The Apple Chapel Cake

Happy New Year! I do love even numbers and 2014 is a very even, pleasing number – no less for the significance the number 14 plays in my world. I started dating Hungry Hubby on 14th July 2000, whilst living in a house numbered 14. We have since lived in two more number 14s before we wed on 14th August 2010. As we emerge through the dawn of a brand new year, me and the Hubster are glad to be shot of a challenging 2013 and look forward to the light of a year I just *know* is going to be good. The last thing we did together last year was create and make this cake together.

The Apple Chapel Cake

We don’t “get” going out at in New Year’s Eve – too crowded, too crazy, too expensive. And such an anticlimax once the clock ticks into the next year. So each year we cook together and open a bottle or two and watch something good on TV, cuddled up on the couch. This year, we opted for a very simple dinner. Sea bass cooked with a tiny dot of butter and finished with lemon, served with cumin-seasoned crushed carrots and individual rosemary and garlic potato dauphinoise.

Bubbles were popped and poured. Usually, we opt for steak tagliata from Nigella’s Feast with garlicky, rosemary cubed and roasted potatoes, often served following her prawns picante and alongside a rocket salad and crusty baguette. Pudding is always her molten chocolate baby cakes from How To Be A Domestic Goddess. It is the law!

I think, back in the day, I thought this menu was celebratory and spoke to both our loves – medium rare and well-seasoned meat for hubs, lots of rocket for me (who doesn’t love it with balsamic vinegar and Parmesan, no matter how very “nineties” it seems?) plus a small but powerful gooey choccie pud which satisfies us both, especially as hubs can have ice cream whilst I always prefer double cream. A change is as good as a rest though and we had the perfect excuse to branch out in our new home.

The Apple Chapel

A converted chapel, filled with light, not to forget original stained glass windows and ceilings implausibly high. I’m not remotely religious but we both adore our home and every day, I am thankful for having such a beautiful space to call our own. The day we moved in we noticed a feature which leads to the name we have affectionately given our pad – a mason mark carved into the gate post outside. Yes, that’s an apple!

The Apple Chapel

And so, perhaps inevitably, The Apple Chapel was born!

And this cake is a celebration of the year we found if not a house, then our home.

The Apple Chapel Cake

What we have is an airy, light, tender vanilla yogurt sponge with Bramley apples and pecans nuts, glazed with a brown sugar butterscotch glaze. You can see why we needed a snappier name for it.  The temptation was to add cinnamon (it has apple, ergo cinnamon usually follows in our kitchen) or to use the brown sugar in the batter. It doesn’t need it, although it would be lovely I’m sure.

Instead, the vanilla speaks to you as a flavour unmasked by the treacly brown sugar, the pecans smoke their way through the whole of the crumb and fluffy cubes of apple melt onto your tongue. The yogurt and the cooking apple lend a very necessary tang to the whole cakey concoction as all that sweetness needs a sour edge to keep it all delicious, not sickly sweet. You may omit the glaze if you like but served with a pure as the driven snow white double cream or even, Greek yogurt or creme fraiche whilst still warm from the oven is an evangelical experience.

the apple chapel cake
It’s such a moist cake with a fluffy, toothsome crumb that it benefits from a slightly lower, slower bake. My recipe recommends cooking at 160°C on the centre shelf of the oven, no higher, for 50-60 minutes. Don’t open the door until 50 minutes to prevent sinkage. It also works extremely well in a bundt pan – I have a weakness for Nordicware and their fleur de lys bundt is absolutely built to bake The Apple Chapel cake.  Actually, since me and Hungry Hubby created this recipe, a lot of my friends have made their very own Apple Chapel cakes.  It works well in cake tins of various dimensions and, I’m told, is good enough to eat without the glaze.  Not that I’m that self-restrained to know…

The Apple Chapel Cake

The glaze is inspired by but slightly different to the apple and walnut cake Rachel Allen published in her book Cake, as blogged by my friend Thanh on her stunning blog (read it here). I used far less and added double cream to make a brown butterscotch glaze which sets almost on contact with the cake and enrobes the whole in a caramelly, toffee coat which ties all the flavours together beautifully. It is sweet of course so I would recommend you ensure you buy a sour baking apple, not sweet eating ones and if your yogurt is too creamy, add enough lemon juice to give it bite before you measure it out. Flavour, as in life, is all about balance.

So, a very Happy New Year to you all. May it be filled with great love, good food and a little of something of you really, really want or need xxxx

The Apple Chapel Cake

The Apple Chapel Cake
Servings: 8
Author: Just Jo
  • 200 g soft butter
  • 225 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp rounded baking powder
  • 1 tsp level baking soda
  • 1 very large Bramley apple cubed just less than 1cm
  • 100 g pecans chopped
  • 200 g Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the glaze
  • 60 g butter
  • 120 g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line a 8 inch round cake tin or simply grease a 2.4 litre/10 cup bundt tin. I prefer the latter and use an aerosol spray of rapeseed oil.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until much increased in volume, pale and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the first two eggs one at a time then sift over the flour and raising agents and beat in with the final egg to prevent curdling.
  4. Add in the yogurt and vanilla, barely stir through.
  5. Add the apple and nuts and mix until everything is fully amalgamated then stop.
  6. Spoon gently into the cake tin and flatten the surface.
  7. Bake for 60 minutes no higher than the middle shelf of the oven, check at 50 minutes if your oven runs hot. NOTE – the sugar content and eggs will mean it browns quickly but on the low a temp it should not burn; you want the cake to be well risen, just coming away from the sides of the tin and for it to spring back if gently pressed in the centre.
  8. Cool in tin for a good 30 mins then unmould and place carefully with the help of your biggest flat spatulas/cake lifter (if you have one) onto a serving plate, if serving warm. If not cool fully on a rack before glazing.
  9. To make the glaze, melt the butter, sugar and a splash of water and bring to a bubble until well thickened (5-10 mins of stove side attention required); take off the heat, stir in the double cream (which will sizzle and bubble more) then return to the heat and bring back to a bubbly, thickened texture.
  10. Cool a few minutes then paint and pour over the cake helping it spread with a pastry/silicone brush.
  11. Leave until the surface just sets before slicing and serving.

Reader Gallery

Have you made the Apple Chapel Cake yet? Foodie friends from all over the world have and they’ve sent me their photos!  So the very last image I’m leaving you with is a collage of my readers’ versions of this special cake.  Can you see yours?  As you can see, you can change up the tin you bake it in and still have a wonderful cake to eat. Thank you all for sharing the images with me – I can’t tell you how much it means to me what you’ve tried and enjoyed my recipes :D xxx

Readers apple chapel cake

The Apple Chapel Cake
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  1. Debra McCristal 02/01/2014 at 00:25 - Reply

    Again a wonderful blog Jo your Apple Chapel looks divine (as does the cake) I am also glad to say good bye to 2013 extremely difficult year for my family. I look forward to trying many more of your recipe’s and reading your entertaining blogs. Happy New Year to you

    • Jo Blogs 02/01/2014 at 07:00 - Reply

      Happy new year Debra too. I do wish you a very good one and am glad 2013 is now behind us. Onwards and upwards! Thanks for reading xxx

  2. Thanh @ eat, little bird 02/01/2014 at 17:54 - Reply

    Oh your new home looks so beautiful! I just adore the windows. How romantic to live in a restored chapel. I hope 2014 will be a much more enjoyable and worry-free year for you and your husband and that you will be able to settle well into your new home and new job.

    This apple cake looks really lovely. I just adore any version of apple cake and can’t wait to try this recipe.

    Here’s to a bright and wonderful 2014!

    • Jo Blogs 02/01/2014 at 18:11 - Reply

      Thank you Thanh! It is such a beautiful place, I don’t know how we’ll ever give it up as I’m sure we inevitably will have to do. I’ve always felt “stir crazy” wherever we’ve lived, no matter how much we made it our own. Now I barely feel the need to go out, I love being here so very much. :D

  3. At Anna's Kitchen table 02/01/2014 at 22:25 - Reply

    I’m determined to make this cake, just so I can say its ‘apple chapel cake’.
    I love saying it…

    Apple chapel
    Apple chapel
    Apple chapel….

    So cool! :D

    • Jo Blogs 02/01/2014 at 22:29 - Reply

      Lol! X-D. I do love my alliteration I do ;)

  4. nerdinthebrain 05/01/2014 at 20:09 - Reply

    The cake and your home look fabulous! :D

    • Jo Blogs 05/01/2014 at 20:11 - Reply

      Aw thank you Emily :D I’m a lucky gal but I did work for it too ;) (friends tell me I shouldn’t apologise for myself so much lol…)

  5. tworedbowls 05/01/2014 at 22:51 - Reply

    Beautiful cake, beautiful home, and beautiful writing! I agree with you completely on NYE at home. It’s so much more enjoyable, peaceful, and commemorative of the occasion, I feel. Happy new year, Jo!

    • Jo Blogs 05/01/2014 at 22:55 - Reply

      Thank you so much Cynthia! Although I still need to do a lot of work on my photography “skills” (although it’s light years better than it was in the beginning of my blog, lol). Happy New Year to you too xx

  6. […] Christmas in fact, I made a 30 mile trip from my folks house to buy a stash for our new freezer in The Apple Chapel as I’d missed the deli and this marvellous free range produce so much, I simply had to detour […]

  7. sarah 11/01/2014 at 10:24 - Reply

    Would low fat spread, be ok instead of butter? I am on Weight Watchers and I want to make it ProPoints friendly

    • Jo Blogs 11/01/2014 at 11:07 - Reply

      Probably but I can’t vouch for the taste of margarine!

  8. ulawyss 13/01/2014 at 05:44 - Reply

    I found your blog through the zero to hero challenge, and I think your cooking looks absolutely amazing!! I love your layout, posts and the fact that you use many pictures. The apple cake is mouth watering and can’t wait to try it out :)

    • Jo Blogs 13/01/2014 at 06:42 - Reply

      Thank you for the brilliant feedback :D. The challenge is good fun isn’t it? Let me know if you try to cake, maybe send me a photo via Facebook or twitter. It’s proving popular so I’m saving a bank of friends images for a future post :D

  9. […] photos of it on Facebook or Twitter (I’ve already had quite a few foodie friends make our Apple Chapel Cake and I can not tell you how much I love to see my recipes being used and enjoyed across the globe […]

  10. Euan 16/02/2014 at 19:25 - Reply

    This looks and sounds delicious! And your house looks wonderful too. Those windows… I like the way you write too.

    • Jo Blogs 16/02/2014 at 19:47 - Reply

      We’re very lucky indeed to live somewhere so beautiful. I still look around in awe 6 months after the move! And thank you :)

  11. Kath Castle 06/04/2014 at 11:49 - Reply

    My mini version is just out of the oven Jodie, & looking mighty fine!
    I did half the quantity in a 6″ tin. Used low fat natural yoghurt as it’s all they had at my corner shop yesterday, thought that would maybe not work but seems to be OK – also subbed sultanas for the nuts as i don’t do nuts!
    Oh, & totally forgot the vanilla….

    • Jo Blogs 06/04/2014 at 11:54 - Reply

      Lol, you’re creating a new bake there Kath ;)

  12. […] all about anniversaries right now down at the Apple Chapel.  It’s almost a year since I got my dream job and moved from my home town once again. […]

  13. […] all about anniversaries right now down at the Apple Chapel.  It’s almost a year since I got my dream job and moved from my home town once again. […]

  14. Mandy 06/10/2014 at 21:47 - Reply

    I changed the pecans for cinnamon and it was fabulous

    • Jo Blogs 06/10/2014 at 21:48 - Reply

      That’s never a bad addition in an apple cake – so pleased you liked it Mandy :)

  15. […]  Rosemary and slow cooked onions made their way into a white loaf made using buttermilk this time, down at the Apple Chapel. […]

  16. […] recipe for you to try is: My Apple Chapel Cake. I’m really proud of this recipe and it’s been tried and tested and loved by lots of my friends […]

  17. Manish 09/12/2014 at 05:24 - Reply

    Absolutely wonderful and beautiful cakes. i really likes it. Loved the chocolate flavor cakes. These cakes looks very delicious and yummy.


  18. […] Christmas therefore there must be cheesecake. ‘Tis the law. Down at the Apple Chapel it is anyway. This year’s inspiration comes from two things – firstly my brand new mini […]

  19. […] wafer thin and crisp as a cracker. As (alas) Mary isn’t likely to be popping around to the Apple Chapel any time soon for pud, I left mine on the thicker side. You need to get to know your oven – I […]

  20. […] en Paperblog, Joblogsjobakes, […]

  21. […] home alone, nudge nudge, wink wink ;). Hungry Hubby and I call them Passion Pud Puds, down at the Apple Chapel.  If you too are looking for a menu to make at home for Valentine’s day this year, might I […]

  22. […] live, there isn’t chance to wind down before dinner.  We eat dinner offensively early in the Apple Chapel.  On days like those, I find preparing vegetables for a quickly sautéed dish to be very […]

  23. […] all very exciting and involves a lot of behind the scenes research, planning and work going down at the Apple Chapel.  Which is all good!  Everyone needs a passion in life and all things food is most certainly one […]

  24. Beverley Press 04/06/2016 at 06:55 - Reply

    such a great blog and I just love old buildings too. We live in a Victorian Building and the ceilings are very tall with lots of big windows letting in a lot of light when the skies are not grey! Love this recipe the flavours are magical xoxo

    • Just Jo 04/06/2016 at 07:51 - Reply

      Thank you Beverley! Long before we found the Apple Chapel, our dream house was a big old Victorian town house (like you’d see around Rodney Street in Liverpool). I bet yours is stunning with your eye for design :D So happy to hear you like the cake – we certainly love this one xx

  25. Cathy Tierney 10/09/2016 at 22:50 - Reply

    Is it possible to translate the recipe to American measurement?? Please?

    • 13/09/2016 at 08:18 - Reply

      Hi Cathy – sorry for the delay but here you go, I have converted the quantities for you. Please note I haven’t tested the recipe using cups and the conversion will never be exact but I used my favourite online converters that I use regularly for this sort of thing so I am confident you can make your own all American Apple Chapel Cake now! 200g soft butter
      A scant cupsoft butter
      1 cup plus 2 tbsp caster sugar
      3 large eggs
      1 cup plus 1 tbsp plain flour
      2 tsp rounded baking powder
      1 tsp level baking soda
      1 very large Bramley apple, cubed just less than 1cm
      1 cup pecans chopped
      3/4 cup Greek yogurt
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      For the glaze
      4 tbsp/a quarter cup butter
      2/3 cup soft brown sugar
      2 tbsp double cream

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