Apple and pinenut comfort cake

I made this delicious and oh so comforting cake with beautiful eating apples from the Canberra Farmer's Market -the grower (Thornbrook Orchard) calls them Lady Laura after his wife, but any crisp eating apple will do. This recipe is quick and easy to knock up using a food processor, and you can serve it with cream or ice-cream or just on its own. This is similar to a recipe by Anneka Manning for nectarine and almond cake in her excellent book Mastering the Art of Baking, with a few adaptations.


3-4 apples, with skin on, cut into quarters, de-pipped and cored. Then cut each quarter into three slices.

1/3 cup of pine nuts

150 gms of plain flour (I use gluten free flour)

110 gms of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 teaspoons of lemon zest

125 gms chilled cultured unsalted butter ( or just plain unsalted butter) cut into small cubes.

2 eggs at room temperature

1-2 tablespoons of apricot jam, warmed and sieved, to glaze


  • Preheat the oven to 180C, 170C fan forced. Line an 18 cm tin (or 20 cm - for some reason I have found this size hard to get) with baking paper on the bottom and butter round the sides.

  • Cut the apples up as in the instructions

  • Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and lemon zest into the food processor* and process until well mixed, but do not run for too long. Add the butter and mix until the mixture is like fine bread crumbs. At this stage add the eggs one at a time while the motor is running until the mix is just combined.

  • Put half the mix in the bottom of the pan and arrange half the apples on top in a circle

  • Cover with the rest of the mix and arrange the apples on top in a circle.

  • Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top

  • Glaze with warmed and sieved apricot jam if you have some - since this a rustic sort of cake I actually didn't sieve mine, but best practice is to warm it and sieve it.

  • Bake for around 50 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when you insert it into the middle of the cake.

  • Let it rest on a rack for about ten minutes, then turn out.

  • Dust with icing sugar using a fine sieve. Serve warm. ( Do not store in the fridge but in a tin in the pantry. You can zap leftovers in the microwave for 10-20 secs to warm up.)

  • *Note - if you do not have a food processor you can mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then rub the butter into the mix with the tips of your fingers until the mix resembles bread crumbs. Then beat the eggs together and stir them in to the mix.

  • My grandmother always used to say that warm hands ( like mine) are the enemy of the pastry cook, so run your hands under the cold tap, then dry, before you mix the flour and butter.

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