I developed this recipe when I was working in the French Alps in the 1980s and it was always a firm favourite with our chalet guests. At high altitudes, cake batters can behave in unpredictable ways and this was one of my most reliable recipes. The combination of crunchy caramelised walnuts, softly sweet apples and fudgy centre is irresistable. Serve warm for dessert with cream or ice cream on the side, or in the traditional Yorkshire way, cold with a piece of strong cheese and a cup of tea as an afternoon pick-me-up on a cold day.
The acid in the yoghurt helps to boost the reaction of the raising agents, so don't be tempted to leave it out. If you don't have yoghurt to hand, just replace with the same quantity of milk and a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice. —Jayne Pearson
1 hour 15 minutes
butter, softened to room temperature
brown sugar (soft or Demerara)
whole wheat flour
all-purpose white flour
natural or vanilla yoghurt
eating apples, peeled, cored, each cut into 8 wedges, then sliced
In a large bowl, whisk the softened butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs one at a time – if the mixture curdles, add a little flour before whisking in the next egg.
Sieve the flours, baking powder and spice into the mix and fold in gently with a spatula or metal spoon.
Add the yoghurt, together with the sliced apples and sultanas, and fold in until evenly mixed.
Scrape the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top, then scatter over the walnuts and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar.
Bake for approximately 1 hour, 15 minutes. When the cake is ready, it will just fractionally pull away from the edges of the tin. Check after one hour - if the top is becoming too dark, cover loosely with a piece of foil, then return to the oven until baked.