- 150g dates, roughly chopped
- 200ml milk, plus a splash
- 250g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 280g self-raising flour
- 200g light soft brown sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 small red apples
- squeeze lemon juice
- lots of toffees
- a little icing sugar, for dusting
1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 20 x 30cm baking tray with baking parchment, I like to line the tin but also use 2 long strips of paper to be able to lift the cake out when ready.
2. Put the dates and milk in a small pan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and set aside for 15 mins to cool.Whizz the date mixture to a smooth purée in a food processor or blender, then scrape into a large mixing bowl.
3. Tip in the butter, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, eggs, mixed spice and vanilla, and set aside while you prepare the apples.
4. Quarter and core the apples, then slice quite thinly, tossing in a little lemon juice as you go.
5. Quickly beat together the cake ingredients with an electric whisk until smooth, then scrape into the baking tray.
6. Arrange the apple slices, overlapping in rows, on top of the cake – you should be able to get 3 rows lengthways down the tray.I do this two ways, one to completely cover the top so its full of apple, but this does make the cake rise into the middle as it has no where else to go (see pictures), I also made one with lots of space and this was more even but less apple-ey – so its up to you which was you go.
7. Bake for 45-50 mins until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean (longer if you go for the one with more apple on top!). Cool in the tray.
8. Put the toffees in a small pan with a good splash of milk and gently melt, stirring, until runny.
9. To finish, dust with a little icing sugar, then drizzle sauce all over the cake. Cut into squares or slices to serve.
Inspired by a Good Food Magazine recipe.