Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake- Mercers of Yorkshire Cherry Jam.

Cherry and Coconut Sponge, a twist on an old retro favourite from childhood.

 A couple of years back as family circumstances changed we stopped having our traditional Sunday lunch at lunchtime.  My daughter was out at work and would miss having a Sunday lunch and the chance for us all to sit down over a roast dinner.  So our Sunday meal got moved to the early evening once she was in from work.  Because we were eating late I stopped making a Sunday pudding.  I really miss making a pudding on a Sunday as we don’t usually indulge throughout the week. It just makes it a bit more special.  This last Sunday I really wanted to test out an idea I had for a Cherry and Coconut Sponge cake using some Red Cherry Jam I had picked up at the Good Food Show a couple of weeks back.  It was baked in a bit of a rush though.  I have been running around like a headless chicken this weekend trying to get all my jobs done as it is a busy time for me at work in my day job supply teaching. I don’t want to be ironing or cleaning bathrooms when I’ve got in from work during the week, so I’ve been trying to keep on top of things.

 

Baking this cake gave me a great opportunity to use some special products like my favourite. Sugar and Crumbs icing sugars.
 

It was 2pm and I’d only just got dressed!  That makes me sound like a right lazy slob but if I don’t have to go anywhere I stay and do all my housework in my PJ’s. I ironed, cleaned the bathrooms, hoovered and dusted upstairs and by 2pm I was ready for a cup of tea and a baking session.

To bake the Coconut and Cherry Sponge Cake I adapted Lynn Hill (Founder of The Clandestine Cake Club’s) own recipe from the first Clandestine Cake Club cookbook which was published back in 2013.  This cake was wonderfully retro, the sort you grew up eating or your granny baked.  I don’t remember my Nana Mary (my Mum’s mum) baking it, though I do remember her baking lemon cake and fruit cakes.

I started by greasing and lining two 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins.  Once this was done I then weighed out some softened butter and caster sugar. This was creamed together with my hand held electric whisk.  To this I added three free range eggs, one at a time and then some self raising flour. Lynn’s original recipe calls for using vanilla extract for flavouring, but instead I used a few drops of some natural coconut extract which comes from Lakeland.  To add to the coconut flavour I also added some dessiccated coconut. The mixture was then divided between the two cake tins and put in the oven, preheated to 160oC.  After about 25 minutes when the cakes were risen and sprung back when touched, out they came to cool on the worktop.

While the cakes had been cooking I thought about how I could decorate the cake. Lynn’s original recipe used a butter and cream cheese icing which sounded delicious along with a filling of jam.  I decided to use some of my Mercers of York Cherry jam which is absolutely delicious.  Instead of the butter and cream cheese icing which I couldn’t do anyway as I didn’t have the cream cheese, I whipped up a carton of cream and to this I added some Sugar and Crumbs Natural Flavour Coconut Icing Sugar.  I got this ready and decided to go out for a run.  I’m doing the Couch To 5K app at the moment as I’m entering the Race For Life in June so I’m trying to train when I can.  An hour later, I’m back home feeling a bit tired but ready to decorate the cake.

One top of one cake I spread about 6 tbsp jam and to the other I spread about half the coconut cream mixture. These were then sandwiched together. The rest of the cream was spread on the top of the cake with a dozen glace cherries spaced around the edge. To finish off, I sprinkled desiccated coconut on top of the cake.

 

A blast from the past.. a sponge topped with dessicated coconut. I chose to use cream instead of buttercream for my icing.
  

A coconut flavour sponge, layered with cherry jam and coconut cream.

Even though the cake was meant to be a Sunday dessert treat we were far too full to eat it.  So at the time of typing it is in a box in my fridge waiting to be eaten throughout the course of the week. 

 

A perfect Sunday afternoon treat.
 

Happy Baking.

Love Sam xx

Oreo Rosette Cake

Back in the last week of August I finally was free to go along to one of Wharfedale Clandestine Cake Club’s events.  This was the first time I’d managed to get along, there was always something else happening.  Thankfully being the summer holidays I had more time and I was free to go along being as the event was on a Thursday night.  We met up in Otley and the cake theme for this event was “Go On, Surprise Me”!

I thought of baking a cake which had a pattern inside or was a rainbow cake but I also wanted to bake something I had never baked before.  I scoured my recipe books and fell upon a pretty looking Oreo Cookie Cake with rosette swirls of buttercream in the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.  This recipe is by Helen Costello from St Helen’s Clandestine Cake Club and had originally been baked for an American themed cake event. I had a bag of Oreo cookie pieces in my baking cupboard which I had bought in an American candy shop a couple of days earlier.  The cake had Oreo pieces crushed inside the cake and I thought that the pieces were hidden inside covered up by the rosette buttercream piping.  So the cake would have its surprise after all!

On with the baking.  I started to bake the cake the day before the event by greasing two of my 8″ diameter loose bottomed sandwich tins.  The cake itself was baked by beating butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  The cake used seven egg whites and no yolks so it was great fun separating them.. NOT! After that I added in vanilla extract, some self raising flour and then finally added in some crushed Oreo pieces.

The cakes baked for about 45-50 minutes in my fan oven.

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The Oreo sandwich cakes cooling down on the worktop.

On the morning of the event I made up the vanilla frosting.  I spread some frosting on the top of one of the cakes and sandwiched it to the other one.  Then I coated the top and the sides of the cake.  Unfortunately the frosting quantity wasn’t enough to go round and I only managed to piped the rosettes on the top of the cake.  I was very disappointed with my rustic decorating skills.

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Spreading the vanilla frosting on one of the cakes.
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The two Oreo cookie cakes on top of one another.
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The decorated cake with it’s messy sides.

Once I saw the finished cake I was ashamed and disappointed with my cake wreck.  So unfortunately my surprise ingredient ended up being sprinkled around the bottom of the cake so it would detract away from the messy sides of the cake.  The top ended up with more Oreos being thrown on top of it and then as suggested in the recipe about sprinkling your cake with edible lustre dust.  I did have some gold and silver lustre dust in my cupboard last Christmas but it had all gone so I had to use my lilac edible glitter instead. I was a bit heavy handed with it as you can see!

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View from the top. I don’t know what possessed me to chuck all that edible glitter on the top of it, though!

There were lots of lovely cakes at the event and I enjoyed lots of different surprises.  From sweetie pinata cakes to a chocolate cake containing quinoa, we were well and truly spoilt.  We had some delicious cakey leftovers to take home and I made sure I took some home for my family to enjoy as much as I did.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

 

Amaretto Cream Cake from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.

This was a blog post I started writing at the beginning of January but ended up being sidetracked by other commitments.  I remembered only today, a month later about this bake. So better late than never, I suppose! I’d forgotten about the blog post but not about this yummy cake.  So this what I had started to write a month ago!

Last Sunday I decided to try and use up a pot of cream that was unopened in our fridge from Christmas.  For some reason I’d bought more than we needed.  As we always have a pudding after our Sunday roast, it had to be something which involved double cream.  To me who adores anything full of cream, this was like heaven on earth!

I asked my hubby and children what they would like and they said they liked Victoria Sponge.  I love Victoria Sponges but I wanted to make something a bit different.  Inspiration came from my fabulous Clandestine Cake Club book, which to me was my favourite baking book of 2013.  I’m not just saying this as a CCC Member and former group organiser.  It genuinely, for me was the best baking book I had seen on the shelves in a long time and I still have lots on my list to try out in the coming months!  I chose to bake Carmela Hayes‘ Amaretto Cream Cake which not only features Amaretto liqueur but Amaretti biscuits.  As a cream and an almond lover, this just had to be done!

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A bowlful of naughty but nice Amaretto Cream.

The Amaretto cake was made in a similar way to a Victoria Sponge with the four main ingredients- butter, sugar, self raising flour and eggs. Added to this were some crushed Amaretti biscuits.  I had bought a box of these a couple of months ago when I planned to make the cake and not got round to it.  Judging by my sweet tooth standards and my kids’ reputation for cleaning out the baking cupboard full of treats, I was gobsmacked the biscuits were still there in an unopened packet!

The mixture was soon made up in my KitchenAid mixer and placed into two sandwich tins.  They went into the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Trouble was as I was rushing round I forgot to set my timer going and also didn’t look at the clock to see what time the cakes went in.  I ended up having to guess.  I think the cakes were slightly overdone as they had come away from the tin at the edge.  Oh dear.

Once the cakes had cooled and had been removed from the tin, I spread the Amaretto cream on one of the layers and then sandwiched them together.  It was very tempting to stick my finger in the bowl of cream and have a sneaky taste.

In the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, Carmela’s gorgeous cake is pictured with a cocoa powder star on top. I did not have a cake stencil big enough for the top of my cake so I just got out my sieve.  It didn’t look very professional but it did taste lovely. To me, that is what really matters!

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The finished Amaretto Cream Cake. Sandwiched together with luscious Amaretto whipped cream and finished with a dusting of cocoa powder.
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The inside of the cake. Lots of cream filling inside, just how I like it!
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A slice for Sunday lunch dessert. It was delicious.

Sticky Toffee Cake.

About three weeks ago we had a special family Sunday meal at our house for my Dad and step-mum.  After some gammon which was the smallest joint ever and had to be padded out with pigs in blankets and lots of veg, I had to think of a pudding that everyone would like.

When it’s cold, dark and miserable outside I love nothing more than Sticky Toffee Pudding.  It’s simple to make yet tastes gorgeous and most people I know love eating it.  I wanted to try out the Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook as the photo in the book looked absolutely mouthwatering.  The recipe was created by Jane Edgar who is a member of the  Pudsey and West Leeds Clandestine Cake Club. It also came with a separate toffee sauce which would work really well to cater for everyone’s tastes.  My step mum can’t eat cream which is in the toffee sauce so this was perfect for her.  She could eat the cake without the sauce and have custard if she wanted to instead.

First of all I had to put some chopped, stoned dates into a pan with some milk and water.  These had to cook until all the liquid had been absorbed.
First of all I had to put some chopped, stoned dates into a pan with some milk and water. These had to cook until all the liquid had been absorbed.
Once the liquid had been absorbed, I removed the dates from the heat and added some bicarbonate of soda.
Once the liquid had been absorbed, I removed the dates from the heat and added some bicarbonate of soda.
The bicarbonate of soda fizzed up when it was added to the date mixture.  It was fun to watch this happen!
The bicarbonate of soda fizzed up when it was added to the date mixture. It was fun to watch this happen!
Into my mixer went Pure Soya spread and  soft light brown sugar.  This was creamed together, then eggs were added to the mixture gradually.
Into my mixer went Pure Soya spread and soft light brown sugar. This was creamed together, then eggs were added to the mixture gradually.
Sifting in some flour.
Sifting in some flour.
Folding in the date mixture with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract.
Folding in the date mixture with a teaspoonful of vanilla extract.
The mixture was then spooned into a prepared cake tin.  This was a 20cm round cake tin.
The mixture was then spooned into a prepared cake tin. This was a 20cm round cake tin.
After the cake baked in the oven for about 45 minutes it was left to cool out on the worktop.  It came out a lovely dark golden colour.
After the cake baked in the oven for about 45 minutes it was left to cool out on the worktop. It came out a lovely dark golden colour.
While the cake was cooling I made the toffee sauce.  I heated double cream, brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan.
While the cake was cooling I made the toffee sauce. I heated double cream, brown sugar and butter together in a saucepan.
The cooled cake was put onto my stand and the sauce into a separate jug.  In the recipe book Jane, the recipe creator suggests pouring the sauce all over the top.  I chose to serve it separately so my step-mum could still eat some.
The cooled cake was put onto my stand and the sauce into a separate jug. In the recipe book Jane, the recipe creator suggests pouring the sauce all over the top. I chose to serve it separately so my step-mum could still eat some.
Here is the separate jug of toffee sauce.  I doubled the quantities suggested in the recipe as the toffee sauce would be great with some ice cream for the kids.
Here is the separate jug of toffee sauce. I doubled the quantities suggested in the recipe as the toffee sauce would be great with some ice cream for the kids.
All ready and waiting to be eaten.  Yum yum!
All ready and waiting to be eaten. Yum yum!

The Scrumptious Sticky Toffee Cake really lived up to it’s name.  It was delicious and everyone enjoyed their piece of cake.  We also had some Kelly’s Clotted Cream Ice cream to serve with it which was perfect.  There was even some left over for my hubby to eat after his tea the night after.

Definitely one I will bake again and again as it’s perfect for a Sunday lunch or a dinner party and I found it easy to bake.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cakes

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake (back) and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake (back) and Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

A few weeks back I wanted to use up a tin of pumpkin puree which had been lurking in my baking cupboard. My family don’t like pumpkin pie so I looked through my recipe books and found a few recipes which would help me use this tin.  I had made a Coconut Pumpkin Bar cake from the latest Hummingbird Bakery cookbook before but wanted to try something different.

So, it was raining outside, it was cold and miserable.  The dog had been walked and I wanted to crack on before the kids came home off the school bus.  I found two recipes I liked, the first was a square cake from the fab (and much used in this house) The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, and another from the brilliant latest offering from Lorraine Pascale: A Lighter Way To Bake.  In Lorraine’s book she has a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.  Luckily each recipe used half the tin of pumpkin puree so I had enough to make both recipes!

First up was the whole Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake from the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.  Here’s how it was made:

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Plain flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt were added into a large mixing bowl.
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The recipe called for two different types of sugar: caster sugar and soft dark, brown sugar. I didn’t have any brown sugar so I used golden caster sugar instead.
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In another bowl I started weighing out the dry ingredients for the cupcakes. These were flour, golden caster sugar (no brown spare again), baking powder, ground ginger, mixed spice and cinnamon.
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Here are the “wet” ingredients for the whole cake. I whisked together eggs, sunflower oil and maple syrup. The canned pumpkin mixture was added afterwards and turned it orange!
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On to the “wet” ingredients for the cupcakes, this was melted butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract. After that the canned pumpkin was whisked into the mixture.
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Here are the cupcakes ready to go into the oven. I love using these muffin cases which I bought in a pack from Booths which contained 4 dozen different coloured tulip cases. They look like the ones you see in Starbucks or Costa!
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I’m glad my son was still at school when I was making these cakes. If he had seen the pumpkin puree going into it. The last time he saw pumpkin puree he said it looked like cat sick. He has a point…
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The mixture for the whole cake. All ready to be spooned into a square tin.
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Here is the finished result, the large square cake cut up into slices. There was a cream cheese frosting to go with the recipe which was meant to be spread over the top of the cake. I thought I would pipe swirls on it but this wasn’t a good idea. For a start there wasn’t enough icing and it came out very messy. Finally I sprinkled chopped pecan nuts onto the top of the icing.
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Top view of the whole Thanksgiving Pumpkin Cake.
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Oh, go on then! A sneaky piece with a mid afternoon cuppa. Very nice it was too, a lovely spicy flavour which was just perfect for a cold Autumnal day.
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The cream cheese frosting went on top of the cupcakes. As it was a lighter bake recipe there was a smaller amount of frosting. This suits me down to the ground as I find cupcake frosting far too sweet for my liking even though I make it for others! A pecan half adds the finishing touch.
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Broken open to see what the cake looked like inside, what a lovely colour.
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Ooops! Another one bites the dust!

Overall I was very impressed with the way the two recipes turned out, though my personal favourite has to be the cupcakes.  They were perfect.  They weren’t too sweet but provided me with a cakey fix.  My hubby and kids don’t really like pumpkin so I didn’t tell them that there was pumpkin in the cakes.  They were none the wiser!

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Chocolate Amaretto Cake from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook

Last Monday was the Harrogate Clandestine Cake Club event which was held at The Mitre Inn in Knaresborough.  I had chosen the theme of Boozy Cakes as we were going to be in a pub in the middle of Knaresborough next to the station.  This, funnily enough didn’t bode well with my Sober For October challenge with Macmillan though.  Having said that, there was only two tablespoons of alcohol in the whole of my cake.

I had had a very busy weekend, the Saturday was spent in Liverpool with my Mum and my daughter and my mum was with us the whole weekend.  By the time I got to Sunday night I was feeling dreadful.  I had started off with a sore throat that morning and it had developed into a tickly, niggly cough.  I thought, that was all I needed with a busy week at work and cake club the following day as well as two other nights out!

So, by the time I got round to baking my offering it was about two o’clock on the Monday afternoon, four hours before it was going to be served at the Cake Club. After a lot of chopping and changing I eventually chose to bake a cake that I had really enjoyed eating a slice of at a previous Clandestine Cake Club event where Lynn Hill (The Clandestine Cake Club’s founder) had baked the cake. It is the Dark Chocolate and Amaretto Cake which is featured in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.  Mine turned out totally different to the way Lynn had made it and how it looked like in the book.  I was in a right old rush as I made the cake!

Here’s what happened:

First I melted some butter and put it aside.
First I melted some butter and put it aside.  Putting it aside meant I clean forgot about it! More of that later!
In a large bowl I put in flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
In a large bowl I put in flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
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Mixing baking powder with vanilla extract.

Carmela Hayes’ recipe in the Clandestine Cake Club cookbook calls for “pane degli angeli” which is a special Italian vanilla flavoured raising agent.  If you are unable to get hold of this, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of baking powder mixed in with vanilla extract instead.  I had to do this as I didn’t have chance to look for the pane degli angeli anywhere.

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A whole packet of these delicious Amaretti biscuits were crushed in my food processor.
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Everything is combined together, even the chocolate (which was Green and Blacks 70% cocoa solids)

I got to this stage and thought, this mixture is a bit stiff!  Is it meant to be like that?  It seemed to stick to the wooden spoon and I tried my hardest to tip it into my greased cake tin and spread it evenly.  Never mind, I thought. Let’s hope it’s ok once it’s in the oven.  Off it popped into the oven.  It was then when I saw it!  The bowl of melted butter was still on the side by the microwave!  I’d completely forgotten about it!  I quickly whipped the cake out of the oven, tipped the mixture back into a clean mixing bowl with the melted butter and stirred it in.  I then re-greased the tin as fast as I could and popped the cake back into the oven, while saying a huge prayer.

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The finished Dark Chocolate Amaretto Cake.

When the cake came out of the oven about an hour later it didn’t look very appealing.  The chocolate had melted in to the mixture instead of staying in chunks as it had on the picture.  I had also forgotten to switch my timer on and didn’t note the time it went in the oven as I was rushing.  I just did it on guesswork with a large skewer! To be honest I wasn’t impressed with my effort and I really felt disappointed in myself that I didn’t take more care.  I had no time to make another cake as I had to walk our dog and prepare some dinner for my family before I went out to Cake Club.

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The cake cut up at the Cake Club event.

At Cake Club I took a small piece and so did everyone else. As I cut into the cake it began to crumble whereas the other two cakes there cut perfectly. I was really embarrassed and even though it wasn’t being judged and it isn’t a competition I felt ashamed of it.  The other members still ate it out of kindness though!  I felt the cake was a little bit dry but it had a lovely crunchy effect.  I will definitely make it again when I have more time so I can get the recipe right!  Serves me right for rushing.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Dorset Apple Cake

I’m still catching up on all my blog posts and realised I had made this cake over three weeks ago for the Clandestine Cake Club VCake Event which was called “Regional Cakes”.  As I am originally from Nottinghamshire I wanted to find something that reflected my home county’s heritage.  This was easier said than done.  When I searched on the internet for some Nottinghamshire baking recipes I was very unlucky.  I only found one recipe, which was for Nottingham Goose Fair Gingerbread (which are rather like brandy snaps and certainly would not be allowed at the whole cake only Clandestine Cake Club!

After a good hour searching an idea came to me.  I knew that the Bramley Apple tree originated from Southwell in Nottinghamshire (pronounced Suthall, not South-well). Southwell is slap bang in the middle of the county and is a pretty town with a Minster and a racecourse.  It wasn’t far from where I grew up and I remember as an 8 year old going on a school trip to the Minster as part of a History topic on The Normans. I don’t remember much about the trip all except I bought a pen with my spending money in the Minster and I left it on the coach.  I didn’t get any sympathy from Mr Clarke, our teacher!

Anyway, I thought well I could adapt a recipe I already had using Bramley Apples from Nottinghamshire. It had been my wedding anniversary a couple of days previously and my mum (who lives in Nottingham) was up staying with us for the weekend.  I thought we could have some Apple Cake for our pudding at lunchtime served with some ice cream.  There was a gorgeous sounding recipe that I could use from The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook called Dorset Apple Cake.  The original recipe was by Karen Burns Booth.  Karen said in the recipe introduction that the cake could be baked in a springform round tin or in a rectangular traybake tin.  I chose to bake my version in my Alan Silverwood traybake tin as I just couldn’t find the base of my springform one!

So, here;s how it was made:

I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!
I used three large Bramley Apples given to me!

 

They were chopped up and sliced.
They were chopped up and sliced.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
Butter and sugar was then creamed together with my hand mixer.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
The eggs were added in gradually to try and prevent curdling.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
Self raising flour was folded in to the mixture.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased  traybake tin.
A thin layer of mixture was put into the bottom of my greased traybake tin.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
A layer of sliced apples dusted with cinnamon was added to the traybake.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
After repeating the two previous steps the cake mixture was now used up.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour.  The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The cake was baked in the oven for just about an hour. The apples burnt a bit on top but they had a lovely, caramelised taste to them.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
The Dorset Apple cake was turned out onto a wire rack to cool down.
One slice cut up.
One slice cut up.

The rest of the cake!

The rest of the cake!

The cake was a big success with the adults in our house although my son said he didn’t like it because it had cooked apple in it.  All the more for us then!  I cut the cake up into 16 pieces which were large ones and served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  There was plenty left over for me to take into work in a box the next day to share with my work colleagues.  It went down well as there was none left by the Tuesday!

If any of you reading this do know of any Nottinghamshire baking recipes then please do tell me. I would love to bake more.

Happy Baking!

Love Sam xx

Happy Baking