This apple cake, gently spiced and filled with slices of tart apple, reminds me of the apple and cinnamon teacake my mum would make when I was a child (my sister and I would sneak a piece, still warm from the oven). The crunchy almond topping gives it a lovely texture and contrasts nicely with the soft crumb and tender apples. The brown butter adds nuttiness too, all making for a nostalgic and comforting dessert.
150g cold, unsalted butter, diced
150g full-fat sour cream
3 large Granny Smith apples (approx 500g)
1 lemon, juice and zest
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
225g caster sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped, or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
double cream, to serve
For the almond topping
30g raw sugar
30g cold, unsalted butter, diced
50g flaked almonds
1. Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced (195C conventional). Grease a 23cm round, loose-bottomed tin and line it with baking paper. Set aside.
2. To make the almond topping, combine the sugar, butter and almonds together in a small bowl and using your fingers, rub together to form a crumble-like consistency. Set aside.
3. To make the cake, place the butter in a medium saucepan and set over a medium heat. Cook, swirling occasionally, until foaming and nut-brown in colour (about 6-8 minutes). Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool. Whisk the sour cream into the cooled, browned butter and set aside.
4. Peel and core the apples and cut into slices about 2-3mm in thickness. Place in a medium bowl, add the lemon juice and zest, and toss to coat. Set aside.
5. Sift the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
6. Combine the sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until thick and pale. You can do this by hand or using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Add the browned butter and sour cream, and whisk until combined. Add in the dry ingredients and gently fold in until just combined. Finally, fold in the apples, being careful not to over-mix.
7. Spoon into the prepared tin, smooth the batter and top evenly with the almond mixture. Bake for 55-60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
8. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then release it from its tin and serve warm with double cream.
Note: This cake is absolutely delicious served at room temperature and in fact keeps quite well for a few days, but there is something particularly special about serving it warm with lashings of double cream.