Now the days are really turning Autumnal; it is chilly at night and dark when I get up in the morning. But it is time to stop reminiscing of picnics and barbecues and late evening walks in the sun, and embrace the change of the seasons. The cool days, the wet days, the sitting by the fire, the fire coloured leaves that suddenly drop in a storm, the comforting puddings, vin chaud and cake. And so this has to be the perfect season for this recipe. Using the last of the British apples fresh from the tree and combining them in a spiced dense yeasted cake. This is not a fluffy and light as air sponge, this cake has some heft and needs a walk to digest it but it is not rich or cream leaden. I particularly enjoyed it re-warmed with yogurt for breakfast.
This recipe calls for a bundt tin but you can use a large loaf tin instead. Because of the butter and eggs in this dough, it is slow to rise. If making an enriched dough like this on a chilly day I definitely use my ‘lizard mat’, an electric warming mat sold for use under reptile houses. You can pick them up cheaply online and they just give the dough an extra boost in rising. I don’t have a proving draw like the contestants on Great British Bake Off!
Apple & Cinnamon Kugelhopf
60g unsalted butter, softened, for greasing
60g ground almonds, for dusting
200ml full-fat milk
85g caster sugar
85g unsalted butter, very soft
200g plain flour
200g white bread flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
lemon zest, 1-2
12g fast-action yeast (1 and 1/2 sachets)
3 medium free-range eggs
2 eating apples, peeled, cored and diced (about 220g)
75g sultanas soaked in booze for 24 hours
Thoroughly grease the bundt tin with the soft butter and dust with the 60g ground almonds; tip out the excess.
Warm the milk with 25ml water.
Cream together (by hand, hand mixer or stand mixer) the sugar and butter until pale and fluffy. Add the flours, cinnamon, salt, lemon zest and instant yeast. Add the warm milk/water and the eggs. Slowly beat together until comes together then beat on medium for 5-10 minutes until the dough is sticky and stretchy. Fold in the diced apples and sultanas.
Transfer the dough to the prepared tin, cover with greased clingfilm or shower cap and leave somewhere warm (like on the lizard mat) for 1-2 hours until it is doubled and nearly reaching the top of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan with a rack in the middle of the oven.
When the oven is up to temperature, bake the kugelhopf for 35-40 minutes, starting to check after 30 minutes. It is done when a skewer comes out clean and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the tin. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to cool fully. Decorate with sliced almonds.