Few recipes rival the timeless charm of Apple Tea Cake. Bringing together fresh apples, buttery sweetness and a hint of warm spice, it's the perfect afternoon tea time treat.
This tea cake is easy for even beginner bakers to make, with no need to stew the apples beforehand! It's loaded with two whole apples – one grated into the cake and another sliced on top – and will take 15 mins max to get into the oven.
Which apples for Tea Cake?
The best Apple Tea Cake requires perfect apples. And the best baking apples are a little on the tart side and hold their shape during the baking process.
I like to use Granny Smith apples. However other baking apples include Braeburn, Jonathan, Fuji and Gala.
To make this cake, you'll need:
- cooking apples
- caster sugar / superfine sugar
- SR flour (or plain/all purpose flour + baking powder)
The cake is glazed while hot from the oven using a mix of:
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Apple Tea Cake
Pre-heat your oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius / 355 degrees fahrenheit, fan-forced).
You'll need a "sandwich tin" which is a 20cm round cake tin. A springform tin works best here as the easily removeable sides/bottom allows the carefully placed apple top to remain undisturbed while you remove the cake from the tin.
Grease the tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
Peel both of the apples.
Grate one apple.
Remove the core from the other apple and cut in half vertically. Cut each half horizontally into thin slices. Set aside the grated apple and apple slices.
Making the cake
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat until combined.
TIP: Bring butter and egg to room temperature before using, for best results.
Add the grated apple and stir through the mixture.
Mix in ⅓ of the sifted flour and salt alternately with ⅓ of the milk until all these ingredients have been added. Continue stirring until just combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth out the top. Place the apple slices on top in a swirl pattern.
Bake the cake for 45-50 minutes.
A few minutes before your cake is finished baking, prepare the glaze.
Combine the sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Add cinnamon and then brush the top of cake (still hot from the oven) with the glaze using a pastry brush.
Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the cake tin.
Serve Apple Tea Cake warm or at room temperature.
It's lovely served with custard (homemade or store bought) or ice cream.
There is a little cinnamon added to the glaze in this recipe to highlight the apple flavour. However, for a true Cinnamon Apple Tea Cake, add another teaspoon of cinnamon to the flour when making the cake.
If you're not keen on cinnamon, other spices that go well with apple include ginger, nutmeg and cardamom.
Stored in the fridge in an airtight container, it'll keep for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature or warm up before serving.
You can freeze this cake, in an airtight container or well wrapped, for up to 3 months.
For best results, use the freshest apples you can find and don't over-combine the mixture. Stir in the flour only until combined. Also, make sure you time making the glaze so it's ready when the cake comes out of the oven.
The cake should cook in the given time, however you can use a skewer to check. Insert a skewer into the cake and, if cooked, it should come out clean. If it comes out coated in some cake mixture, continue to bake.
You can use an apple corer (which can be purchased from kitchen specialty stores), melon scoop or small knife to remove the core. See pictures above.
More apple recipes
Check out these other lovely apple recipes:
Apple Tea Cake
- 20cm round cake tin ("sandwich tin") (a springform tin works best with this cake)
- pastry brush
- 2 med-large granny smith or other cooking apples (400 grams total)
- 75 grams butter
- ½ cup caster sugar / superfine sugar (110 grams)
- 1 egg (60-70 grams)
- ½ cup milk (125 ml)
- 1 ½ cups SR flour (230 grams) (or 1 ½ cups plain/all purpose flour + 3 teaspoons baking powder)
- 1 pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius / 355 degrees fahrenheit, fan-forced).
- Grease round tin and line bottom with baking paper.
- Peel both apples. Grate one apple. Remove core from the other apple and cut in half vertically. Cut each half horizontally into thin slices. Set aside the grated apple and apple slices.
- Cream butter and sugar.
- Add egg and beat until combined.
- Add grated apple and stir through mixture.
- Mix in ⅓ of the sifted flour and salt alternately with ⅓ of the milk until all these ingredients have been added and stir until just combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and smooth out top. Place apple slices on top in a swirl pattern. See pictures in post above.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes.
- A few minutes before your cake is finished baking, combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to the boil and boil for 1-2 minutes. Add cinnamon and then brush top of cake (still hot from the oven) with the glaze using pastry brush.
- Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from tin.
- Serve warm or cold.