1½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 free-range eggs (I used size 7s)
1 cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons brandy
½ teaspoon vanilla paste
⅓ cup plain yoghurt
4 medium apples (I use two Granny Smiths, one Braeburn and one Cox’s Orange)
160g butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon demerara sugar
spiced candied almonds, to serve
salted caramel sauce, to serve
crème fraîche, to serve

My sister-in-law will no doubt say this is her recipe, my sister will say its hers and we will all verbally fight it out in the various kitchens of future family events. One says it’s about the apples – the tangy mix of good Braeburns and Granny Smiths – while the other’s trick is the booze and gentle folding in of the melted butter. Mine is the spiced fragrant almonds I sprinkle on the top to offset the floral notes of the cardamom and caramel fruit and add crunch to the cake’s spongy texture. Click here to see the spiced candied almonds recipe.


1.Preheat the oven to 170℃. Grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
2.In a bowl, stir together the flour, cardamom and baking powder.
3.In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the caster sugar, brandy and vanilla paste until incorporated. Add the yoghurt and whisk to combine.
4.Peel and core three of the apples, and chop them into 1½cm cubes. Core the remaining apple, leave it unpeeled, and cut it into thin slices, for the top.
5.Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined, then gently fold in half of the melted butter.
6.Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and melted butter. Gently fold in the cubed apples and transfer the batter to the prepared tin.
7.Arrange the apple slices in a pattern on top of the batter. Sprinkle with the demerara sugar.
8.Bake until the cake turns a deep, golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean, just under an hour.
9.Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.
10.Serve drizzled with salted caramel sauce, a sprinkling of spiced candied almonds and a spoonful of crème fraîche mixed with a little brandy and brown sugar.

Recipes, food styling & photography Fiona Hugues

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