Apple and almond pudding cake

This is called a pudding cake because you can serve it warm with lots of cream, custard or yoghurt. However, it tastes just as good cold, in thick slices, with a cup of tea or coffee. You need fairly sweet, firm dessert apples that will hold their shape when cooked (generally speaking, the more acidic the apple, the more it will break down on cooking). Try Cox's, Orleans Reinette, Egremont Russet or Ribston Pippin.

Serves 8:

  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (optional — if you like that extra almondy frangipane taste)
  • 75g white or wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 75g blanched almonds, whizzed in a food processor until finely ground (or use readyground almonds)

For the apples:

  • 4 dessert apples
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 1 heaped tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  • Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.

Directions:

  1. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment.
  2. Peel the apples, quarter them and cut out the cores, then cut each quarter into about 3 wedges.
  3. Melt the 25g butter in a frying pan and let it start to sizzle gently.  
  4. Add the granulated sugar and stir until the mixture bubbles.
  5. Add the apples, sprinkle over the cinnamon, if using, and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until the apples are just tender and very lightly caramelised.
  6. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  7.  Put the butter and caster sugar in a large bowl and beat together with a hand-held electric beater, or using a freestanding electric mixer, until light and fluffy.
  8. Break in an egg and beat well, then beat in the second egg, along with the almond extract, if using, and a spoonful of flour (this helps to prevent the mixture curdling). Add the ground almonds, sift in the remaining flour and fold in gently with a large metal spoon
  9. Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and gently smooth the surface with a palette knife, then arrange the apples on top. Trickle over any buttery juices from the pan.
  10. Place in an oven preheated to 170°C/Gas Mark 3 and bake for 45—50 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  11. Stand on a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before releasing the tin. Serve warm with cream, custard or Greek yoghurt, or cold for tea.

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