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This Bramley Apple Fruit Cake is a softer, lighter version of your regular fruit cake. Packed with apples, dates, sultanas and cranberries and flavoured with a touch of citrus and spice. This naturally gluten-free cake is beautifully moist and delicious with a cup of tea or a good pour of custard.
I have been making a version of this cake for years and it’s always a joy when I serve it to people who are surprised by just how delicious it is. Fruit cakes can be terribly underrated but this humble looking cake will charm even the most hardened of fruit cake naysayers. You can enjoy it at any time of year but the dark notes of muscovado and the spices lend it to a cake you might prefer in the cooler months.
I will warn you though you will find this Bramley Apple Fruit Cake utterly irresistible and it doesn’t last long on the kitchen counter, a nibble here and there is unavoidable and encouraged. It has a much softer texture than the usual farmhouse fruit cake or Christmas fruit cake which you may be used to. However that makes it an incredibly versatile cake as it can be served at tea or as dessert with lashings of custard.
Table of contents
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Bramley Apple. Is there any better cooking apple. Their lovely tart flavour and soft texture gives the cake its personality.
- Naturally gluten-free. This cake uses oat flour and ground almonds for a beautiful texture and flavour.
- Gloriously moist thanks to the grated Bramley Apple in the sponge.
- Packed with fruit. From dates to cranberries this cake crams them in.
- Beautifully spiced. The spices give a gentle flavour which are a great background note.
- Versatile. You can dress the cake up for Christmas or you can keep it low key and serve plain with a cup of tea as an everyday cake.
Watch to see how to make it
- Butter. Unsalted at room temperature.
- Sugar. We use dark muscovado sugar for a lovely treacle flavour.
- Orange. Beautiful warm citrus flavour.
- Lemon. Sharp citrus tang
- Eggs. We use a medium size here, about 60g each. If you can’t get hold of medium eggs then you can use the weighted amount.
- Bramley Apple. You can use any cooking apple but bramleys give a lovely soft texture and gentle tartness.
- Dates. Use medjool dates for their soft toffee flavour.
- Dried cranberries. You can swap for dried cherries or raisins.
- Sultanas. You can swap for raisins or any other dried fruit.
- Oat flour. You can buy oat flour or grind your own from rolled oats which you can whizz up in the food processor until fine. READ MORE >>> The Ultimate Guide to Oat Flour.
- Ground almonds. It’s easy to buy ground almonds but you can make your own by whizzing up whole almonds in the food processor. The texture is a little more nubbly but the flavour is more pronounced.
- Raising agents. We use both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda for a tender crumb and good rise.
- Spices. We use ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
- Salt. This lifts all the flavours.
- Apricot conserve. This is used for brushing over the top of the baked cake to make the cake shine.
- Flaked almonds. They were originally added to the recipe for decoration purposes but the flavour they impart is the finishing touch.
For full recipe instructions go to the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Beat the butter and sugar with the orange and lemon zest until creamy.
- Mix in the eggs, followed by the grated apple and dried fruit.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together then stir into the batter.
- Pour into a greased 8 inch round cake tin and bake for 50 minutes.
- Brush the cooled cake all over with melted apricot jam and sprinkle over toasted flaked almonds.
Tips and troubleshooting
- Make sure the butter is at room temperature before using. Cut into little cubes and keep out for 20-30 minutes.
- Rub the muscovado sugar through your fingertips before adding to the butter to release the clumps.
- Break eggs into separate bowl before adding in, just in case you get a bad one and to help avoid the shell going into your cake.
- Grate the apple directly before adding it to the cake batter. This avoids the apple going brown if it stands by for too long.
- I recommend toasting the flaked almonds before using them to decorate. Pour the almonds into an even layer in a hot pan and dry fry for 30 seconds until the almonds are just turning slightly brown at the edges. Remove from the heat and pour out of the pan immediately so they don’t continue to cook.
How to store
This cake keeps very well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
How to freeze
Don’t freeze with the apricot conserve or the flaked almonds. Allow the cake to cool completely then double wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminium foil before storing in the freezer. It will keep well for up to 2 months.
Defrost at room temperature before unwrapping and finishing the decoration.
How to make dairy-free
Swap the butter for your favourite plant based alternative.
This Bramley Apple Fruit Cake can be served in so many different ways depending on the occasion.
- Dress it up with icing and decorate with a Christmas scene, just like this Mincemeat Sponge Cake.
- Try serving it warm with brandy butter or a rum custard.
- For an everyday tea time treat serve with melted salted butter.
- For after dinner you might like to serve it alongside a cheeseboard. This cake goes so well with a hunk of sharp cheddar.
More recipes like this that you’ll love!
- Bramley Apple Mincemeat Pudding
- Bramley Apple Cranberry Oat Bars
- Gluten-Free Fruit Cake
- Gluten-Free Christmas Cake
- Almond Mincemeat Sponge Cake
I urge you to give this Bramley Apple Fruit Cake a try. If you do then please leave a comment below and give the recipe a rating which helps others find the recipe on Google. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own culinary creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.
Bramley Apple Fruit Cake
- 125 g unsalted butter
- 150 g dark muscovado sugar
- Finely grated zest 1 orange
- Finely grated zest 1 lemon
- 2 eggs - medium, 60g each
- 300 g bramley apple - (1) peeled, cored and grated
- 100 g dates - pitted and chopped (about 5)
- 80 g dried cranberries
- 80 g sultanas
- 100 g oat flour
- 125 g ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 50 g flaked almonds - toasted
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ gas mark 6. Line and grease an 8 inch diameter x 4 inch round cake tin.
- Beat the butter and sugar with the orange and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer or in a stand mixer for 3-4 minutes until creamy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix in until fully combined.
- Add the grated apple and dried fruit and mix in well.
- Whisk the oat flour and ground almonds together with the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a large bowl then stir into the batter.
- Pour into the cake tin and place in the oven.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, carefully insert the cake out of the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Pour the apricot jam into a small saucepan and heat until the jam is runny.
- Brush the cooled cake all over with the apricot jam then decorate with the toasted flaked almonds.
Ingredient SubstitutionsDried fruit. You can swap any of the dried fruit for your favourite ones. Dairy-Free Version. Swap the butter for a plant based alternative.
- Tip #1. Rub the muscovado sugar through your fingertips before adding to the butter to release the clumps.
- Tip #2. Grate the apple directly before adding it to the cake batter.
- Tip #3. Brushing the surface of the cooled cake with the apricot jam gives the cake a beautiful shine, you will be surprised how effective it is!