Last weekend, despite the worst possible deadlines timing, I crossed coast to coast the width of the North of England and spent a few days in Robin Hood’s Bay. I decided I would post some of the pictures (along with a recipe) under the new category of trasferta, which in Italian is the football away game. The weather managed to be (relatively to the location and time of the year) sunny, warm and breezy, giving the place an amazing light. We spent the days wandering around the village when the tide was in, and on the shore when the tide was out. We ate fish, chips and mushy peas from the only chip shop in the village. The freshly caught cod from Whitby was so crispy and tender that every bite just melted in my mouth.

We were there to celebrate a birthday and I even managed to bake a cake for the birthday girl (and the rest of us, of course). It’s a very simple recipe, but the result is lovely and suprisingly fudge-like in texture. Believe me when I say that the pictures really don’t do it justice. You could use regular plain flour, but the wholemeal and spelt flours retain the moisture of the apples without the sloppiness, which was my foremost problem with the original recipe.

Spelt and wholemeal apple cake

Adapted from Torta rustica di mele by GialloZafferano. I used 2 Bramleys and 1 Braeburn, but you could try using sweeter apples.

zest and juice from 1 unwaxed lemon
3 medium sized apples
220 gr sugar
3 eggs
100 gr unsalted butter, melted
180 gr milk
2 heaped tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon + 1/2 tsp
seeds from half vanila pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
100 gr wholemeal spelt flour
125 gr plain wholemeal flour
icing sugar, to serve

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease and flour a 23/25 cm diameter cake tin. Peel and chop the apples into pieces about 2/3 cm wide and 0.5 cm thick. Put them in a bowl with the lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix sugar and eggs together until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture is foamy and light. Add the melted butter and mix, then add the milk and mix again. Add zest, cinnamon, baking powder and vanilla and mix (again!). At this point, add the flours and fold. It may take a bit of whisking to remove any lumps. Finally, add the apple chunks into the cake batter, folding until the chunk are evenly coated in batter and pour the mixture into the cake tin. Before putting it in the oven, sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the top. The baking times vary. This time my cake was cooked after about 35 minutes, but other times it took a lot longer and ended up staying in the oven for about 50 minutes. If it looks golden brown on top, start checking with a toothpick after 30 minutes. Let it cool down, take out of the tin and sprinkle with icing sugar.