Some call it coffee cake (hate coffee!), some call it streusel cake (yeah, I like that…), I’ll call it crumble cake (spot on!). Crumble is undoubtedly one of my favourite puddings, and you can make it with whatever fruit you like, although I’ll say classic apple is best. Call me classic, I don’t mind. So of course, this take is straightforward and simple, combining a vanilla and cinnamon sponge with sweet caramelised apple and crunchy golden crumble. It’s like a hug in bowl, well… with plenty of custard it almost is!
Apple Crumble Cake
Makes 16 slices
for the caramelised apple filling
- 15g unsalted butter
- 25g light brown soft sugar
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 500g red eating apples (e.g. braeburn, cox, gala), peeled, cored, quartered and each quarter cut into 1cm slices
for the crumble topping
- 120g plain flour
- 80g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 60g light brown soft sugar
for the cake
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 medium eggs
- 125g self-raising flour, sifted
- 65g plain flour, sifted
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 65ml milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramelised apple filling: melt the butter in a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium heat then stir in the sugar and cook for a couple minutes until the colour deepens. Carefully add the boiling water (the mixture will splatter) then stir the caramel mixture until smooth. Add half the apple slices in (so the temperature of the pan doesn’t drop too low), stir them in and wait for the caramel to bubble again before adding the rest along with the cinnamon. Increase the heat and allow the liquid to reduce until almost all of it has evaporated then reduce the heat to medium-low and place the lid on the pan. Cook the apple for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to go translucent. Transfer the apple to a plate, spreading the slices out, and leave to cool.
For the crumble: in a mixing bowl, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs then stir in the sugar until even. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge while preparing the cake.
For the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C (170°C fan)/350°F/gas mark 4 and line a 20cm square tin with non-stick baking paper. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Combine the flours and cinnamon, and add half to the bowl, beat until smooth. Pour in the milk and vanilla extract, beat once again, followed by the remaining flour, beat until smooth. Transfer the mix to the prepared tin and spread evenly.
Carefully arrange the cooled apple slices on top the cake mixture in an even layer, then spoon the crumble topping over evenly. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until risen and golden (and an inserted skewer comes out clean). Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack before cutting into 16 squares. Best served warm with custard.