I have no clue how the idea for this cake popped into my head, but once I had thought of it, I knew I eventually would have to bake it. I think it was my mind’s sugary lovechild of the Maple Apple Upside Down Cake I made before Christmas and the Salted Caramel Fudge Cake I made a few weeks ago. I love fresh apples in a cake and I couldn’t get over how good that fudgey caramel icing was.
With a bit of searching, I found what looked like a promising apple cake and then I decided to pair it with a modified version of the caramel icing from my other cake. I think I added around twice as many apples as the original recipe called for. It said “two large apples, around 2 cups”. I bought two large cooking apples and I think I had more like 4 cups of apples! Still, waste not, want not. So I put all the apples in the batter and I’m so glad I did. With almost every bite you get a taste of the tangy apple. I’m quite happy the apples stayed quite tart – the rest of this cake is very sweet and, well, the icing is pretty much fudge. It balances out the flavours of the cake nicely. I also added a lot more spice than the original cake asked for. Bring on the cinnamon!
The cake is also very moist, without being dense. The walnuts are optional, but I think they add a really nice crunch. I almost didn’t put them in (walnuts are expensive, yo!), but I’m really glad I did. All and all, this cake has the flavours of autumn but is delicious all year round. It’s a great cake even without the icing, and you might prefer it that way if you have less of a sweet tooth. This would be great for an afternoon tea or even for a fancy brunch. If you want to impress, this is a wholesome scrummy cake that will knock the socks of whomever you share it with. :)
Toffee Apple Cake
Serves 12-16 people
- 2 large cooking apples (mine weighed ~750g, which is more than the original recipe called for)
- 100g/1 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted and chopped PLUS 8 walnut haves, reserved
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp other spices (e.g. cinnamon, allspice, ginger, cloves, nutmeg etc – I did 1/4 tsp each of cloves, allspice and nutmeg)
- 375g/ 3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda/bicarb of soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 400g/2 cups white sugar
- 300ml/1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- Preheat the oven to 325F/160C. Butter and flour a tube or bundt pan. Line the bottom with baking parchment. Set aside.
- Peel, core and dice the apples into approximately 1/2 inch cubes. Mix together the apples, walnuts, 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tbsp of flour. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and remainder of the spices. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs and oil until light in colour and almost doubled in volume.
- Add the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Fold in the apple mixture.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour – 1 hour 30 minutes. I’m afraid I can’t be more specific because my oven switched off by accident halfway through baking. It didn’t affect the final cake, but it meant that I have no idea what the timing is! Best thing to do is after 45 minutes to check it with a toothpick every 10 – 15 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack. Once completely cool, invert the cake onto a serving plate and ice as desired (caramel icing recipe below).
- 200g/1 cup white sugar
- 125 ml/1/2 cup milk
- 125g/ 1/2 cup butter
- Combine all the ingredients and melt in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, do not stir the mixture. Insert a candy thermometer and let it cook until it reaches the soft bowl stage (235F/118C).
- Carefully remove the pot from each and pour into a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium until the icing begins to lose a bit of it’s gloss, is cool enough to touch and is starting to thicken.
- Next, working quickly, spread the icing over the top of the cake and press the 8 reserved walnut halves into the icing. The icing sets quite quickly, so speediness is important!