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Autumn Dorset apple cake recipe

Autumn Dorset apple cake recipe

  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Cake
  • Cakes with fruit
  • Apple cake

This is my grandmother's apple cake recipe from the coastal wilds of Dorset. Moist, fruity and satisfying this is an apple cake to be proud of and a recipe worth hanging on to.

Hampshire, England, UK

54 people made this

IngredientsServes: 10

  • 8 small apples - peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1cm piece root ginger, minced
  • 150g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 220g self raising flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:1hr30min ›Extra time:2hr cooling › Ready in:3hr55min

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease a 25cm round cake tin and line with baking parchment.
  2. In a saucepan over a medium heat add the apples, and the lemon juice and root ginger and simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes until the apples just begin to soften. Remove from the heat and pour away any excess liquid.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time until creamy. Add the almond extract.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and add the baking powder and spices and mix well. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to mix well. Fold in the apple. Transfer to the prepared cake tin and smooth the top.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 90 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully for 2 hours before slicing and serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

Fabulous cake light and a great way to use up all the small Apple's going out for lunch and taking one with me.-02 Oct 2017

Dorset Apple Cake

Heat the oven to 160C and grease a 20cm cake tin (make sure this is the exact size or cake won’t rise correctly). Put the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl and stir in the butter and eggs. Beat together for a minute or so until well combined.

Stir in the apples until well distributed, then spoon into the tin. Smooth the top and then sprinkle with the demerara. Bake for an hour, then add the almonds and bake for about 15-25 minutes more until coming away from the tin.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin then lift onto a rack to cool completely.

To hear more from Tom about Autumn Equinox, head to the podcast

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International private chef and food writer Phiilppa Davis Photo Hugh Porter - Credit: Archant

320g (4) crisp sweet apples, UK varieties like Discovery, Red Pippin or Cox all work well, peeled, cored and thinly chopped into small pieces

1 Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C fan/ Gas mark 3. Line a 2 lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

2 Using an electric mixer whisk the eggs and sugar together till pale and thick, this will take about 5 minutes on full speed. Then add the flour, baking powder cinnamon and ginger. Gently give it another brief whisk just to combine all the ingredients.

3 Stir the sliced apples through the batter, reserving a small handful. Scrape the batter into the cake tin and scatter the remaining apple on top.

4 Bake on the middle shelf for 1 hour or until a cake skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack.

5 Serve warm or cold and in true West Country style with a good dollop of clotted cream.

Philippa Davis is an international private chef and food writer. When not travelling you will find her in her kitchen in Dorset. To follow her adventures as she cooks around the world and discovers amazing food markets and local specialties wherever she is working follow her on Instagram or visit her website to read her Postcard Recipes from travels around the world.

Dorset Apple Cake Recipe

The Dorset apple cake is a fairly rustic affair, and many, many recipes can be found for it. While all the recipes have the same basic ingredients (flour, apples, sugar and fat), they do tend to differ slightly in the makeup.

So we’re talking different apples, different flours, different sugars, different fats, different ingredient ratio and with or without a topping – there are so many ways you can go with it.

Then, there is the texture we’ve got light and spongy, dense and pudding like, and even some that are almost like scones.

my inlaws, NYE 2018, my oldest’s 18th birthday

Dorset Apple Cake

It is apple season in Britain now, and for that reason I thought I should look out an apple recipe to test. It is also a good incentive to search out the more unusual varieties of native apple. Unusual in the sense of hard to find, thanks to the way that supermarkets operate (although consumers should recognise their own responsibility to demand a broader range of varieties). I did a quick lunch-time apple shopping test at Marks & Spencer and Waitrose - both of whom claim to support British producers. Marks & Spencer disappointingly could only offer Royal Gala, Cox and Bramley apples grown in England (pretty standard fare that are easy to obtain from all large shops). They had other varieties too, but these came from France and Australia. Waitrose however scored much better. In addition to Royal Gala, Cox, Bramley, they had Spartan, Egremont Russet, Early Windsor, Regal Prince and Meridian apples. All were grown in Kent, so have come a short distance up the road to be sold in London. Of the varieties sold in Waitrose, and grown in Kent, not all are native to Britain - for example, the Regal Prince was first discovered in Angers, France.

Clockwise from left: Early Windsor, Egremont Russet, Meridian, Regal Prince:

In Dorset, the areas around the towns of Bridport and Beaminster have a soil which particularly suits apple growing. Cider is made from some of the apples grown in the county, and in the past was used as a necessary supplement to farm labourers' wages.

Each year in October is held an Apple Day, to celebrate the season for best enjoying home-grown fruit. By complete coincidence (no, I am pretty sure that they haven't held it now to coincide with my Blog posting) in Dorset this year's celebration is being held today (15th October) in Symondsbury. 2005 has been designated Heritage Orchard year. For more information on events during October to celebrate English apples, click here.

There are many recipes for Dorset Apple Cake, as it seems to be one of those recipes which people find their own way with. As I have never tasted anyone's interpretation of the recipe, I have gone with the advice of a long-time Dorset resident, Marion Watson, who writes on The Great British Kitchen website that, 'most traditional recipes are based on the rubbed-in method mixed with milk to give a rather scone-like mixture.' My recipe comes from a page on, and it follows the method just described (I am not sure if the rabbit custard recipe on the same web page would be a good accompaniment to the cake - I think probably not).

225g plain flour
1-2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
pinch salt
110g butter, cut into small pieces
110g caster sugar
225g of peeled and diced apples (I used two smallish Early Windsor dessert/eating apples)
1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk

1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4
2. Grease and line a square cake tin (I used a 20cm by 20cm square cake tin)
3. Sift the flour, baking powder and spice into a bowl, add the pinch of salt
4. Rub the butter into the flour mixture,
5. Stir in the sugar and the diced apples. Then add the egg and milk. Mix in to form a firm dough.
6. Fill the cake tin - the mixture will be quite shallow in the tin.
7. Bake for up to an hour - my cake was ready in 45 minutes,
8. Leave to cool in the tin.

Whilst my cake was baking I put to the test another bit of information that I had gained on English apples. The Egremont Russets which I had bought from Waitrose are part of a group known as russets because of their distinctive matt/rough golden skins. Russets have a nutty tannic flavouring which once made them popular as an after-dinner accompaniment to port. Well, frankly I didn't need to be told that twice before I poured myself a large one, and cut up an apple to eat alongside. Fantastic! If you like port, then try it for yourself.

The cake didn't rise very much, which was fine, but it would be interesting to see the difference that using self-raising flour would make. The sponge was fairly dense and reminiscent of scone consistency. My taster and I agreed that the cake was a little too subtly flavoured, and that it could easily have had another one, if not two, apples added to the sponge base. The nutmeg spicing was a little indistinct, although this could be more a matter of personal taste. I also felt that this could be served warm with thick cream or (non-rabbit) custard. YUM!

Remember what an apple a day does.
(. and I'm sure that a glass of port can't be bad either)

Fresh Apple Cake with Vanilla Cream Sauce

This fresh apple cake is the perfect cooler weather treat. Topped with a smooth and creamy vanilla cream sauce while the cake is still warm, you&rsquoll have a recipe hit on your hands you can to toss together every time you have fresh apples around.

This post was originally published in October, 2013

Apples are the country farmer&rsquos fruit&ndashisn&rsquot every farmer supposed to raise them? Well I do and so do my parents.

On a trip home to visit my mom and dad we picked a bumper crop of fresh ones and even though we could have gone 1,000 ways with them, one of the easiest recipes to enjoy them in is a moist fresh apple cake.

What&rsquos better than an apple so fresh it still had dew on it when you pick it? The answer? Not much.

Mom and I picked Arkansas Black apples, which are hard as bricks in the early fall&ndashthey make great baseballs&ndashand are designed to soften slowly in storage over the coming weeks and in to the winter. That God, he thinks of everything.

Imagine serving this cake to your family at your next get-together complete with its own vanilla cream sauce that you pour on while the cake is hot from the oven. Good heavens. That&rsquos comfort food.

Tips for a knock-your-socks-off fresh apple cake

-Use an apple that&rsquos tart and firm. That means knowing what apples are in season at what time of year. In fall, use a McIntosh, Granny Smith, or Honeycrisp. Personally I don&rsquot enjoy Red or Yellow Delicious apples when I bake so try to find something with more flavor.

-This cake is more apple than it is cake so be patient with the cook time. The recipe states to use a 9×13 pan to keep the cake thin enough to bake in the 50 minutes. If you make it in a smaller dish, be prepared to wait an hour to an hour and 15 minutes for it to cook. Check the center with a toothpick and make sure you&rsquore getting into the batter and not just poking the apples.

-When the cake is about 5 minutes from being done, go ahead and start your sauce. Stir it until the sugar dissolves completely and set it aside. When the cake comes out, pour the sauce over a little at a time so it soaks in. There&rsquos no need to poke holes in your fresh apple cake, but you can if you want to.

Worldly Appetites: Dorset apple cake

Savour the tastes of Dorset with this recipe for the county’s world-famous apple cake.

Dorset is ideally suited to the growing and savouring of seasonal, traditional and local food its fertile soils, long farming history and food heritage combine to provide a rich variety of tasty treats, from fish caught off the Dorset coast, to artisan cheeses, breads and ciders.

A visit to Dorset would not be complete without sampling Dorset Blue Vinny cheese, Dorset apple cake and Moores Dorset Knob biscuits. And remember, Devon does not have a monopoly on cream teas – the Dorset version is just as delicious.

© MShev, Shutterstock

On every tea shop menu you will see Dorset apple cake, a truly local treat. Countless different recipes exist, each subtly different, but I really enjoy this slightly lemony one.


8 oz cooking apples – peeled, cored and diced

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C. In a large mixing bowl rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, apples, lemon zest and egg, and mix well.

If you want to add the sultanas, you can do so now. Put the mixture into a well-greased 8-inch cake tin and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until golden in colour. Serve warm or cold, with or without custard or ice cream.

Keen to explore more of Dorset? Start planning your trip with our guide.

Dorset apple cake Recipe

i absolutely love apple cake, and bein from dorset of course had to put this recipe on!! this cake is pretty much guaranteed not to last longer than 2days if your family anythin like mine! i usually ake 2 to be on the safe side lol.

  • easy
  • moreish
  • nice
  • and
  • hearty
  • applely
  • cinnamony
  • bake
  • easy
  • moreish
  • nice
  • and
  • hearty
  • applely
  • cinnamony
  • bake

Schedule your weekly meals and get auto-generated shopping lists.

  • 225g cookin apples, peeled , cored and chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 115g butter diced
  • 165g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2-3tbsp milk
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamon


  • 225g cookin apples, peeled , cored and chopped shopping list of 1/2 lemonshopping list
  • 225g plain flourshopping list
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powdershopping list
  • 115g butter diced shopping list
  • 165g soft light brown sugarshopping list
  • 1 egg beaten shopping list
  • 2-3tbsp milkshopping list
  • 1/2tsp ground cinnamonshopping list

How to make it

  • preheat the oven to 180c. grease and line a 7inch round cake tin.
  • toss the apple with the lemon juice and set aside. sift the flour and baking powder together then rub in the butter, untill the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  • stir 115g of the sugar, the apple and the egg, mix well, adding a little of the milk at atime to make a soft doughy mix.
  • transfer into your tin.
  • in a bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over the cake mix.
  • bake for 45-50mins. leave to cool in the tin for 10mins, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  • enjoy when cooled (if u havent already cut of a sneaky wedge! like i can never resist!!)
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The Cook

The Rating

Delicious, but very crumbly. I struggled to get it onto the cooling rack. Did I need more milk maybe?

Perfect if i do say so myself. Had to put some cinnamon in the main ingrediants as i love the stuff and it worked out well.

Have made this several times and everyone thinks it is great - makes a moist cake. I add a heaped teaspoon of mixed spice to the mixture and soak the apple in the lemon juice and a few tablespoons of brandy - which replaces the milk.

Dorset Apple Cake Recipe

I have not long returned from a holiday in Dorset, where Apple Cake can be found everywhere. This is a recipe I have found to be very nice.

Ingredients for Dorset Apple Cake :

  • 225g cooking apples, peeled , cored and chopped
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 115g butter – diced
  • 165g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method for Dorset Apple Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (Gas Mark 4).
  2. Grease and line a 7inch round cake tin.
  3. Toss the apple with the lemon juice and set aside. sift the flour and baking powder together then rub in the butter, until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Stir 115g of the sugar, the apple and the egg, mix well, adding a little of the milk at a time to make a soft doughy mix.
  5. Transfer into your tin.
  6. In a bowl, mix the remaining sugar and cinnamon, sprinkle over the cake mix.
  7. Bake for 45-50mins. leave to cool in the tin for 10mins, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
11 comments on &ldquo Dorset Apple Cake Recipe &rdquo

This is so similar to the apple cake Iv’e been making for years ( In Bristol when my ” kids were small) Now I call it ” Devon Apple Cake ” & it is still popular & easy & quick!!
A good cake to make if you haven’t made many cakes ” yet” .

I love any desert with apples and I’m sure to try this recipe out soon. Dorset apple cake is very popular and I hope mine comes out as nice as theirs do.

Please does anyone know if this cake freezes well? I have a huge amount of apples to use and would like to make this cake and freeze some.

Just made this cake – its really easy to make, and very very nice!!

I made this on the weekend, and brought some into work. It’s all gone and everyone is asking me to make more! A success and so easy.

Made 2 of these cakes this afternoon – the second one is still in the oven. I didn’t have 2 tins so they’ve had to be made separately. I just had to make them because I have only just come back from Dorset – tried it there (shop bought) and it was delicious, so I hoping “home made” will be even better. They smell good too. One cake is for a neighbour who gives me loads of windfall cooking apples.

I was given a big bag of apples this week. At first I was going to make a crumble but decided to make an apple cake (and so glad I did). This is such a quuick & easy recipe and so delicious that I have made 3 in 2 days and about to make 2 more. You should try it, fantastic and so moreish.

When you chop the apples for this cake, how small do they need to be? Very finely chopped like onion or diced 1/2 inch cubes? I want to make this for my son’s first birthday – he loves apple.

A fantastic recipe that works every time. I have made loads of them with eating and cooking apples and pears – all taste delicious. I live in Dorset and out of all the apple cake recipes available this is my all time favourite. My entire family love them.

I forgot to say that the cake does freeze well – I have plenty in my freezer awaiting consumption and am just about to make more with the last of the apples from the tree.

Any idea how long this cake will keep (unfrozen)? I’m considering making it at the weeken for a Thursday event as I don’t have the time mid week. Will it still be OK?

Somerset cider and apple cake recipe

West Country man Martin Blunos uses traditional cider and apples in this light, delicious cake. For extra West Country-ness serve with clotted cream.


  • 175 g sultanas
  • 150 ml dry cider
  • 280 g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 225 g unrefined caster sugar
  • 180 unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs (medium)
  • 1 zest of a lemon
  • 1 large cooking apple (peeled and cored)
  • 2 Granny Smith's (peeled and cored)
  • 2 tsp Somerset brandy
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 6.2 oz sultanas
  • 5.3 fl oz dry cider
  • 9.9 oz plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7.9 oz unrefined caster sugar
  • 180 unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs (medium)
  • 1 zest of a lemon
  • 1 large cooking apple (peeled and cored)
  • 2 Granny Smith's (peeled and cored)
  • 2 tsp Somerset brandy
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 6.2 oz sultanas
  • 0.6 cup dry cider
  • 9.9 oz plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7.9 oz unrefined caster sugar
  • 180 unsalted butter
  • 2 eggs (medium)
  • 1 zest of a lemon
  • 1 large cooking apple (peeled and cored)
  • 2 Granny Smith's (peeled and cored)
  • 2 tsp Somerset brandy
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1 cup clotted cream
  • 1 tbsp Somerset cider brandy
  • 1 cup clotted cream
  • 1 tbsp Somerset cider brandy
  • 1 cup clotted cream
  • 1 tbsp Somerset cider brandy


  • Cuisine: British
  • Recipe Type: Dessert
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 20 mins
  • Cooking Time: 50 mins
  • Serves: 8


  1. Set oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter or oil spray a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment.
  2. Warm the cider a little. Soak the sultanas in it for about 20 minutes. Finely slice the apples and dribble over 2 teaspoons of the brandy - toss well.
  3. Sieve the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a bowl.
  4. Cream the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes, in a machine, until pale and fluffy. Beat the eggs and add a little at a time to the creamed butter and sugar.
  5. Fold the dry ingredients, the lemon zest and the sliced apples together.
  6. Stir in the soaked sultanas, along with any remaining cider
  7. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, level off, sprinkle with the demerara sugar and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin, then a wire rack until completely cold.
  9. Can be served cooled as a cake or warmed through as pudding along with lots of clotted cream and a splash more brandy.

More Martin Blunos recipes


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