You can tell I’m feeling stretched when I start making simple rustic cakes like this spiced apple loaf. Although it doesn’t look much, the apple and yoghurt keep it nice and moist, it’s not too sweet and you can really taste the butter, the tang of the apples and the subtle spices. It’s great with a cuppa, doesn’t leave you feeling too guilty, and the prep time is only about half an hour.

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Recipe

Adapted from here.

  • 100g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g buttermilk or yoghurt*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 200g flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 medium eating apples
  • 50g walnuts, chopped (optional)

*I used Greek yoghurt. You can make your own buttermilk by adding 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk and leaving to stand. The recipe notes say that ordinary milk (or low fat yoghurt, for that matter) works fine but I would worry the cake might be a bit dry. Although with all that apple it’s probably be fine.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180C (170C fan). Grease a 1lb loaf tin, or similar
2. Melt the butter and leave to cool. Meanwhile, slice or chop your apples. Peeling is optional, I don’t bother.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until well combined and light, 1-2mins
3. Add the butter, milk/yoghurt and vanilla and mix until incorporated
4. Stir in the dry ingredients. You will be left with a very thick batter
5. Add the apples and nuts if using. It will look like a lot of apple but it’s fine. If you want a simple decoration, reserve 10 or so apple slices.
6. Transfer the batter to your greased pan and level the top. Decorate if you want.

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7. Bake for 50-60mins. Check after 40 and cover with foil if it’s looking too brown. Once the cake passes the knife test, remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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It’s best to cut this cake with a sharp knife, otherwise all the bits of apple make the slices uneven. But then you get to ‘clear up’ the crumbs. Yum.

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