Annie Bell’s apple, pistachio and cardamom cake recipe

Cardamom and pistachio subtly infuse this apple sponge. One of the secrets of an apple cake with lots of pieces of fruit is to fry the fruit first, which seals in the juices and stops them from seeping into the crumb.

apple pistachio and cardamon cake
Chris Alack

MAKES 1 SMALL LOAF

5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing the tin
2 eating apples, eg granny smith, peeled, quartered, cored and diced
2 medium eggs
125g light brown soft sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
6 cardamom pods, split open and seeds ground
125g wholemeal spelt flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder, sifted
50g pistachios (25g ground, 25g chopped), plus extra chopped to decorate
50g peach or apricot jam
Greek yogurt or crème fraîche, to serve

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush a 1lb nonstick loaf tin with oil and line the base with baking paper.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium nonstick frying pan over a gentle heat and fry the diced apple for 4-5 minutes until translucent but not coloured, stirring frequently. Transfer to a bowl or plate and set aside.
  3. Using an electric whisk, beat together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest and cardamom in a large bowl for 2 minutes, until pale, thick and doubled in volume. Stir in the remaining oil, then fold in the flour, baking powder and ground pistachios.
  4. Fold the apple and chopped pistachios into the cake mixture, and transfer this to the tin. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until risen and firm, and a skewer inserted at the centre comes out clean.
  5. Run a knife around the edge of the cake, leave to stand for 10 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack to cool, standing it the right way up.
  6. Gently heat the jam in a small saucepan until it loosens, then press it through a sieve and brush it over the top of the cake. Scatter over a few finely chopped pistachios and leave to set in a cool place for about 30 minutes. The cake will keep well overnight, loosely covered. It is especially good served with a dollop of greek yogurt or crème fraîche.

Food styling: Clare Lewis. Stylist: Sue Radcliffe