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This cake makes the most of autumn fruits and is so simple to make, and is delicious and versatile. I baked one for my birthday last month when Dan and I were renting a holiday cottage on a working farm in north-west Suffolk in the middle of nowhere. It is made with basic ingredients plus locally-grown fruit which for us was either abundant on the trees or bought cheaply from the gates of people’s houses (paid for by cash or coin into an “honesty box”) and the free-range eggs I used were only £1 per half dozen from a shelter outside our nearest public house 20 minutes’ walk down the road! You can substitute the fruit used in this recipe with any you have available, such as apricots or peaches, the zest of oranges, cherries, blueberries or blackberries.

Ingredients (makes 9 larger or 12 regular pieces)

175 g gluten-free self-raising flour, sifted

175 g soft brown sugar

175 g softened butter or sunflower margarine

1 tsp ground cinnamon

3 free-range eggs

2 local apples washed, peeled, cored and chopped

5-6 local plums washed and halved, stones removed

1. Preheat the oven to 170oC/150oC fan (340oF/ 300oF fan) or Gas Mark 4.

2. Grease a 20 cm traybake tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.

3. In a mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter or margarine together until smooth and fluffy.

4. Add an egg and beat well into the mixture, then add some of the flour and fold in completely. Repeat this process until the flour and eggs are all combined.

5. Add the ground cinnamon and fold in.

6. Gently fold the apples into the mixture

7. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and give it a gentle shake to even out.

8. Mark the mixture into 9 or 12 with a halved plum facing upwards. If you are allowing for 9 pieces put the remaining half plum in the centre for decoration.

9. Bake for about 35 minutes in the centre of the oven or until a skewer comes out clean. Oven temperatures vary so the cake may need a few minutes longer.

10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes, then turn out carefully on to a wire rack to cool completely. Sprinkle with sifted icing sugar and cut into pieces and serve with a slice of mature (sharp) cheddar.

COOK’S NOTES

This recipe is also good made with spelt flour. Substitute the same quantity as for gluten-free self-raising flour and sift with 2 heaped tsp baking powder.

You may substitute the 1 tsp ground cinnamon with 1 tsp ground ginger or ground mixed spice.

If you prefer, serve the traybake cake warm as a pudding served with a dollop of creme fraiche or clotted cream. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

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