Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Apple Crumble Cake

This classic crowd-pleaser is all about the harmony between warm spices and granny smiths.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty

A slightly longer time in the oven allows the apple in this cake to cook through. Thanks to my friend Serena Bass for the recipe inspiration.

Serves 10


For the crumble
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 cup walnuts, chopped

For the cake
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
250g butter, chopped and softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fruit jelly preserve (such as crab apple) or maple syrup
whipped cream to serve


Heat oven to 175°C. Use baking spray to lightly grease the base and sides of a 25cm-diameter cake tin, then line the tin completely with baking paper.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and walnuts and set aside.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt. In an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 to 4 minutes or until it is beginning to look creamy.

Add the sugar and beat for another 3 to 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for a further 3 to 4 minutes or until combined. Fold in the dry ingredients.

Spread half the batter on the base of the prepared cake tin and sprinkle on two-thirds of the crumble. Spoon on the remaining batter and smooth it out.

Arrange the apples around the edge of the cake (slices touching each other), then use the remaining slices to fill in the centre. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and the remaining crumble.

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Bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan then run a small sharp knife around the edge to release the cake. When it’s completely cold (refrigerate overnight if required), turn out the cake onto a flat tray.

Peel off the paper and turn cake onto a presentation plate. Gently warm fruit jelly or maple syrup in the microwave and lightly brush it over the top.

Serve with whipped cream.


Don’t fret if the butter mixture splits when adding the eggs. It happens sometimes and doesn’t affect the result.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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