If we’re having people over to stay, I love baking something the day before that keeps well – or even improves – upon sitting for a day or two. That way when people wake up, they can help themselves to a hot drink and a slice of cake, satisfying those immediate morning hunger pangs. Those who need to dash off early have been fed, and for those hanging around a little later, it buys me a bit of extra time to get organised, whipping up a round of bacon sandwiches or similar.
As early morning arsenal, this cake fits the bill wonderfully. Easy to throw together the day before, and it improves after a day in its tin. The apples and sponge seem to cook into each other, creating a dense, moist sponge, with a sweet crisp topping. Perfectly seasonal for late summer and autumn.
Like so many of my favourite bakes, this is a Canadian Living recipe I’ve cooked and loved for years.
For the streusel topping:
¾ cup flour
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
For the apple filling:
2 ¾ cups thinly sliced peeled Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples)
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp flour
For the sponge:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 cup milk
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
½ tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C / 160C Fan.
Line a 9-inch square metal baking tin with baking parchment. Set aside.
Start by making the streusel topping. Combine flour, melted butter, sugars and cinnamon in a bowl until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Next, prepare the apple filling. Toss the sliced apples with the flour and sugar. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the milk, sour cream, eggs, melted butter and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring to combine. Do not overmix. It’s quite a wet batter, but that’s what keeps the cake so moist.
Pour half the batter into the prepared tin. Distribute the apple filling evenly on top. Pour over the remaining batter, spreading out so it covers the apples. Sprinkle over the streusel topping.
Bake in the preheated oven for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack. Cut into squares and serve.
Make ahead: This cake is best made the day before. Keep covered. Store at room temperature.