Apple and Rosemary Cake

First of all I'm really sorry for the complete lack of posts for the last two weeks. They've gone so quickly and everything has been a bit hectic in the run up to Baby Cake Hunter's arrival. I am now officially on maternity leave...I had to pop back to work for a few days but now I'm definitely off and trying to preserve my energy. Yesterday I battled a huge mountain of ironing and worked my way through 12 episodes of Grey's Anatomy. I started about 8:30 after Nick left for work and slowly became hooked...I'm a sucker for a medical drama and my sisters highly recommended GA.
 
Largely because I've been getting much more uncomfortable I wanted a recipe that was quick and simple. This cake is adapted from Nigella Lawson and my first attempt, though it looked lovely on the outside, was a real mess on the inside. I didn't adapt it very much and I think the texture of the final cake had a lot to do with the cake mix being done in a food processor. It just didn't work. The final texture was so 'close' there was no crumb at all when it was sliced. I don't know how it worked for Nigella but it was a big no-no for me.

For my second attempt I went with the old fashioned method of beating the sugar and butter together (you know the drill) and I folded the apple mixture in at the end and it was much better. The final cake is a wonderfully simple cake perfect for a Sunday afternoon and cup of tea (well coffee for me but I imagine you tea lovers out there would enjoy it). The flavour of the rosemary is very subtle and matches the apple perfectly. Lately, I've been much more in favour of this kind of cake...the kind without lots of frosting, and this hits the spot.
 
Apple and Rosemary Cake

(slightly adapted from Nigella Lawson) 
 
for the filling:
1 bramley apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar     
zest and juice of ½ lemon     
1 teaspoon butter     
 
for the cake:
225g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
50g dark brown sugar (plus 1 tablespoon)  
3 large eggs     
300g plain flour     
2 teaspoons baking powder
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin and set aside.
  2. In a small pan, heat the chopped apple, 1 sprig of the rosemary, sugar, lemon zest and juice and butter for around 8 minutes until soft and slightly mushy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely before removing the rosemary.
  3. Beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl inbetween.
  4. Next add in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth, don't overmix though.
  5. Finally fold in the apple mixture until evenly distributed.
  6. Tip the batter into the loaf tin and level out on top. Sprinkle the last tablespoon of brown sugar on top and lay the other sprig of rosemary down the middle, the flavour will seep down through the cake when cooking.