Though the apple season has more or less passed, it is a fruit that can be made to last extremely well. Indeed, it isn’t unheard of for apples to remain edible for 6-12 months if stored in a dry place and wrapped individually in newspaper. Since October is arguably peak season for this universally beloved fruit I’ll assume there are a few spares to hand for this wintry Spiced Apple and Walnut Traybake.
Apples and walnuts are a great combination for this time of the year. There’s just something so comforting and homely about the flavour and texture of an apple, and the walnuts provide a delightfully contrasting crunch. Walnuts also have the additional benefit of caramelising a little when baked, making for a toffee apple flavour of sorts.
As we move closer to the festive season it’s always nice to add a little spice to cake, cookies, biscuits and tarts. In my mind, summer is the time for sweet and airy bakes. Cold winter days, on the other hand, are made for a good dose of flavour and close textures. However, it’s good to be a little cautious when adding spices to cake as they can easily overpower the other flavours, especially one as subtle as apple. If you like you could even add a little citrus zest to the mix, but whatever you do enjoy this cake while it lasts!
Spiced Apple and Walnut Traybake
Makes one 20x20cm cake
• 300g self-raising flour
• ½ tsp ground cinnamon
• ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
• ½ tsp ground cloves
• ½ tsp ground ginger
• 100g light muscovado sugar
• 1 tbsp black treacle
• 250ml sunflower oil, or similar
• 4 eggs
• 3 apples, unpeeled and grated
• 100g walnuts, roughly broken
• 20g icing sugar
• 1 tbsp water
1. Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan and line your tin. Combine the flour, spices and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat the oil, eggs, treacle and apple together in a measuring jug and whisk gently into the flour mixture. Fold in the walnuts and tip into the prepared tin.
2. Bake the cake for 40-50 minutes until cooked through – a skewer should come out clean. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
3. Prepare your icing by mixing together the icing sugar and water. Drizzle over the cool cake and leave to set for 5 minutes before slicing and eating.
Cost: Though this cake contains a large assortment of ingredients, its only really luxury is the quantity of walnuts. I’ll grant you, 100g of any nut may sound expensive, but walnuts inhabit the cheaper side of the spectrum and you should be able to find the amount needed for little more than £1. Indeed, the entire cake should set you back no more than around £3.80.