It was drizzly and miserable in the Cape this past weekend, a reminder that winter is not quite done with us yet. So I spent my time huddled in front of a fire, paging through all my old recipe books. I came upon this recipe for apple buttercake scribbled in gran’s spidery handwriting. Sometimes these super old recipes are a total dud, which freaks me out because ingredients have become sooo expensive. But this apple buttercake wasn’t. This is not a feather-light sponge cake. It’s dense, and it’s crumbly and moist. And it is very, very buttery. Just a delight.

It’s best served on the day of making, still slightly warm so the buttery richness really shines through. If you’re enjoying it for afternoon tea, a dollop of sweetened whipped cream enriched with a splash of brandy is an excellent idea. And if you’re trotting it out for pudding, warm custard is the way to go.

All you need is…

2½ cups cake flour
4 tsp baking powder
small pinch salt
½ cup of sugar
250g ice cold salted butter (Lurpak or Kerrygold or Woolies – nothing else is good enough)
½ cup milk
2 jumbo-sized eggs
1½ tsp vanilla essence
3 Granny Smith apples
slightly heaped third of a cup sugar
slightly heaped teaspoon powdered cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add a half a cup of sugar. Slice off 50g of the butter and set it aside. Then (and I know this is strange for a cake method, but it works!) use a box grater to grate the remaining 200g of butter into the flour mix. (Top tip: If the butter becomes too warm while you’re working with it and won’t grate properly, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.) Use a fork to stir the grated butter into the flour mix. Beat together the milk, egg and vanilla essence. Add it to the flour and use a fork to mix. The mixture will be quite lumpy initially, but it does all come together in the end.

Spray a 20cm spring-form cake tin with non-stick cooking spray. Spoon the buttercake batter into the tin – it is quite a thick batter. Peel, halve and core the apples and cut into thin slices. Cover the batter with the sliced apple. Melt the remaining 50g of butter that you set aside and stir in a third of a cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Spoon and spread this mix over the apples. Pop the cake in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. To check if it’s done, stab it with a thin knife or kebab stick – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If dough clings to the knife, it needs a few minutes more. Serve this buttercake slightly warm with whipped cream or warm custard.




15 min


30-40 min


Ook beskikbaar in: Afrikaans