I love solid cakes, cakes that have substance, cakes that aren't all sweetness and icing. This cake is such a cake. It's not impressive, nor is it glamorous. It's what the birders call an sbj - small brown job and none the worse for it. It is economical, requiring only modest amounts of butter and eggs. And it is a doddle* to make. It's a rubbed-in cake. You rub the butter and flour together to make a breadcrumb-like mixture, then you stir in the sugar and apples and finally mix in the egg and milk.
Change the spices ~ I have called it apple-clove cake because I love cloves with apples. My mum always put a few in her apple pies. If you don't care for cloves then use cinnamon or mixed spice or simply omit the spice altogether. If you can't read my squashed writing it's ½ a teaspoon of ground cloves.
Add some dried fruit or nuts ~ For extra interest add 3 oz of sultanas or chopped walnuts.
Use different sugar ~ Don't worry if you have no soft brown sugar, ordinary caster or granulated sugar will be fine. The two tablespoons of demerara are to sprinkle on the cake before it goes in the oven.
Peel your apples ~ For reasons of health and laziness I grate my apples unpeeled working around the core. It's quick and easy. I grate straight into my scales pan until I've got 8 oz. If you peel them though you will have slightly more refined cake. You could also chop them finely instead of grating them.
Change the flour ~ Try it with wholemeal plain flour for added wholesomeness. It may not rise as much though.
Go metric ~ Use 225g of flour and grated apple, 115g of butter and sugar, 85g of sultanas/nuts and 100ml of milk.
*Spellcheck does not think doddle is a word. It is.