this is the perfect cake to give you that cozy feeling.
If you are ready to tuck into wintry baking, this is the perfect cake to give you that cozy feeling. Photo: William Meppem

The smell of cinnamon and spices baking with apples and buckwheat fills me with nostalgia and anticipation for the holidays – followed by the immediate realisation that I'm not in Kansas anymore, so to speak. The combination of buckwheat and apple in this cake is classic pairing from Normandy, France, and this cake will leave you understanding why. Serve it warm accompanied by a dollop of creme fraiche with coffee or as dessert.


300g sugar

200g almond meal

200g buckwheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground cloves

¾ tsp sea salt

2 eggs

200ml milk

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

125g melted butter

6 pink lady or other small baking apples, peeled, cored and chopped in chunky pieces (use only 3 or 4 apples if they are medium/large)

Crumble topping

110g plain flour

100g brown sugar

50g castor sugar

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp salt

110g melted butter


1. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan-forced), line a 20-25cm springform cake tin with baking paper, butter it generously and dust with a little flour around the sides to give you extra insurance that it won't stick. Set aside.

2. Mix together the sugar, almond meal, buckwheat flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, milk and vanilla and add the wet ingredients into the dry and stir to combine, then add the melted butter. Whisk until it comes together. Drop in the apples and, using a spatula, mix until they are incorporated and coated in the cake batter.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

4. Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients for the crumble topping then add in the melted butter. Using your fingers delicately combine this mix until it looks like crumbs. Don't smoosh it together. The idea is to make a crumble, not a paste. Sprinkle this mix over the cake batter and place in the oven on a baking tray to bake for about 1 hour or as much as 1 hour and 20 minutes, depending on your oven. 

5. When a cake tester or skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, remove it from the oven and place on a cooling rack. After 5 minutes, run a knife delicately around the sides of cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the springform pan. When the cake is completely cool, carefully pull the base and baking paper from the bottom of the cake and place on a platter to serve.

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