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Rosemary and apple cake

Judith Hann / 04 October 2017 ( 23 March 2021 )

A glorious apple pudding cake with a rosemary syrup drizzle from Judith Hann's book Herbs.

Rosemary and apple cake
Judith Hann's rosemary and apple cake. Photography by Tamin Jones.

Preparation time

35 minutes

Cooking time

40 minutes


A 23cm/9in cake


For the apple cake

  • 650g/1lb 7oz eating/dessert apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 eggs
  • 140g/5oz/scant ¾ cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 140g/5oz/heaped 1 cup plain/all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder a pinch of salt
  • 115g/4oz/½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • Vanilla sugar, for sprinkling

For the rosemary syrup

  • 15g/½oz rosemary sprigs
  • 2 tbsp caster/superfine sugar


I like the flavour of rosemary with apple dishes, and rosemary syrup adds an important oomph to this cake, which can be eaten at teatime or served as a dessert with cream or ice cream. If you are using this as a dessert, you may want to double the quantity of rosemary syrup so that you can pour a little more onto each individual slice of cake, adding some extra vanilla sugar and lemon zest.

To make

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 5. Grease a 23cm/9in cake pan and line the base with parchment paper. Mix the apples with the lemon juice.

Put the eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk well until pale and fluffy. Sift half the flour, all the baking powder and the salt over the mixture and fold in. Gently add the melted butter, the rest of the flour, the chopped rosemary and then the apple slices. Mix well. Spoon into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the rosemary syrup. Wash the rosemary and put the small sprigs into a pan with the sugar and 5 tablespoons of water. Cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes until the sugar has turned into a clear syrup and the rosemary has crystallized.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a serving plate. Pour the rosemary syrup over the top and it will soon soak through the cake, adding its wonderful flavour. Keep the cake at room temperature, covered, and it will last for days. Sprinkle with vanilla sugar and the lemon zest before serving.


Herbs by Judith Hann

Recipe extracted from Herbs: Delicious Recipes and Growing Tips to Transform Your Food by Judith Hann © Nourish Books 2017, commissioned photography by Tamin Jones. £20.

Visit our baking section for more delicious cake recipes, including more tasty apple cake recipes and other autumn cake recipes


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.