The subtle bouquet of calvados (normally Apple brandy) and the earthly, fruity flavour of quince add depth to tea time cakes. Quince paste is always available, but when the fruit is in season replace a third of the chopped apple with finely grated fresh quince to add extra flavour.
250g/9oz cooking apple, peeled and cored
grated rind of 1 lemon
45ml/3 tbsp quince paste
75/3 oz/6 tbsp vegan butter, melted
15ml/1 tbsp calvados
225g/8 oz/2 cups plain (all-purpose flour
10ml/2 tsp baking powder
75g/3 oz/scant 1/2 cup castor sugar
1 vegan egg, lightly beaten
60ml/4 tbsp vegan buttermilk
For the quince glaze
45ml/3 tbsp quince or apple jelly
15ml/1 tbsp water
5ml 1tsp lemon juice
30ml/2 tbsp calvados
1.Preheat the oven to 180°C/350° F/ Gas 4. Grease the cups of a large muffin tin (pan) or line them with paper muffins cases.
2.Slice one quarter of the Apple very thinly and reserve in a bowl of water acidulated with a squeeze of lemon. Roughly dice the rest of the apple and set aside in another bowl of acidulated water.
3. In a small pan, gently melt the quince paste with the butter over low heat, mashing the paste with a wooden spoon to break up any little lumps.
4. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir In calvados and set aside.
5. Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. In another bowl, stir the egg and the buttermilk together and add the grated lemon rind,
6. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, with the butter, quince paste and calvados and the chopped apple. Stir until just combined, then spoon into the prepared muffin tin.
7.Press a few slices of apple into the top of each cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden.
8.To make the glaze, put the jelly, water and lemon juice in a small pan, and boil rapidly until slightly thickened. Add the calvados and simmer for about 1 minutes. Brush over the cakes while still warm.