Monday, 16 September 2013

Clandestine Cake Club: Apple Cake

I haven't been to a Clandestine Cake Club meeting for ages, since last year actually. I usually attend one group in Manchester, but I decided to join another Manchester group for access to more local cake lovers and of course cake! I was so excited to attend my first Manchester South meet. The theme for the meeting was 'Back To School'. I mulled over ideas for a while, before I settled on an apple cake. I originally wanted to do a 3D sphere apple cake, but I don't have the correct tin and I was advised quite strongly by my boyfriend not to put a glass bowl in the oven as they can explode (!) So a flat apple it was.

In my usual style I kind of made up this recipe as I went. I used my Orange & Pomegranate Cake recipe as a starting point and it developed from there. First I grated 3 cooking apples. They went brown really fast! But this doesn't matter.

I then creamed together 300g butter, 180g golden caster sugar and 160g soft light brown sugar. I only used the mixture of sugars as I had the golden caster lying around and thought I may as well use it. You can just use 340g soft light brown sugar if you don't have both.

I added 3 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract, and whisked well.

I pressed a few layers of kitchen towel down onto the grated apple to soak up some of the moisture before I mixed it in.

I folded in 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp baking powder and 340g self raising flour, and smoothed the mixture into a lined rectangular tin.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 mins, then turned down to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for a further 30 minutes. I checked on it a couple of times using a very thin skewer, and took it out once the skewer came out clean.

This is an apple outline I found to give me a rough template to follow when cutting the cake.

I started with the bottom and cut the dimple of the apple out.

Then I cut out the top and leaf section. I did this freehand as the template was a lot smaller than the cake. It's quite a simple shape so wasn't difficult, I had to cut gently so the cake didn't break.

I made a red buttercream using 150g butter, 400g icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and a hell of a lot of red food colouring. I used Sugarflair Red Extra - the strongest red there is, but it still took a lot of it to get it to go red. I have found that red is the hardest colour to get a strong colour with when colouring buttercream.

I smoothed the buttercream on using a palette knife. This was very tricky round the sides where the cake had been cut as the crumbs meant getting the buttercream to stick was troublesome. I then made a green buttercream using 55g butter, 150g icing sugar, 1/8 tsp vanilla and a little Sugarflair Mint Green. Again I had more trouble with the crumbs, but eventually got the 'leaf' coated.

Of course you don't have to go to all the trouble of shaping this cake into an apple and icing it. You can simply enjoy it alone, or with fresh raspberries and cream as I did with a piece of the cut offs!

The Clandestine Cake Club meeting took place at Coasters in Sale, a small coffee shop opposite the Sale tram shop. Check out their Facebook page - they make some amazing cakes, cheesecakes and other goodies!

Avril who runs the group was so lovely and welcoming, she made this Carrot & Walnut Cake, the recipe was given to her by a teacher.

This chocolate cake was made by Angela and I thought it was very tasty, especially the layer of jam in the middle!

I'm not sure who made this cake, but it had a fantastic lemon flavour!

Helena, who runs the Manchester North Clandestine Cake Club, came along with her gorgeous baby, and this gorgeous milk bundt cake too!

I have never been a fan of salted caramel, but Venetta's chocolate cornflake and salted caramel cake has converted me! It was so delicious!

Mary made this fabulous cake full of childhood sweeties.

I love bakewell tart and really enjoyed eating some of Hayley's bakewell tart cake.

Clare decorated her cake with a school emblem, and used fluff to make her marshmallow buttercream - a great idea!

This was my favourite cake of the night, packed with apples and blackberries it had a great zingy flavour and was super moist. I took a piece of this home and had it with my lunch the next day!

Owen, the 'token male' of the club, made this amazingly creative school crossing cake flavoured with honey and cinnamon. He made the 'stop cake' sign himself - I was really impressed!

Claire couldn't make it as she was stuck at the airport waiting for her boyfriend to arrive and his flight was delayed, but she sent me a photo of the pencil cake she made and I had to feature it as it's fantastic!

I got some great comments about my cake and I was so pleased. Two people recommended it to me, without knowing it was mine, I was really chuffed! Part of cake club is having your cakes tasted by other bakers, and having positive feedback is such a great feeling.

I am entering my apple cake into September's Feel Good Food challenge, hosted by Victoria at A Kick At The Pantry Door. This month's theme is apples and this cake fits the bill!

I am also entering my apple cake into the Four Seasons Food September Challenge, hosted by Anneli from Delicieux and Louise from Eat Your Veg. Apples are a great autumn fruit perfect for using in this challenge.

And finally, I'm entering the cake into Gourmandize UK's competition to win a Kenwood Stand Mixer. They are looking for the best apple recipe. Please vote for my recipe by clicking here!

print recipe

Apple Cake
  • 3 Large cooking apples
  • 505g Butter
  • 180g Golden caster sugar
  • 160g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 340g Self raising flour
  • Red food colouring
  • Green food colouring
  • 550g Icing sugar
Grate the apples and press a few layers of kitchen towel down onto it to soak up some of the moistureCream together 300g of the butter, the golden caster sugar and light brown sugarAdd the eggs and 1 tsp of the vanilla extract, and whisk well. Then mix in the appleFold in the cinnamon, mixed spice, baking powder and self raising flour, then smooth the mixture into a lined rectangular tinBake on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 mins, then turn down to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for a further 30 minutesOnce fully cool, cut the dimple of the apple into the bottom. Then cut out the top and leaf sectionMake the red buttercream by mixing 150g of the butter, 400g of the icing sugar, 1/2 tsp of the vanilla extract and the red food colouring. Smooth onto all of the cake except the leaf sectionMake the green buttercream by mixing 55g of the butter, 150g of the icing sugar, 1/8 tsp vanilla and the green food colouring. Cover the leaf section of the cake


  1. oooh - that is clever! I love the sound of this cake and you have done such a good job making it look like a giant apple! Very creative :) My oh my, what a fabulous array of cakes at your cake club! I would go home a stone heavier I think! Thank you for entering this yummy sounding cake into Four Seasons Food! x

    1. Thanks Anneli! It was a great evening, I certainly felt a stone heavier after sampling all the cakes! :)

  2. I love your cake and I love the theme of the month!! Got my first cake club in ages too on Sunday...

    1. Thanks Stuart! I love seeing how people interpret the theme. Hope your cake club goes well!

  3. Love your apple shaped cake - it's the sort of thing I admire but would never attempt. All the other cakes look pretty clever as well. I've been missing CCC as haven't attended one since April, but luckily I'm able to go next week - phew!

    1. Thank you! It was easier than you think, the hardest part was applying the buttercream because of all the crumbs!! Hope you have a brilliant time at your next cake club!

  4. That cake looks brilliant! I'm always a bit scared of cakes that need carving for some reason. Love the bright red colour you've got for the frosting, looks great!

    1. Thanks Kim! I was a bit scared at first but it turned out ok!