A basic yellow butter cake recipe is topped with seasonal apples and figs in this homage to The Great British Baking Show
I love the Great British Baking Show. The cakes and desserts they bake remind me of my years in Hong Kong and England. My British and Australian friends would always have a cake or some other home-baked good on hand whenever we got together. “Tea” was a real thing. Many afternoons were spent at the kitchen table with a cup of tea and a slice of something delicious.
When it was my turn to host, I would scour my English cookbooks or turn to The Australian Women’s Weekly Home Library series for an idea. Swiss rolls, Slices (bars), Tortes, Sponge Cakes, you name it—they were all on offer in the glossy pages of the magazine.
Over time, I learned the basic recipe for many of these cakes and how to use that as a framework for combinations of my own imagining.
This cake starts with a simple butter cake recipe. (Note: for this recipe it really is best to have your butter and eggs at room temperature)
Cream butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy. If you are using a stand mixer, this will take about 3-4 minutes. You can add in some fruit zest here if you are so inclined.
Now add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. This is where the mixture may curdle. The batter will separate into small lumps. It happens when the eggs are a different temperature than the butter and the eggs and oil can’t emulsify easily. But here’s the thing: for this type of cake it doesn’t matter. It would matter if you were using air (through whisking) to make your cake rise but we will be added self-rising flour so just ignore it and proceed as if it never happened.
Stir in the milk, flour and any flavorings you have opted use (vanilla, almond extract, etc).
That’s it. That’s your butter cake.
I wanted to use apples for my cake and since I had some figs I decided to use them as well.
I spread the cake batter in a greased springform pan. I used this so I didn’t have to turn the cake out and spoil the design.
Peel, quarter and slice the apples. To make it easy to add the apples to the top I was careful not to slice them all the way through.
You can make a different design if you cut your apples differently. Add the figs on top and into the oven it goes.
When the cake was cooked through and browned on top, I removed it and glazed it in the pan with some apricot jam which I heated until it was liquid.
After it cooled, I removed it from the pan and brushed it again.
This makes a lovely light cake, good for “Afternoon Tea”, dessert or even for breakfast.
APPLE AND FIG BUTTER CAKE
- 10 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- Grated rind of one lemon
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup self-rising flour
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 Granny Smith apples
- 3-4 ripe fresh figs
- 2-3 tbsp apricot jam
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8” springform pan.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and lemon rind until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Sift together the self-rising and all-purpose flour.
- And the flours and milk to the cake batter and stir to mix completely.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Peel and quarter the apple then cut each quarter into four slices without cutting completely through the apple.
- Quarter the figs.
- Place the apple pieces rounded side up around the edges of the cake.
- Place the fig quarters around the apple pieces with the inside of the fig facing upward.
- Place the cake tin in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes until the cake is baked through and lightly browned.
- Gently heat the apricot jam oven a low heat until it is melted.
- Spread half of the jam over the hot cake in the tin.
- Allow the cake to cool completely then remove it from the tin.
- Spread the rest of the jam over the top of the cake.
- Cake will keep for two to three days outside the refrigerator, up to five days if refrigerated.