Apple & tarragon cakes

by Kate Young

Dense, moist cakes for an autumn afternoon

These cakes work gloriously well with a pot of strong tea. You might more commonly expect to find tarragon with fish or chicken, or in a béarnaise sauce, but its warm flavour, with hints of anise and vanilla, works wonderfully alongside apples too.


2 large cooking apples (eg bramleys)

150g butter
150g light brown sugar, plus a pinch for finishing
3 eggs

150g ground almonds

2 tsp baking powder
100g plain flour

1 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves

1 crisp eating apple, sliced very finely through the core

Sour cream, to serve


Preheat the oven to 150C. Grease and line a cake tray. Peel and core the cooking apples, chop into chunks and place in a small saucepan with a splash of water. Bring to a simmer over a low heat and cook until the apples break down.

Meanwhile, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Whisk the eggs into the mix one at a time, then fold in the almonds, baking powder, flour, cooked apple, the tarragon and a pinch of salt.

Spoon the batter into the cake holes, then arrange the slices of eating apple over the tops and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, until the cakes have risen and are golden brown. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.

Cool in the cake tin for 10 mins and then on a rack. Serve still warm, or at room temperature, with a spoonful of sour cream.

Recipe: Kate Young