We have started to notice something happening over the last few weeks… the feeling that autumn is here.
The leaves around the museum site have just started to turn from their usual vibrant green to more seasonally appropriate hues of rusty reds and pumpkin oranges. Everyone seems that little bit more wrapped up than in the previous couple of months, even considering the questionable summer weather we had! There is something so atmospheric about the cold autumn wind whistling down the Town street, really making the Living Museum of the North feel even more alive.
The definite positive of this time of year; (for me anyway), is the start of autumn/winter food – no surprise there! As much as I love the fresh and bright tastes of summer, there is something deeply comforting about the more rich and warming flavours of the chillier months.
There isn’t a better sight, in my opinion, than walking into Pockerley Old Hall or one of the houses on Ravensworth Terrace and seeing something delicious coming out of their open ranges. Something to really warm you through when the weather outside is less than tropical!
In Joseph Herron’s Bakery we have been making a start on our more autumnal creations – gone are the lemon flower biscuits of summer, making an appearance again are our dark ginger sponge (great warmed with custard, in case you were wondering) and spiced apple sponge.
The spiced apple sponge is one of my personal favourites, especially including a few apples from our orchard at The 1940s Farm! I thought that adding some tasty extras to this old favourite might be a nice way to ease ourselves into the new season – cinnamon icing and walnuts anyone?
This recipe is the perfect taste of autumn, and all the better if you can find a nice crackling fire to sit beside when you’re eating it!
For the Spiced Apple Cake
9oz Self raising flour
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
1tsp Mixed spice
½ tsp Ginger
1 ½ tsp Baking powder
2 ½ oz Brown sugar
2oz Caster sugar
4 ½ oz Butter
2 Large Bramley apples (average weight 7/8oz once peeled and cored)
1 Small lemon
For the Cinnamon Icing
6oz Icing sugar
2-3 tbsp Water
¼ tsp Cinnamon
Enough Walnut halves to cover the cake, around half the usual size packet
Preheat your oven to gas mark 3/160C.
Grease an 8 inch cake tin.
Peel and core the apples, and cut into half inch pieces – just needs to be roughly chopped!
Pop the prepared apples in a bowl and add the juice from the lemon to stop them from browning.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, spices and baking powder.
Carefully rub in the butter with the tips of your fingers until it is all combined.
Add the sugar.
Mix in the eggs and gradually add in the milk, you may not need all the milk depending on the size of your eggs – you are looking for a smooth, thick batter.
Fold in the apples – if there is any lemon/apple juice coming off the apples try not to add this to the cake mix as it might make it too wet.
Bake in the oven for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the water really slowly – you want quite a thick icing – the consistency of custard. Add the cinnamon.
Once the cake has cooled, take out of the tin and top with the icing and walnuts. For those who don’t like nuts, feel free to leave these off, and for those who love nuts, add a few chopped walnuts to the cake mix before baking for some extra crunch!
Perfect to enjoy on a blustery autumn day, sat by a crackling fire with a cup of tea!