Apple Cake

I haven’t been to a Clandestine Cake Club meeting for ages, since last year actually. I usually attend one group in Manchester, but I decided to join another Manchester group for access to more local cake lovers and of course cake! I was so excited to attend my first Manchester South meet. The theme for the meeting was ‘Back To School’. I mulled over ideas for a while, before I settled on an apple cake. I originally wanted to do a 3D sphere apple cake, but I don’t have the correct tin and I was advised quite strongly by my boyfriend not to put a glass bowl in the oven as they can explode (!) So a flat apple it was.

In my usual style I kind of made up this recipe as I went. I used my Orange & Pomegranate Cake recipe as a starting point and it developed from there. First I grated 3 cooking apples. They went brown really fast! But this doesn’t matter.

I then creamed together 300g butter, 180g golden caster sugar and 160g soft light brown sugar. I only used the mixture of sugars as I had the golden caster lying around and thought I may as well use it. You can just use 340g soft light brown sugar if you don’t have both.

I added 3 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla extract, and whisked well.

I pressed a few layers of kitchen towel down onto the grated apple to soak up some of the moisture before I mixed it in.

I folded in 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp mixed spice, 1 tsp baking powder and 340g self raising flour, and smoothed the mixture into a lined rectangular tin.

I baked on 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 30 mins, then turned down to 160C/325F/Gas Mark 3 for a further 30 minutes. I checked on it a couple of times using a very thin skewer, and took it out once the skewer came out clean.

This is an apple outline I found to give me a rough template to follow when cutting the cake.

I started with the bottom and cut the dimple of the apple out.

Then I cut out the top and leaf section. I did this freehand as the template was a lot smaller than the cake. It’s quite a simple shape so wasn’t difficult, I cut gently so the cake didn’t break.

I made a red buttercream using red food colouring. I used Sugarflair Red Extra – the strongest red there is, but it still took a lot of it to get it to go red. I have found that red is the hardest colour to get a strong colour with when colouring buttercream.

I smoothed the buttercream on using a palette knife. This was very tricky round the sides where the cake had been cut as the crumbs meant getting the buttercream to stick was troublesome. I then made a green buttercream using Sugarflair Mint Green. Again I had more trouble with the crumbs, but eventually got the ‘leaf’ coated.

Of course you don’t have to go to all the trouble of shaping this cake into an apple and icing it. You can simply enjoy it alone, or with fresh raspberries and cream as I did with a piece of the cut offs!

The Clandestine Cake Club meeting took place at Coasters in Sale, a small coffee shop opposite the Sale tram shop. Check out their Facebook page – they make some amazing cakes, cheesecakes and other goodies!

Avril who runs the group was so lovely and welcoming, she made this Carrot & Walnut Cake, the recipe was given to her by a teacher.

This chocolate cake was made by Angela and I thought it was very tasty, especially the layer of jam in the middle!

I’m not sure who made this cake, but it had a fantastic lemon flavour!

Helena, who runs the Manchester North Clandestine Cake Club, came along with her gorgeous baby, and this gorgeous milk bundt cake too!

I have never been a fan of salted caramel, but Venetta’s chocolate cornflake and salted caramel cake has converted me! It was so delicious!

Mary made this fabulous cake full of childhood sweeties.

I love bakewell tart and really enjoyed eating some of Hayley’s bakewell tart cake.

Clare decorated her cake with a school emblem, and used fluff to make her marshmallow buttercream – a great idea!

This was my favourite cake of the night, packed with apples and blackberries it had a great zingy flavour and was super moist. I took a piece of this home and had it with my lunch the next day!

Owen, the ‘token male’ of the club, made this amazingly creative school crossing cake flavoured with honey and cinnamon. He made the ‘stop cake’ sign himself – I was really impressed!

Claire couldn’t make it as she was stuck at the airport waiting for her boyfriend to arrive and his flight was delayed, but she sent me a photo of the pencil cake she made and I had to feature it as it’s fantastic!

I got some great comments about my cake and I was so pleased. Two people recommended it to me, without knowing it was mine, I was really chuffed! Part of cake club is having your cakes tasted by other bakers, and having positive feedback is such a great feeling.

I am entering my apple cake into September’s Feel Good Food challenge, hosted by Victoria at A Kick At The Pantry Door. This month’s theme is apples and this cake fits the bill!

I am also entering my apple cake into the Four Seasons Food September Challenge, hosted by Anneli from Delicieux and Louise from Eat Your Veg. Apples are a great autumn fruit perfect for using in this challenge.

And finally, I’m entering the cake into Gourmandize UK’s competition to win a Kenwood Stand Mixer. They are looking for the best apple recipe.

Apple Cake


For the sponge

  • 3 Large cooking apples
  • 300 g Butter
  • 180 g Golden caster sugar
  • 160 g Light brown sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Mixed spice
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 340 g Self raising flour

For the red buttercream

  • Red food colouring
  • 150 g Butter
  • 300 g Icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract

For the green buttercream

  • Green food colouring
  • 110 g Icing sugar
  • 55 Butter
  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla extract


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/160 Fan/350F/Gas Mark 4, and grease and line a traybake tin

  2. Grate the apples and press a few layers of kitchen towel down onto them to soak up some of the moisture

  3. Cream together the butter, the golden caster sugar and light brown sugar

  4. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract, and whisk well. Then mix in the apple

  5. Fold in the cinnamon, mixed spice, baking powder and self raising flour, then smooth the mixture into the traybake tin

  6. Bake for 45 mins

  7. Once fully cool, cut the dimple of the apple into the bottom. Then cut out the top and leaf section
  8. Make the red buttercream by mixing the butter, the icing sugar, vanilla extract and the red food colouring together. Smooth onto all of the cake except the leaf section

  9. Make the green buttercream by mixing the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and green food colouring together. Cover the leaf section of the cake

Recipe Notes

Mixed spice is a British spice blend containing Cinnamon, Coriander Seed, Nutmeg, Clove, Pimento, Ginger. If you can't get hold of it, use a Pumpkin Spice mix instead


8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. oooh – that is clever! I love the sound of this cake and you have done such a good job making it look like a giant apple! Very creative 🙂 My oh my, what a fabulous array of cakes at your cake club! I would go home a stone heavier I think! Thank you for entering this yummy sounding cake into Four Seasons Food! x

  2. Love your apple shaped cake – it's the sort of thing I admire but would never attempt. All the other cakes look pretty clever as well. I've been missing CCC as haven't attended one since April, but luckily I'm able to go next week – phew!

  3. That cake looks brilliant! I'm always a bit scared of cakes that need carving for some reason. Love the bright red colour you've got for the frosting, looks great!

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