Monday, 27 September 2010

Pitmedden Gardens Apple Harvest and Fresh Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Glaze.

Pitmedden Gardens, Pitmedden, Nr Ellon, Aberdeenshire
National Trust

Yesterday we went to the apple harvest at Pitmedden Gardens.  We went with some friends last year.  Both years it has been a lovely day.  You get to buy bags of apples from the harvest - ready to eat, keeping or cooking and other bits and pieces like apple jelly or cakes, etc..  There is also entertainment - some singing and some things for the kids to do.  And, of course, the gardens are beautiful - lovely to stroll round or run about like eejits playing tag and hide and seek.  We also had a lovely lunch - home-made soups with cheese or herb scones, baguettes, and mini apple pies or crumbles.  Mmmmmmm.

We bought 2Kg of eating apples.  Apparently they are Ellison's Orange dessert apples.  The blurb on the bag says, "First recorded 1904, named after Rev. Ellison who had a collection of 1500 fruit trees.  Crisp yet soft flesh, slight aniseed flavour."  They are quite tart but refreshing and zingy and I can almost convince myself of a very very slight hint of aniseed.

We also bought some apple and cinnamon jelly and an apple cake.  I have put the cake in the freezer as I was intent on making my own apple cake this weekend and I'll keep the jelly to have with some fresh scones warm from the oven.  I'll get round to making the scones sometime.

So, on to the apple cake I made with the apples.
I had seen this recipe on Apple & Spice - Katie's photos made me drool and I have been dying to try it.
Here is the recipe as seen on the above blog adapted from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.

Ingredients - 

Fresh apple cake  -
360g plain flour
450g caster sugar (Katie used 300g; I used 400g because my apples were tart and it tastes lovely - would probably be fine with less sugar)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
3 eggs
330ml vegetable oil (I used Katie's recommendation of 250ml oil and 80ml water)
2tsp vanilla extract
450g peeled, cored and finely chopped apples (5-6 apples)
115g coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I used pecans as I had heaps in the house)

Brown sugar glaze -
225g light brown sugar
75g butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp evaporated or regular milk

Method - 

Fresh apple cake - 
Heat oven to 180C/GM 4.  Grease 13X9 inch cake pan.
In a medium bowl combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.  
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a mixer at low speed until pale yellow and foamy.  Add the oil and vanilla and beat well.  Stir in the flour mixture with a wooden spoon and continue stirring the batter just until the flour disappears.  
Add the apples and nuts, stir to mix them into the batter until evenly dispersed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45-50 mins until cake is golden brown, springs back when touched lightly near the centre and is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Place the cake (still in the pan) on a wire rack and spoon over the glaze while still hot.

Brown sugar glaze - 
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a gentle boil.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.  Spoon the hot glaze all over the still hot cake.  Let the glazed cake cool completely before serving straight from the pan.

As you can see, I didn't chop my apples finely - I like big chunks of juicy apple in my cake.

It is a lovely cake.  Nice cold with a cup of tea and equally good warmed up and served with vanilla ice cream as a pudding.  Kids like it too but they eat the glaze off the top and tend to leave some of the cake!


  1. I would eat the glaze off the top, too. Yummy looking cake. I like the large apple really know you are eating a cake with apples that way. Just lovely!

  2. Your cake looks delicious and what a great way of using and tasting some the apples you bought. Sounds like a great day out. Wish I could ahve tasted all the different apples - I'm an apple fanatic.
    The apple and cinnamon jelly sounds divine too

  3. I have to admit to not being a huge fan of apples in cooking, preferring them raw but your cake looks lovely and I am quite tempted to have a go myself! :-)

  4. Lovely to know you are in Aberdeenshire. Love your apple cake. I have just made an apple cake a couple of days ago with the same type of apples. Tastes really good. Thanks very much for sharing. MaryMoh at

  5. Oh apple cake. You have tempted me to make some more. I still have a lot of apples. I just love the brown sugar glaze. Something I always seem to miss out on when I bake cake.

    The clear apple jam looks interesting. I've been eyeing a rosehip jelly recipe recently and wonder if it will be as clear as that.