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Rob Greening's recipe - the first received 

Hello, I've seen your article in the reporter for Milborne St. Andrew regarding the biggest Dorset apple cake. I have a recipe that I've had since middle school back in 1987 and I believe it's the best tasting recipe for apple cake. I would like to share my recipe with you.


225g Wholemeal Flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Mixed Spice
175g Light Brown Sugar
150g Melted Butter
2 Braeburn Apples
2 large Eggs Beaten
Small Handful Sultanas
Demerara Sugar to Top
2 tsp Flaked Almonds


Set the oven to Gas mark 3 / 160 fan oven
Grease the tin with a little butter. Mix together the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Dice the apples thinly and add to the mixture, add the butter and eggs.
Mix until you can see apples throughout the mixture and add the mixture to the tin.
Place the tin in the centre of the oven and let bake for 1 hour, after 1 hour top with demerara sugar and almonds then bake for a further 5-15 minutes or until a knife comes out clean from the centre.

I hope this recipe will help others and I most certainly cannot wait to take part in this.

Kind regards

Rob Greening

Caroline Richards' recipe

I'd like to be involved with the Dorset apple cake baking. I love baking and apple cake is a favourite in our household!

I'm originally from North Yorkshire but when I moved down to Dorset (in the late 1990s) I was introduced to apple cake. I had a friend from university whose parents lived near Shaftesbury and I would visit her at her parental home. Her mum (now in her eighties) gave me an old family recipe that had been in their family. It's lovely, makes quite a big cake and like many family recipes, it doesn't have many instructions!


10 oz self-raising flour
1/2 tsp mixed spice
pinch salt
6 oz margarine
6 oz caster sugar
2 oz currants
4 oz sultanas
12 oz cooking apples
3 eggs
2 tbsp milk


Sift flour, salt and spices into a large mixing bowl.
Rub in margarine and then stir in sugar, dried fruit.
Add peeled, chopped apples.
Mix together eggs and milk then mix into dry.
Should be a stiff mixture.

Bake for 1 hour 45 mins, 180 deg C. I find that it doesn't need that long and that I set my oven to 170 deg as it can catch on the top. A sprinkle of brown sugar towards the end of the cooking time is also a good idea.

The addition of dried fruit may be contentious here, I don't know but this is certainly an old, family recipe from a Dorset family and baked when there was a glut of cooking apples.

 I look forward to getting involved.

 Caroline Richards

Dorset Apple Cake (Reporter Nov 2022)

When I married Ed in 2006, he told me that one of his favourite cakes was Dorset Apple Cake. I’d never made one before so I looked on the Internet for a recipe and discovered that this one had just won the Best of Dorset food awards for that year. (Greg Coomer from Bournemouth.)

I’ve never been all that keen on Dorset Apple Cake, finding some versions a bit heavy and somehow underwhelming. Be warned, this recipe is not at all like the traditional cake, but I love its lightness and flavour and I’ve never been tempted to experiment with any other recipe since.

Greg’s Dorset Apple Cake


225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder 
25g cornflour
110g butter
110g golden caster sugar
225g cooking apples (peeled, cored and diced)
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg and 1 tablespoon of milk
50g sultanas

To decorate the top of the cake:

1 unpeeled cooking apple, cored and thinly segmented


Sift flour, baking powder and cornflour into a bowl
Rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs or blend in a food processor 
Stir in the sugar, prepared apples, lemon zest and sultanas
Bind together with the egg and milk
Turn into a lined baking tin and level the top
Cut thin segments from the unpeeled cored apple and dip in lemon juice
Arrange in a circle on top of the uncooked cake and dust lightly with brown sugar 
Bake at 190C / 375F / Gas Mark 5 for 30-40 minutes (it sometimes takes a little longer)
Cool for 10 minutes in the tin before carefully turning out onto a cooling rack.

Best served warm with a dollop of clotted cream and another dollop of clotted cream ice cream.

Versunkener Apfelkuchen  
German Sunken Apple Cake
(Reporter November 2023)

2 large eggs
4 oz (110 g) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
4 oz (110 g) butter
4 oz (110 g) caster sugar
4 medium Bramley or Granny Smith apples
Apricot jam to glaze

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C, Gas Mark 3)
Sift the baking powder and flour into a large bowl from a height so that plenty of air gets into it.
Add all the other ingredients into the same bowl. 
Blend with an electric hand whisk until it is completely smooth.
Add 1 or 2 drops of warm water if it doesn’t drop off the whisk when shaken and whisk it a bit more.
Peel the 4 medium apples, cut them in half, and remove the core.
Score them with a sharp knife about halfway down - so that you have lines running across the back of each apple. If you prepare these first, then put them in water with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, this will stop them from going brown.
Grease and flour your cake tin, or line with baking parchment, I use the ready-formed greaseproof paper cake tin liners.
Pour in the cake mixture.
Place your apples round on top of the mixture.  Don’t push them into the mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked and the sponge has risen around them. Brush immediately with warm Apricot jam to glaze.

Serve this cake warm.

As a variation on this recipe, you could use tinned or fresh pineapple instead of the apples. Or substitute a heaped tablespoon of the flour with cocoa and use fresh or tinned pears.

Bonus tip – the cake is called “Versunkener Apfelkuchen” which means “sunken apple cake” because the apples look like they sunk into the batter. However, they actually don't sink in the batter. The batter pushes upward and around the apples. So do not push the apple into the batter, just lay them on top carefully.

Christmas-Spiced Dorset Apple Cake
(Reporter December 2023)

Many Dorset Apple Cake recipes have sultanas in the list of ingredients, you can swap the sultanas with raisins if you like, as raisins are more shrivelled than sultanas and so more readily absorb flavours when marinated. This spicy variation brings a festive twist to any recipe using dried fruit.

For the boozy sultanas, combine: 
Juice and zest of half a lemon
Juice and zest of half an orange 
2 tablespoons of dark rum or brandy 
1 level teaspoon of mixed spice (cinnamon, coriander seed, nutmeg, cloves, pimento, ginger)
50g sultanas (or weight according to your recipe)

Soak the sultanas in the spicy mixture for 24 hours or overnight in a covered container.

Add the now nicely plumped up sultanas to your favourite Dorset Apple cake recipe.  If there is any liquid that hasn’t been absorbed by the sultanas after marinating, I add that as well as the soaked sultanas as an optional extra. Waste not, want not. Well, it can’t hurt, can it?


Recipe for Weight Watchers Apple Cake 
(Reporter January 2024)

Makes 10 slices, 212 calories per slice, approximately 7 WW points.


2 cooking apples cored and sliced into wedges about 5mm thick
125 g light margarine
3 eggs
75 ml fat free Greek yogurt
100 g golden caster sugar
225 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
0.5 tsp salt
2 tbsp demerara sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder


Preheat the oven to 340oF / 180oC / 150oC Fan. Line and grease a 23 cm cake tin.
Core and slice the apples and set aside. 
In a large bowl, whisk together the low fat spread and the caster sugar until it is smooth and pale. 
Add the eggs
Sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt into the mix and mix gently until smooth.
Add the yogurt and mix to incorporate.
Scrape the mixture into your prepared cake tin and smooth down the top with a spatula.
Place the apple slices in a spiral on the top of the cake and sprinkle over the demerara sugar and cinnamon. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 40 - 45 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

Sue Gould's Gluten Free Dorset Apple Cake


• 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

• 450g Bramley apples

• Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

• 225g caster sugar, plus extra for dredging

• 3 large eggs

• 225g gluten-free self-raising flour

• 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder

• 25g ground almonds

• 1 tsp mixed spice

• 1 tbsp demerara sugar



Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4.

Grease a deep 23-24cm springform cake tin and line with baking paper.

Peel, core and cut the apples into 1cm pieces, and toss with the lemon juice.

Cream together the butter, caster sugar and lemon zest in a bowl until pale and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, adding a little flour with each addition to keep the mixture smooth.

Sift the remaining flour and the baking powder into the bowl and fold in with the ground almonds and mixed spice. Stir the apple pieces into the mixture.

Spoon into the prepared cake tin, lightly level the top and sprinkle with the demerara sugar.

Bake in the oven for 1 hour or until well-risen, brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  If the cake starts to look a little too brown, cover with a sheet of baking paper after about 45 minutes.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the tin and place on a serving plate. Dredge heavily with the extra caster sugar.

Cut the cake into generous wedges and serve warm with a spoonful of clotted cream, if you wish.

Vegan Dorset Apple Cake

Wet ingredients

250ml plant milk soy, almond, oats

150g sugar plus 2 tbsp to sprinkle on top

50ml vegetable oil sunflower oil, canola oil, or 50g vegan butter, melted e.g. Stork baking block


Dry Ingredients

240g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 teaspoons cinnamon

1 pinch salt

3 – 4 medium apples (2 apples for the filling and 1 to 2 apples for the top)



Oil the sides of your pan and dust with flour. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Or use a cake liner.

Preheat the oven to 360°F or 180°C

In a medium bowl, add the wet ingredients: plant milk, oil or vegan butter and sugar. Whisk to combine.

Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.

Whisk on a low speed with a hand mixer for a few seconds till you have a smooth and thick cake batter.

Do not over-mix, or the cake will turn out gummy.  You can also stir the batter with a whisk or a silicon spatula. 

Add small apple pieces from 2 apples (about 11 ounces or 300 grams of apple chunks).

Apples should be cored and seeds removed. You can keep the peel on.  Fold in with a spatula until the apple pieces are well incorporated into the batter, then pour it into the cake tin.

Cover the top of the cake with thin apple slices in a circular pattern, overlapping the slices a bit. Finally, sprinkle the apples with 2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake the cake at 360°F or 180°C for 55 minutes to 1 hour on the centre rack of the oven.

Take out of the oven and let cool down for about 1 hour. Then sprinkle with some icing sugar if you want.

Daisy Cooper 1909 - 2006 (Click here for more about her life)

I recall Daisy commenting on an Apple Cake at a Christmas Bazaar many years ago. She asked who had baked it and, when told, said in her rich Darzet tones. "Ah, I can see that now, Typical; she stood on top of Bulbarrow Hill and threw the apple; not much landed in the cake mix!!"

Tony Fox
Daisy Cooper Daisy Cooper Recipe