Brimming with fresh apples and with a hint of cinnamon, this easy cake makes a great pudding served warm with custard, or tucked into a lunchbox for a welcome treat.
When I think of Dorset, the coastal county on the English Channel, I think of sweeping beaches, Jurassic fossils and cider. A bit of a generalisation perhaps, but as someone who has never been there – flown over it but not travelled in it – these sound pretty enticing to me.
This scenic county is also famous for its apple cake. Searching around there doesn’t seem to be a definitive recipe. However the hallmarks of a typical-ish cake appear to be loads of chunky apples (peeled), brown sugar and a hint of cinnamon. Some cakes are topped with slices of apples that become tantalisingly burnished in the hot oven, while others – like mine – are strewn with amber crystals of demerara sugar, giving a toffee-ish crunch after even the lightest of sugary covering. (I’ve hidden the crunchy top with icing sugar here, but you will see the bare cake below.) The texture can also vary: from spongelike and soft – a Victoria with apples really; to almost crumbly and scone-like, but still soft on the interior, as would be expected from so many melting hunks of apple. I settled on the side of the scone. Not at all dry, mind you. More like a crumb cake really.
Dorset for foodies is more than apples, of course. Cheese, seafood and probably some of the most extensive organic small producers in the UK are a must-try for any visitor. If farm shops and farmer’s markets are your thing then Dorset will be your idea of heaven. Some of the best-known UK brands are based in Dorset: ‘The Dorset Famous Five’ – are made up of Clipper Teas, Denhay Farm, Dorset Cereals, Olives Et Al and Hall & Woodhouse. I think I will add award-winning Furleigh Wines to the list.
The best way to visit a place like Dorset, where its charms range over many miles and not confined to a city, is self-catering. Cottages.com have a great range of accommodation whether you wish to stay by the water, in a bustling town, or in the peace and quiet of the countryside. This bucolic thatched cottage has my name on it. Well, not quite as it’s called Elizabeth Cottage, but you know what I mean. 🙂
Picking up food from local producers, having a chat to them about the best way to prepare it, and then bringing it back to “my own” kitchen is one of my favourite ways to enjoy a holiday. It is probably one of yours, too. Self-catering is my best option for doing my own thing. And, as you know, I do like to do my own thing.
Even with Dorset Apple Cake.
Dorset Apple Cake
I’ve tweaked this to add a bit more fibre and a bit less sugar, but essentially it is a Dorset Apple Cake as you might be served in cafes all over Dorset. This keeps very well for about five days, but I seriously doubt whether it could possibly not be eaten up within this time. You can also make it in a square tin; I do this for work as it makes it easier (for me) to portion out. Enjoy!
100g self-raising wholemeal flour*
125g self-raising plain flour*
2-3 tsp ground cinnamon (depends on freshness of your cinnamon and your own liking for this spice)
115g chilled butter, cut into small cubes
90g light muscovado or brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
8 tbsp milk
225g (up to 275g or so is fine) eating apples of choice (I used Granny Smiths), cored and diced
100g sultanas or raisins, steeped in hot water and then drained if quite dry
2-3 tbsp demerara sugar OR 1 apple thinly sliced – to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/350F. Line sides and bottom of a deep 20cm baking tin with parchment paper. I like to crumple a large circle of the paper until it is soft and push it into the tin.
2. Dry whisk the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl then do one of two thing. First choice is to add the flour mix, butter and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Then scrape into a bowl and stir in the egg and milk, mixing until you get a thick batter. The second choice is to add the diced butter to the flour mixture and rub it all together with your fingers until it resembles coarse sand. Then stir in the sugar, followed by the egg and milk. I’ve tried both with pretty identical results. Just don’t go wild with the food processor though; only pulse until those crumbs appear.
3. Fold in the apple and sultanas and scrape into the lined tin. Sprinkle over the sugar or lay over the apples, as you wish. Bake in the preheated oven for between 30 and 40 minutes, or until lovely a golden colour and a skewer comes out clean. Allow it to cool for a bit in the tin before turning out. Ideally serve still barely warm – with custard if you like. I like. 🙂
* You can make this with a gluten-free flour mix too.
This is a partnered post. As always, all thoughts, opinions and recommendations are honestly given.
42 thoughts on “Dorset Apple Cake Recipe”
Beautiful recipe, will try it soon for sure cause I love apple cakes 🙂
Hi…I always enjoy your recipes…they always seem so colorful and wholesome. Could I do this with an egg substitute? Dorset sounds lovely…must do a holiday there sometime.
Of course! You could use aquafaba, chia, flaxseed or a bought mix like Orgran.
I’ve never heard of Dorset! The ocean views you find there are breathtaking! I would love to visit sometime! Hopefully this cake could mentally transport me there 😉
Beautiful recipe and photos! I would love to travel to Dorset one day 🙂
Looks and sounds like something I would very much enjoy😊
Bookmarked to try soon 🙂
This looks fab! I’ve just started blogging to with a focus on eastern African inspired recipes
Nothing beats a simple apple cake, especially when using fresh, local apples. This reminds me a little of a Sicilian apple cake with the raisins in it. I’m sure the group you cook for loves this. 🙂
I must investigate the Sicilian cake. Does it have alcohol in it? The one I am thinking of does. Maybe I could soak the raisins in Calvados…
Your photography just gets better and better Kellie. I want to reach my hand in for a slice of that cake.
Ah thanks Miss Sally 🙂
I came ‘here’ for food, but got a vacation idea instead. Dorset looks like my kind of vacation, Kellie; with cottage like that, food, farm and wine, I might have to leave California for awhile 🙂 And while I’m planning a trip to UK. for my next vacation, I am going to make your delicious-looking apple cake, just to tie me over. LOVE
p.s. thank you for your kind words on my IG, Kellie. Because of someone so sweet like you that keeps me blogging. I hope I won’t disappoint when I’m back blogging with some weird content 🙂 xoxo
Oh you are welcome, Pang. As a fellow writer of “weird content” I salute your brilliant fusions and the images that record them. Come back when you are ready and people like me will be here for you xx
If I didn’t have some rhubarb pie left, I’d jump up and make this right now. Something about apples and pastry gets to me every time. The custard with it? Genius!
It is pretty tasty, Kathryn. But I can’t take the credit, as it is just a wee tweak of an old, old recipe. 🙂
oh I do love Dorset and this cake is a very special way to celebrate it. I adore that shot of the cake in its tin from above, that’s proper cake!
Thanks for liking the plain cake shot. I almost didn’t include it. 🙂
Oh delicious! I have never tried (or even heard of) Dorset cake but this sounds yummy!
Thank you. I had never heard of it either but when I saw the ingredients and “look” I knew i wanted to make it. And then tweak it, of course!
I have always loved a good Dorste apple cake and it is one of those cakes I always forget to make but whe i do it always goes down so well. I think you have mastered this and it seems you really have a talent for baking!
Aw, thank you Laura. I bake for work but we don’t often have any for home. Which, when my daughter returns from her European girls tour I will have to rectify. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
That cottage looks absolutely beautiful… so idyllic and peaceful! Love the recipe too. You can’t beat a classic apple cake!
Stunning cake! Your photography is beautiful and I’m in love with that plate too x
Thanks Emily. And, I go the plate at House of Fraser.
This is just the kind of baking I adore… homely, fruity and simple. My family love this style of cake with lashings of custard. Dorset is one of our favourite places to visit… we hired a cottage there for my mother in law’s birthday a few years ago and it was magical!
I really must get myself down there. I missed out on the press trip earlier this year (just too far for such a short time), but it really doesn sound like my kind of place. Thanks for your lovely words, Katie. 🙂
Such a beautiful cake! I’ve recently been to Dorset and it was so pretty. There’s so much to explore that I can’t wait to go again. I’d love to stay in this pretty thatched cottage – as you say, it is SO much easier to stay self-catering. 🙂
I know, I’d love to stay in it too! Self-catering or a luxury hotel for me. Nothing in between!
I’ve not been to Dorset either but would love to and you’ve just made me want to go even more. The apple cake looks delish, might have to get some on the go for next weeks visitors x
It’s a doddle to make (not that you need that aspect) and keeps pretty well. I do hope you make it. I’ve made it with Doves gluten free flour mix and it turned out just fine.
hi kellie, great looking cake.
when I had a restaurant and cafè in Lyme Regis, Doreet apple cake was our bete noir – everyone asking for it, all the time. As you might know there are as many versions of DAC as there are cooks and in fact it is not a traditional recipe at all: I found (and tried) a rather stodgy DAC in Good Things in England, by F. White (1932) but I do not remember any DAC in the classic cookbooks of the 19th century. I wonder when this cake became so popular (I suspect it has something to do with the fact the Dorset used to be a great apple producer). Eventually we settled on a plain, vanilla scented apple cake that was a mix of Grigson, Patricia Wells, Italian recipes ecc…having said that, I think that apple cakes are always good. have you tried the custardy apple cake by dorie greenspan? excellent . ciao, stefano
ps: nice blog
I haven’t tried Dorie’s recipe, no, but I really admire everything she does so I”m sure I would love it. I did try and find out about the origins of this cake, but didn’t get very far. Thank you for your interesting and informative comment. I appreciate it, Stefano. 🙂
MMMMMM, yummmm. That cottage looks like it stepped right out of a movie set – so charming. -Kat
This is really awesome! I’m Korean housewife, and I’m not familiar with recipes from other countries. however! It encouraged me to make this fantastic apple cake. I’ll try and post on my blog later! thank you for sharing your recipe. 😀
We always have so many apples from the garden so this would be the perfect way to use them up.
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I’m so glad that this cake appeals. 🙂
Can’t wait to try this out! It looks so delicious.
Thanks so much, Rachel. Apple season is coming so hopefully you can make it soon. 🙂
Beautiful photos – you make me want to go to Dorset, sleep in a thatched cottage and eat Apple Cake! Thanks for transporting me to Dorset for a brief minute!
Thank you. I still haven’t been to Dorset, but yes, the cake (and that pretty cottage in the post) transports me there. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂
Your photos are amazing. I am so happy I found your blog. Also, your recipes are simple and easy to follow. I love this one. Yum yum yum