Adapted from The London Cookbook by Aleksandra Crapanzano
You’re welcome to substitute another liquor for the Calvados, such as whiskey, apple jack, brandy, Cognac, or rum. If you want to make it without the liquor, you could use apple juice well-spiked with fresh lemon juice, to add some acidity, and perhaps a touch of vanilla extract.
This make a big, generous cake, very moist, and rich with apple flavor. The recipe in the book says it make “6 Fergus portions, which are always generous.” I don’t want to infer that I’m not generous, but I found it served about ten or twelve people…without anyone thinking I was stingy.
3 1/4 cups (455g) flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
generous pinch of salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups (300g-400g) sugar, (see headnote)
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, such as peanut, canola, or sunflower
1/4 cup (60ml) Calvados
1 cup (140g) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
3 baking apples (about 1 1/2 pounds, 700g), peeled, cored, and diced
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC.) Generously butter a 9-inch (23cm) springform pan, or 10-inch (25cm) round cake pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs. In a slow, steady stream – as if you were making mayonnaise – whisk in the oil, stirring constantly as you pour, to keep it emulsified. Whisk in the Calvados.
4. Using a spatula, mix in the dry ingredients, then fold in the diced apples and nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 90 minutes. Because the cake is so dense, it may feel done on top (and a toothpick inserted into the center may come out clean), but it will likely need to full baking time for the cake to be cooked through.