Thomasina Miers’ recipe for brown butter apple crumble cake | The new flexitarian

We are having a bumper year for apples. Whenever I’m driving outside London, I find myself in local farm shops seeking out boxes of beautifully named ribston pippins, lord lambournes or blenheim oranges. Today’s crumble/cake hybrid is wonderful with the fruit’s sweet, sharp notes alongside a nutty sponge seasoned with savoury burnt butter and the gentle aromatics of cinnamon and cardamom.

Brown butter apple crumble cake

Prep 45 minCook 45 minServes 8-10

250g butter400g cooking apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced into half-moons160g light brown soft sugar2 large eggs125g spelt flour60g ground almonds1 ½ tsp baking powder1 tsp ground cinnamon½ tsp ground cardamom

For the topping70g white spelt flour50g wholemeal flour80g granulated sugarA pinch of salt60g blanched hazelnuts, roughly choppedPut 130g of the butter in a saucepan set over a medium heat. It will melt and start to foam; using a wooden spoon, scrape the milk solids from the bottom of the pan and keep it on the heat for a few minutes, until the butter turns a lovely tan colour and smells nutty. Pour into a shallow bowl and pop in the fridge to firm up a little. It should be solid, but soft enough to cream with the sugar.

To make the crumble topping, dice the remaining 120g butter and put it in a large bowl. Working quickly and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flours, sugar and salt to make coarse crumbs, then put in the fridge while you make the cake.

Toss the sliced apples with 30g of the light soft brown sugar. Weigh out the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and spices into another large bowl, whisk and set aside. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and grease and line a 20-22cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Once the browned butter has set a little, scrape it into a cake mixer and cream it with the remaining sugar for about five minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time and mix only until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients, then scrape the cake mix into the lined tin and smooth out the surface with a spatula. Lay the apples over the top, arranging them in tight circles, then stir the hazelnuts into the crumble mix and sprinkle on top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden, then remove and leave to cool before slicing and serving with Greek yoghurt or creme fraiche.

The simple flex

Make this cake dairy-free by using vegetable oil instead of the butter.


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