WITH VALENTINE’S Day fast approaching, I wanted to create a cake recipe that was lovely but not so obviously ‘love themed’.

This Bramley Apple, lemon curd and elderflower cordial cake is pretty and romantic though, so it’s the perfect cake to make the ‘apple of your eye’ for February 14.

I really like the term, so decided it was the perfect name for the cake, originally meaning the central aperture of the eye. Figuratively it is something, or more usually someone, cherished above others.

Shakespeare used the phrase in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1600 and he meant it to mean the ‘one you love the most’ which I think is just lovely (and a perfect excuse to make a cake as a gift).

The cake is a beautiful pre-spring showstopper gateau-type cake that uses tart apple flavour, elderflower and lemon curd; the base cake mixture is a Victoria Sandwich which is simple to make but really effective when adding fruit and drizzles!

I chose to use apples because an apple a day keeps the doctor away after all?

Seriously though, apples are one of my favourite fruits. Bramley Apples are at their best right now and perfect for using in this cake. They’re a large, flattish cooking apple, green in appearance but sometimes with specks of red.

The flesh is white, juicy and acidic and when boiled it turns into a frothy pulp making it what many consider the best cooking apple of all!

When it comes to choosing the best Bramley Apples choose unblemished apples with no bruising or marks on the skin – you can squeeze gently to make sure they are firm, and these will be perfect for cooking with.

Regardless of the dish, Bramley apples are generally cooked in the same basic way.

First they are peeled and sliced, and the pieces covered in a little lemon juice to stop them turning brown. Then sugar is usually added.

In pies and crumbles, the apples are covered with the topping and baked; the moisture in the apples is sufficient to soften them while cooking, simple and so tasty!

The apple flavour may be spiced too: with cloves or cinnamon this makes them super tasty in my opinion.

Apples are great because they are extremely rich in important antioxidants and dietary fibre. The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, so they not only taste great, they are really good for you too.

The first ‘Bramley’s Seedling’ tree grew from pips planted by Mary Ann Brailsford when she was a young girl in her garden in Southwell, Nottinghamshire in 1809!

The tree in the garden was later included in the purchase of the cottage by a local butcher, Matthew Bramley in 1846.

In 1856, a local nurseryman, Henry Merryweather asked if he could take cuttings from the tree and start to sell the apples. Matthew Bramley agreed, but insisted that the apples should bear his name.

So there you have the history of the Bramley Apple!

• Have you missed any of Michelle’s previous Slice of Like recipes in the Keighley News? Then visit keighleynews.co.uk, click on What’s On then Food & Drink, and you’ll find them all.