Mothering Sunday
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Gill Bland

Mothering Sunday

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 28th March 2019

With mothering sunday around the corner I was wondering about what the best thing was to make. Should it be something decadent that I’d want to eat myself or give to my mother, or should it be something tasty but easy that my husband could help my son make for me? I mean, it seems wrong to be ‘slaving away at the stove’ for my own mothering sunday bake, but then I love baking so actually having the time to make something is a treat.

So, I’ve gone for one of my favourite cakes with a twist inspired by a recent birthday outing to an excellent cafe just north of London called the Bull Pen. They have a cake called autumn apple cake which is INCREDIBLE. I have taken a standard carrot cake recipe and added some apples, a good helping of nuts and fruit (just because I love them) and a little cream cheese icing but not the super sweet fluffy kind, because I think it takes away from the cake. In fact, if you’re making this for someone and you can’t be bothered, it’ll really be fine without it. You can play with the spices and the types of nuts and fruits depending on mother-figure’s preferences.


For the cake:

  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 150g salted butter, melted and left to cool a little
  • 100g self raising flour OR replace both flours with 200g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 100g spelt flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 100g carrot, grated
  • 100g apple, grated (ideally granny smiths or similar) + leftover apple sliced for the top

Note: you don’t need start an extra apple/carrot just for the sake of these weights. Just make it to 200g in total


Spices to your taste, but I recommend:

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger (or you could add cardamom if you like a more fragrant flavour)
  • Zest 1 orange (optional)

Dried fruit and nuts to your taste, but I used:

  • 100g walnuts, chopped into large pieces
  • 50g dried apricots, chopped into large pieces
  • 50g dates, chopped into large pieces


  • 1lb Loaf tin


For the icing (optional):

  • 200g full fat cream cheese
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 25g dark soft brown sugar
  • A little orange juice and zest (or whatever citrus you like)




  1. Preheat the oven to 180c / 160c fan
  2. Grate the apple and carrot. Chop the nuts and fruit.
  3. In a bowl that isn’t your mixer one, weigh out the spices, flours and bicarbonate of soda. Stir to distribute evenly.
  4. Put the cooled, melted butter, sugars and eggs in a large mixer bowl and beat until the mixture starts to go paler and the volume has increased a bit. Don’t worry if it curdles though, mine did a couple of times and it seems to be ok.
  5. Use a large metal spoon to fold the dry mixture into the wet mixture. I like to put the whole lot in at once and then ‘cut’ it in using a figure of eight motion but I know some would counsel to add it in 3rds,
  6. Finally, fold in the grated carrot and apple, the nuts and the fruit.
  7. Scrape the mixture into the greased loaf tin. Press any left over apple, sliced, along the top of it.
  8. Bake for 1hr -  for 25mins uncovered, then cover in foil and continue until a knife comes out clean.
  9. While the cake is cooking beat together all the icing ingredients and put it in the fridge. Once the cake has cooled, ice it and eat it with a good coffee and a sit down.


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