Apple crumble cake is one of England's myriad of apple cakes: quick and easy to make, and oh so wonderful with a cup of tea alongside. I always think of this as a proper teashop cake, even though I'm not quite sure why.
I've probably eaten apple crumble cake more often in the clubhouse after a bike race, than in a teashop. (Along with lemon drizzle cake, coffee and walnut cake, and carrot cake). And I'm sure it's standard fare at school fetes, jumble sales and cricket teas.
It's dead easy to make - and takes very little time to put together - so if I have apples going soft in my fruit bowl ... guess what they'll most likely turn into?
The traditional recipes I've found all use cooking apples, but I've made apple crumble cake just as successfully with dessert apples. If you're worried that the finished product may be a bit dry, just add the juice of half a lemon to the cake mix. (That's also helpful if your apples are a bit on the woolly side...)
And as for spices ... you'll be the best judge of that. It's fine with just apples, but I love the marriage of apples and cinnamon and often add a hefty pinch to my apple crumble cake. Lemon juice is nice, too. And you could even add a handful or two of raisins if your fancy takes you that way. The outcome will be just as tasty.
This makes enough cake mixture to fit a 7in / 18cm round cake tin. If you have more mouths to feed, you can double the quantities. But keep in mind that it needs to bake longer.
This cake mix is very quick to put together, so make sure you have all the prep work done ahead.
Set the oven to 200°C / 400°F / gas 6.
Grease and line your cake tin.
Peel, core and chop the apples.
Sift flour and baking powder, then rub in the butter until you have fine crumbs. Add cinnamon if using. (Using a blender or food processor makes this even faster ... but you'll have to do the washing up after ....)
Mix in the sugar, then stir in the apples and beaten egg. At this point, the mix will seem very dry. (This is the point where you will add the raisins, if you're using them.)
Add milk, a little at a time, until the mixture binds together. It will still be very stiff and it will seem as if there are too many apples in the bowl. That's exactly what you want it to look like, though, so don't go overboard on the milk.
Pile the whole lot into your cake tin and smooth down a little. The tin should be quite full, but that's okay as the cake won't rise very much.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is beautifully golden brown. If you have cinnamon in your mix, your kitchen will smell absolutely divine at this point!
Test with a fork or chopstick that the cake is cooked all the way through - the chopstick should come out clean - then remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack.
Dust thickly with icing sugar and cut into wedges to serve. BTW, I know what your mum always told you, but this is one cake that can be eaten while still a little warm!