Tinkering Around The Edges and Apple Loaf Cake

I have a friend who loves it when I bake brownies.  I've given her my recipe but she swears they just don't turn out like mine when she bakes them.  I tried and tried to figure out what was going wrong; was the oven temperature too hot, the baking tin to small?  Then, by accident, I found out she was using self rising flour.  

My recipe calls for plain flour.   No wonder her brownies are more like cake. Self rising flour has more raising agent in it than the recipe requires.  The point I am trying to make is by changing just ONE ingredient you can change a recipe beyond recognition. 

Using a different size or shape tin will also change the way a recipe turns out. My father called this deviation from the prescribed method 'tinkering around the edges'.  I do a lot of tinkering when it comes to baking.  For example, I did a little tinkering with this recipe for Apple Loaf Cake:

1/3 cup soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cups white (caster) sugar
1/2 cup butter at room temperature 
2 eggs 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple - peeled and finely chopped

Heat the oven to 175C/350F.  Grease a 8x5 inch loaf pan and line it with baking paper. 

Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon together and set aside.

Beat the white sugar and butter together until they are light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.  Add the vanilla.

Place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and stir well to combine.  Turn the mixer down to low speed.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter, eggs and sugar mixture.  Mix at low speed until the flour is just combined. Pour in the milk and mix to make a smooth batter. 

Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared loaf tin.  Sprinkle over half of the chopped apple and half of the cinnamon-sugar.  Top with the remaining batter. Smooth the batter to the edges of the pan, sprinkle over the rest of the apple pieces and the rest of the cinnamon-sugar.  Using a table knife, cut through the batter a few times to give a 'swirl' to the batter. 

Bake for about 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out without any wet batter.  Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely before serving. 

Now for the tinkering around the edges,  I substituted a large spoonful of cornflour (corn starch) for some of the flour to lighten the sponge.  Instead of using 1/2 cup milk I used 2 ounces of plain yogurt and 2 ounces of milk.  Baking margarine was substituted for the butter.  

These changes will make a lighter textured cake, different from the original but just as delicious.  Of course, one could always avoid the tinkering and just follow the recipe.  

**** Flapjacks are also featured in the first photo.  You can find the recipe HERE.


  1. I like 'tinkering' too - sometimes for fun, sometimes because I get half way through making a recipe only to find I am missing vital ingredients!! Your cake looks delicious.

    1. Oh snap! I often do that too! I love this simple little cake. It's one of my favourite apple-y treats.

  2. Your apple loaf cake looks delicious Debs....I think this is definitely on my to do list. Thank you for the recipe...I will try this one out. Debbie x

  3. Oh I tinker all the time. This is the second apple loaf recipe I've seen in the same number of days, Going to have to try it.

    1. 'Tis the apple cake season! We will be having almost everything apple for the next few weeks.

  4. I made this last night - I knew I could rely on you for recipes when I was given a load of cooking apples! I used gluten-free flour and soya milk, so had to bake it for an extra 10 minutes, and it turned out lovely. I will be using more of your recipes for the rest of the apples!

    1. You've made may day! So glad you enjoyed the cake. Gluten-free flour is a REAL adaptation. X


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