WAAAF Apple Tea Cake

When I was home Aunty Jean gave me a couple of recipe books, including a book published by the Ex-Women’s Auxiliary Australian Airforce (WAAAF) – Newcastle, which was given to her by an old family friend.

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I am not sure what is going on in this illustration…is this guy cold, scared or jumping with anticipation??  Either way, I love the lady’s giggling expression.

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This delightful book belonged to Daphne Owen, who, according to Aunty Jean was in the WAAAF in Newcastle.  I never knew Daphne, but as a child we would spend many of our family holidays with her husband Cliff on the shores of Lake Macquarie.  Whilst not related by blood, Uncle Cliff as we always called him, was such a dear part of our family. The Owens were good friends with my Grandparents and Great-Aunt and Uncle, a friendship which went on to span three generations of our family.


WAAAF apple tea cake

This recipe shocked me a bit. It was much more dense than a regular cake. The only way to describe it was like a scone, the batter was so firm. As it is such a firm cake, I feel it would benefit from swirling about three tablespoons of apple sauce through it before garnishing with the apple slices. Just to add a bit more moisture and texture. Whilst I didn’t do that in this case, I will be trying that out next time. I love taking an old recipe, baking it as instructed, and then modifying as needed…or desired.  I think our sensibilities are much more focused on sugar and the super sweet flavours than what was used previously, especially during the WAAAF days of rationing. Often the old cake and loaf recipes have a distinctly savoury flavour, which are then sweetened with a lashing of cream or jam.

WAAAF Apple Tea Cake
Recipe Type: Afternoon Tea
Cuisine: Sweet
Author: Jean Robson – ex-WAAAF
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8-10
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 level cup self raising flour
  • 1 cooking apple
  • Cinnamon sugar
  1. Grease a small sandwich tin ( I ued a 20cm x 20cm tin, however this mix doesn’t fill this, but is so firm that it forms a 15cm x 15cm cake which is approximately an inch (2.5cm) thick)
  2. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar.
  4. Add the egg and milk and combine.
  5. Stir in the flour and pour mixture into the prepared tin.
  6. Cut the apple into slices and arrange on top of the cake.
  7. Whilst not in the original recipe I sprinkled the cake with cinnamon sugar before popping in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
  8. Serve with a dollop of cream.


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 The recipes were contributed by the ex-WAAAF women and compiled into a self published book. I look forward to trying some more of their recipes; this blog post is dedicated to them.

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Emmy xx

2 Comments on WAAAF Apple Tea Cake

  1. Paul
    July 6, 2013 at 6:13 pm (2 years ago)

    Love the recipe, and great photos from your trip south


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